I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 2 John, verse 7.
Do you know someone who doesn’t believe, doesn’t have faith in anything? I know a few such people. They’re friends, even a few who are family. With an honest heart I can’t say any of them are bad folks, or indecent people, or unloved. For a myriad of reasons, they simply don’t believe in Jesus.
I worry about them. I worry that, in a world that seems to be spinning more and more out of control in so many ways, when they finally do believe, they’ll grasp onto the wrong faith. Not just any belief can save your eternal soul: only Jesus Christ can. John worried about this too, because in this book he acknowledges that to obey Jesus’ commands means to love other people, then immediately mentions how there are many people in the world, even then, who denied that Jesus Christ was who He says He is and was. In John’s day, there were Jewish scoffers who denied that their long-awaited messiah had come and risen. There were pagan Romans, Zoroastrians, and Persians: people who worshipped false gods and adored power. There were Greeks, who worshipped those same gods alongside the gods of reason and culture. And there were people whose love had grown cold, despite the constant rumors that God Immanuel had made His home among us.
Nothing has changed. Twenty-plus centuries have elapsed since John wrote these words and nothing much has changed. We know those people who don’t believe. We love them, we are friends with them, and we cherish their company yet they don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He can save souls and impart peace. Even more, there are people in our midst who actively deny that Jesus is who He is, and that we must put our trust in other gods: gods of money, success, sole self-reliance, power, control, knowledge or consumption. This is nothing new; you’ve heard these arguments before. The people of John’s day would understand them…just like you and me.
What will you say or do when someone in your life professes to you that they don’t believe in Jesus? Will you witness? Will you listen and then lovingly disagree? Will you keep quiet and hope the moment passes? Will you stand your ground and stridently hold the faith-line? Will you deny just to keep the peace? What will you do? Don’t be fooled: unbelief is deception and diversion is an antichrist. Will you be Jesus’ ambassador or will you get along to go along?
Dear Jesus, speak for me. Help me to lovingly face the times when others don’t know you and be You to them so they might learn to follow.