Who is the liar but he who denies Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:22
In the previous post we were confronted by the Apostle John’s call to us to receive the Father’s love in simple faith and to walk in that reality by abiding in the Father who is love.
The enemy knows that this truth – that God, as our divine Father who loves us and sent his Son Jesus Christ to rescue us to himself, is core to all reality. It is core to who God is and thus core to who we are.
All of life is either ordered under this reality of the Triune God or is in disorder in denying it.
It makes sense then that the enemies of our God and soul (Satan, the world and our flesh) would seek to strike at the heart of these realities.
Let us consider our enemies’ tactics from 1 John 2:22.
Denies Jesus is the Christ
The world clearly still debates the reality of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God – in his salvific work and/or in its contemporary relevance. The enemy would seek to stoke this debate. Why?
“No one who denies the Son has the Father.” 1 John 2:23
When we deny the Son, we deny our own adoption. They who receive the Son are graced with the power to becomes children of the Father. John 1:12
“And this is the testimony, that God (the Father) has given us life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life, whoever does not have the Son does not have life.” 1 John 5:11-12
Say no to the Son, then say no life. Only death, both today and forever.
The enemy knows this and seeks to undermine this fundamental reality. He seeks to deny Jesus’ identity and salvation. The enemy sows doubt and fear.
Yet, in God’s formative grace, many of us, upon hearing the gospel, are moved to faith by the Spirit and Word (Romans 10:10, Ephesians 2:1-10).
For those ones, once they trust in Jesus as the Christ and their Savior, the enemy goes on to another tactic.
Denies the Father
If the enemy has failed in undermining our faith in Jesus’ identity and saving work on our behalf, then he will go after our simple trust in the Father’s love.
Why? Why does the enemy strike here?
Our own stories answer this query.
What are the implications in our own lives for not knowing and doubting we are loved?
How many false and destructive ways do we seek to validate our own existence, our own worth?
How do we seek to control our life through our false self? In effect, believing the lie that we are on our own, its all up to us, and we know what’s best for ourselves.
Our lives are rife with doubt and fear and angst. Yet, the Father offers love.
We strive and grasp. Even still, the Father delights to grant his kingdom to his children.
We exhaust ourselves seeking to prove our own worth. The Father calls us beloved and gifts us to serve in his eternal purposes.
I am often astounded at how pervasive this dynamic pervades the church globally, so many Christ-followers continue to respond to God the Father as a Pharaoh.
God is Father, not a Pharaoh
A pharaoh needs more and more slaves to build his kingdom for him.
A Father loves children, calls them by name, and makes them his own. He does not need anything. He is all and has all. He leads his children into Sabbath rest and from that identity and rest he empowers them to walk with him into a world strewn with needs.
Yes, the Father will call his children to lay their lives down for others. He did so with his own Son. This is the way of wisdom. It is the way of eternity. It is the way of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our God is not a needy God, He is a giving God. And so are all his children. Like Father, like daughter, like son….
But first things first. We rest in the Father’s love. Then we share that love with the world as it overflows from our lives.
How has the Enemy Deceived You?
What of your flesh has refused to relinquish control? Surrender that to the Father in Christ.
What old story lines are needing to be laid aside to receive a new story line from your Father in heaven? Name them. Who can you talk to to let these lies go?
So we have come to know and to believe the love that the Father has for us. The Father is love, and whoever abides in love abides in the Father, and the Father abides in them. 1 John 4:16