Throughout the history of God’s people, there have been legitimate concerns over the presence of false teachers and false prophets among the Church.
Today is no exception.
The Apostle John speaks to the issue in his first epistle, in which he calls believers of the early Church to return to the basics of Christianity. His were dangerous days for the Church, which was under attack from multiple sides, including from within its own ranks.
The Apostle Paul had warned about such invasions in his day (Acts 20:28-31), and John was now seeing Paul’s words come to fruition. The prevailing philosophies of the day were creeping into the Truth of God’s word and creating a heresy so close to the truth that it was difficult for the people to detect.
In the passage 1 John 2:18-27 the author writes:
Dear children, this is the last hour and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come… They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
The Apostle Paul puts it this way:
I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. Acts 20:29
How can we be prepared for — and on our guard against — the savage wolves when they twist, distort and butcher the word of God?
How do we protect ourselves from their deceit and trickery? How do we spot them from within our own midst when they look so much like us?
We simply claim the promise of Jude 24. We learn to lean on the Lord to keep us from falling and to bring us into His presence. We are not on our own; we have a heavenly Father who is faithful to complete that which He started in us.
He’s not going to turn loose now just because the going gets tough. He is there and He will be there for us. Always.
In 1 John 2:24, the author warns:
See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.
God is going to keep His promises to us. He always does, because He is a promise-keeping Lord.
The one thing that we can do to help ourselves is — as John reminds us — to keep the teachings we have learned in mind and so remain in the Son and in the Father.
After all, we have the assurance of our salvation.