“Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22-23
Over the years I’ve had a lot of people lie to me. Some were habitual liars and I learned after a while to not believe anything they said. Others were very selective about when they would lie. Usually they’d tell the truth but every once in a while you’d come up against some part of their lives that they wanted to keep hidden and then they’d lie.
With this second group it was the most difficult to even figure out if they were lying. First because they lied so rarely and secondly because they were much more careful to make sure that what they said fit with everything else in their lives.
It’s a hard thing to go through life holding onto lies. Once you lie you have to live with that lie. And if you get caught and the truth comes out, you still have to live with it, because now people know two things you didn’t want them to know. They know the truth you were trying to hide and they know that you’re a liar.
In his first letter, John warns his readers about some lies that are being told about Jesus. This is all part of his dealing the the antichrist issue we’ve already mentioned.
Apparently, there’s a group of people that once were part of the Christian community that are now teaching that Jesus isn’t who he said he was. There were basically two groups that denied Jesus being the Christ. One group denied his divinity and the other denied his humanity. Doing either fatally undermined Jesus’ capacity to be our messiah.
In our focus text, John seems to be addressing a group that’s part of, or has separated from, the church and is denying Jesus’ divinity. We come to this conclusion because John calls them liars. In order for them to be liars they would need to know the truth of Jesus’ divinity and this puts them within the Christian community. John also says that to deny the Son is also to deny the Father and this reveals an attack on Jesus divinity. Both of these connections match the broader context of John’s discussion, in chapter two, about the antichrist.
When the Holy Spirit has convicted you of the truth of God’s word you can never just walk away and deny it. Before you came to Christ you may have been unconvinced but once convinced the only way you can ever deny Jesus is to deny the truth you know and lie about him. That’s often why the skeptical arguments of former Christians are the hardest to overcome. The lie has to be good enough to be convincing to the liar.
John wrote this to prepare his flock for the crisis that was building in the church. Satan will never stop attacking Christ and his church. But, friends, God will never stop sending his shepherds to watch over and warn his sheep.