18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? 1 John 2:18-22
This passage is both comforting and disturbing.
For one, there’s comfort in knowing where you stand. If you know Christ, if you’ve confessed him, if you practice righteousness, you’re in. You’ve received the anointing–His Spirit–and you know the whole truth. All you need to do is abide in it. This means to reside within the confines of God’s word. Through his word we have total access to God’s mind–well, who really can know the mind of God? Better, he teaches us through his spirit “all things.” (2:27) And as we’ve seen in previous verses, if we mess up as we abide in the word, there’s a process–confession–whereby we can easily right the ship.
On the other their hand, there are many who are wayward and wandering–simply lost. Others are aggressive in their posture towards the truth. Passive or aggressive, they’re all Christ deniers. In the end, there’ll be one consummate “antichrist,” and he will be defeated by Christ himself.
For now we’re constantly on guard against the counterfeits. John tells us how to spot a Christ denier outside the obvious. They don’t abide in him, and as such, they can’t abide with true believers. They’ll eventually check out. Truth is, they simply can’t abide by–tolerate–the name of Jesus. These people want to get as far away from that name as possible. They want a safe place but there is none.
In contrast, we “can have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.” (2:28)