We conclude the second chapter of John’s first letter to believers with these words:
I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.1 John 2:26-29 CSB
It is so easy to see the deep connection between John and his Lord. Many of his words are repetitions of words Jesus used with his own disciples. Today’s passage is no different, as John again gives a purpose behind his writing. “I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.”
When we understand the enemy, we are no longer easily led astray.
After Jesus talked to his disciples about coming persecution and the promise of the Counselor, he said: “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray” (John 16:1 NIV). John has made clear what a counterfeit Christian looks like and how they act. Even though counterfeits are sometimes hard to see at first, we have something as Christ-followers that keeps us from falling for their tricks—the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit gives believers an extra layer of discernment the world doesn’t have.
Christ in us through his Spirit adds an extra-sensory device to our minds, hearts, ears, and eyes. Not only do we see the world and those who seek to deceive with new vision, but the Spirit reminds us of the words Jesus and John have used to describe those who are nefarious in their purpose toward believers and the Church of Christ. While we are blessed with this extra layer of defense against the ways of the evil one, there is something we must do to remain sharp and on alert—REMAIN IN HIM.
For those of you who walked with me through the beauty of Jesus’s words in John 15, you know all about what it means to remain in Christ. Leaning daily on the Lord and his word keeps our minds united with his and sharpened against attacks on our faith.
Knowing the Standard Bearer well helps us immediately spot any counterfeit.
That’s what John means when he says “if you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right is born of him.” Knowing Christ deeply and intimately, by remaining daily in his Word and living by his light, helps us know what it looks like to live for him. What a blessing it is to meet a fellow Christ-follower. We can spot them a mile away by the way they speak, love, serve, and share their faith. We know them because they look like Jesus. In the same way, we can spot those who are trying to lead believers away by the way their words are not exactly like his, their actions more selfish than selfless, and their love is selective. They just don’t measure up to Christ, because they are not of Christ.
How blessed we are to have it all spelled out for us in God’s Word. I’m grateful to John, who had such love and compassion for those who did not have the privilege of having walked with Christ, that he gave clear descriptions of what we need to look for and how to stand strong in the face of opposition. May we all walk in the light of Christ today that darkness will flee and our way made smooth by his…
Grace and Peace.