Thursday, May 2, 2019

Jesus Warns Us against Antichrists (1 John 2:15-24)

Today Jesus shares this warning with us through his apostle John: Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15, New American Standard Bible, here and following). To avoid any confusion, John clarifies for us all that is in the world: the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life (2:16).

Jesus warns us today through John against the boastful pride of life. Ever since the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, every human being has had two personalities: one Olympian and the other Christian. Our Olympian personality is structured in terms of the six conventional yet destructive gods of Olympus. These most definitely are the gods of the world. In its devotion to them, our Olympianity personality is most arrogant; that is, obliviously self-centered. There is no love of the Father whatsoever in that personality.

Jesus warns us: Children, it is the last hour (2:18). By children he means: beloved but ignorant ones, trust me when I speak to you now about important things you do not know. It is the last hour: we have reached a decisive moment, perhaps the decisive moment immediately preceding his coming to judge the living and the dead.

Jesus warns us: many antichrists have appeared (2:18). Obviously, an antichrist is someone, unwittingly or not, who sets himself against Christ. Again, to avoid any confusion, Jesus provides us with three important identifying characteristics of antichrists. One: They went out from us, but they were not really of us (2:19). Two, an antichrist is a liar; specifically, one who denies that Jesus is the Christ (2:22). Three: This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son (2:22).

One, antichrists, or antichristians, are Christians who became Olympians. Some no longer identify themselves as Christian and long ago stopped going to church. Others continue to identify themselves as Christians and include churchgoers and even church leaders. Still in church or not, they are persons in whom the self-centered Olympian personality now dominates their Christian one.

Two, one defining characteristic of Olympians, whether or not they call themselves Christians, is the denial that Jesus is the Christ. To affirm that Jesus is the Christ is to think and live in ways that witness to him as our one and only lord and savior in life and in death. Some Christian Olympians fail to do this by identifying a political leader, of one party or another, as the one anointed by God to save us from the challenges we face. All look to technology in this way. Even war. Many Christian Olympians also see other religions as different paths to the same god rather than as paths away from him.

Three, Christian Olympians deny the Father and the Son. Christian Olympians deny the Father. They purge hymnbooks, prayer books, even translations of the Bible into English, of all references to God as Father and of all uses of masculine pronouns to refer to him. They regard as evil any Christians who persist in following Jesus in his adoration of Father.

Christian Olympians deny the Son. In truth, Jesus Christ is the source, center, and goal of all churches. In the reality of Christian Olympian congregations, he grows increasingly marginal. Mention of his name grows increasingly rare. Even preachers expounding on a passage from the Bible no longer refer to him. Christian Olympians also marginalize the Son by ignoring the Bible or attacking its integrity using a surprising variety of methods.

Copyright © 2019 by Steven Farsaci. All rights reserved.