The Truth Test

June 2, 2018

I John 2:18-27

In this text, John administers his third and final test to distinguish between God’s true children and the pretenders. It’s the truth test–or as others have called it: the doctrinal test. It has one question. Who is Jesus? If your answer is not: He is the Christ, the incarnate Son of God,  then John labels you with his most severe language yet: antichrist. In preaching their heretical views about Jesus, the false teachers of John’s day aligned themselves with all those who oppose Jesus to their eternal destruction, choosing as allies the Devil and his crew of antichrists.

Even after interacting with John–one who had seen, heard, and touched Jesus, and one who had witnessed his divine miracles, observed his human frailty, and recorded his many words and actions–the false teachers eventually rejected his teaching, withdrew from the fellowship of true believers, and cut themselves off from life with God.

Having clearly identified the false teachers, John turns his attention to true believers, encouraging them to persevere in their belief. He offers two protections against unbelief: the spirit and the truth. It is in the intersection of these two that all Christians persevere.

Christians first receive the Holy Spirit at salvation when he persuades them of the truth. (20) What is that truth? It is the truth first taught by Jesus. It is the truth Jesus passed down to his disciples, commissioning them to spread it throughout the world. It is the truth recorded by those disciples along with other prophets in our Bibles. It is the truth John lays as the foundation of this letter–that the Son of God came in the flesh to offer eternal life. (1:1-4, 2:24)

The Spirit who first convinced us of these truths remains with us to continue persuading us of them. (27) Truth is the material necessary for the Spirit to do his work. How can we be persuaded of something we’ve never heard? Salvation requires exposure to the truth. Perseverance requires continued exposure to the truth. This is why Bible teachers everywhere relentlessly sound a common chord: feed on the truth, faithfully attend a church where the truth is taught, read your Bibles, meditate on the truth, memorize the truth, rehearse the truth! Give the Holy Spirit the material he needs to do his job.

Two questions to ponder:

  1. How are you exposing yourself to the truth?
  2. When was the last time your heart “burned within you” as the Holy Spirit interacted with the truth, impressing it on your heart?

 

 

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