Scripture for Today: 1 John 2:16-25
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. 18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.
In this chapter, John introduces us to two major barriers to knowing God and living the abundant life He has planned for us.
The First Barrier we face to knowing God is the world. Everything in our world seems to work against knowing God. In verse 16, John identifies three ways the world inhibits our efforts to know God. The desires of our flesh and eyes as well as the tendency to boast and get prideful shift our focus from knowing God, to satisfying ourselves. Modern media seemingly reinforces this barrier at every turn. The cacophony of voices competing for the attention of our flesh as well as the relentless pressure to live a certain way in comparison to other people leaves us little room to hear what Isaiah referred to as the “still, small voice” of God. If we are to busy with the trappings of the world to hear the voice of God, how will we ever know Him?
The Second Barrier we face in our effort to know God is false teachers. In verses 18-22, John lets us know that along our faith journey we will encounter many people who teach in a way that sets themselves in opposition to God’s truth. John cautions that these false teachers are subtle and crafty in how they communicate. Woven in the fabric of their words are ideas and thoughts that are “anti” the message of Christ. In fact he refers to these false teachers as “antichrist” several times. If we inadvertently listen to and are influenced by those who speak falsely, we will not be able to know God. The difficult thing about these teachers is that they sound similar to the teachers of truth. The message is often only a minor twist of the truth. However, these minor twists introduce doubt, and over time they can pervert and pollute the truth of God in destructive ways. John offers a simple litmus test, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ.” In order to avoid the lies of false teachers, we must constantly ask ourselves the questions, “Does this teaching align with the words and teachings of Jesus and the Bible?”
Today’s passage ends with the reoccurring reminder to “abide in what you have heard… abide in the Son and in the Father” (vs. 24). If we abide in God in this way we will not be thwarted by these barriers as we seek to know God. John then offers a beautiful promise to those who chose to abide in God, “This is the promise which He Himself made us: eternal life” (vs. 25).
My NEXT Step: Take time to day to pray and ask God to give you strength to abide in Him.
Questions to Catalyze Growth:
- Which of the barriers of the world described in verse 16 are the most challenging in your spiritual journey?
- In your life who have you encountered that has been a false teacher or influence?
- What does it mean to you to abide in God?
- What do you think “eternal life means?”
- What is holding you back from truly knowing God?