Interested in a spiritual experience? Take your pick. There is a flavor for every taste. Like all the assurance with half the guilt? No problem. Enjoy a good mountain-top experience with no extra commitment? That’s out there, too. As a matter of fact, one of the most popular nuances in the Christian segment of the population offers you the ability to become the best you that you can become with all of the abundance and no sacrifice. We have out of body experiences, inner-self peace and out of this world claims. Whatever your hunger, there is a belief-system that will accommodate.
With so many religious beliefs and so many nuances to even those carrying the Christian label, life can become quite confusing and even a bit scary. What if you get it wrong? What if there is something to be said for all these claims to truth so many different people are making?
John addresses this when he talks about Antichrist. He points out that those who follow Christ must be careful because these “antichrists” went out from the Body of Believers. The implication, then, is that they have heard the truth and, in may ways, sound just like those who are obedient followers of Christ. This makes it that much more dangerous and necessary to discern their spurious claims.
The same is true for us today, if not more so, because so many more “Christian” branches have had time to form, many so nuanced that it is virtually impossible to tell what is true and what is not. It is, therefore, necessary for us to stay in the Word of God so that we’ll know what it says regarding truth. This is the implication of John’s statement that, “they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” For those that depart from Scripture, it is clear they are not part of the “of us,” so long as we can recognize it.
Though we often become discouraged because we don’t feel we “know enough,” even enough to be able to look at the Scripture and have the ability to process and apply it, John offers more encouragement:
But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
Because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, those who have received Christ as Lord have within them all that is needed for discernment into truth. There is no need to be afraid of all of the antichrists lurking around in the world today. Instead, as the writer of Proverbs encourages us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”