[CF Devotionals] 2012-05-09 - Believers in the Transitory World

The Epistles of John ~ Part 32 ~ 1 John 2

Verse 18

John was concerned that believers would stay true to their walk with God. He didn't want them led astray, which was a very real danger because of the heresies being propagated by false teachers. And it was important these believers demonstrated their love of God. They were not to get caught up in behaviors motivated by love of the world.

One major reason not to love the world was that any satisfaction derived from such love is at best ephemeral and at worst delusional. Service to God, and relationship with Him, is eternal in nature. Service to the world and relationship with it is transitory in nature…

  1. Many Anti-Christs

    Verse 18: So, in this section, John notes just how transitory the world is. He states that his readers were living in the last hour. Obviously, John was living in expectation of Christ's return. And when Christ came, He would shut the world down and establish His kingdom. Was John wrong?

    … After all, here we are some two thousand years later, and seeing examples of Millennial Madness, as the Christian Research Institute calls it. People are looking for the Lord's return any minute. Are they wrong?

    … First, we know that Scripture is without error. We know the writers of Scripture, both the Old and New Covenants, were inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit, and therefore did not make mistakes.

    "All Scripture is God-breathed…" (2 Timothy 3:16).

    Consequently, John was not in error when he identified this period as the last hour. So what is the last hour? For clarity, let me quote Glenn Baker, who puts the concept fairly succinctly:

    "The term `last hour' occurs only here in the NT. Like the similar terms `the last days' and `the last times' it owes much to OT expectations." "The NT writers thought of the `last days' in two ways. Theologically they connected this period to the new age that they associated with the advent of Jesus.… In Acts, the new age is referred to as the `days to come' and is signaled by the pouring forth of the Spirit (2:17) and salvation through the calling on the name of the Lord (2:21). The NT writers did not believe the new age had completely come. They recognized it as being present provisionally in Christ and in the Holy Spirit." "They also used the term `last days' eschatologically to designate the last days before Christ's return." 1

    The NIV Study Bible Notes speaks to this phrase, by stating:

    "With other NT writers, John viewed the whole period beginning with Christ's first coming as the last days (see Ac 2:17; 2Ti 3:1; Heb 1:2; 1Pe 1:20). They understood this to be the "last" of the days because neither former prophecy nor new revelation concerning the history of salvation indicated the coming of another era before the return of Christ. The word "last" in "last days," "last times" and "last hour" also expresses a sense of urgency and imminence. The Christian is to be alert, waiting for the return of Christ (Mt 25:1-13)." 2

    "… but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe" (Hebrews 1:2).

    John, in this letter, refers to the last hour as the period between the ascension and the return of Christ. And one of the proofs of this is the presence of many anti-christs. After all, who was the one who warned these anti-christs were a sign of the end times? The Lord said:

    "For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. — For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible" (Matthew 24:5, 24).

To be continued.

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