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.1 John 2:19a
Notice that the mark of an antichrist is finally breaking away from New Testament Christianity. All such invariably do. And when they do, they will insist that they are the true mainstream of Christian truth and that we are living in the backwaters of Christian doctrine. John puts this very plainly. The mark of genuineness is continuity in the truth, continuance in true faith. What does he mean by
us? Surely not Christendom in general. He means, as he makes clear in the context of this whole letter, those who love the Word of God and who possess the Spirit of God, those who seek to obey the Word in the power of the Spirit. The emphasis he has been making all along is on those who share the life of Christ by the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God. Heretics will invariably cut themselves off from these people.
If you suggest studying the Scriptures to those who are involved in heresy, you will immediately feel their scorn of the Scriptures. If they read the Bible at all, they cull out certain portions, omitting the parts they do not like, and then they say,
Yes, we'll study the Scriptures right along with you. But if you read what they are studying, you find it to be emasculated of essential truth. We need not fear heresy if we find someone who wishes to study the Scriptures as they are. There are many people today who are utterly ignorant of the Scriptures and perhaps have very peculiar viewpoints about them, but they are quite willing to learn. Do not worry about the fact that they are way off about a lot of things now. Get them into the Scriptures. The Word of God has a marvelous ability to correct error and to channel interests into vital matters. They will soon be brought into line with the great, marvelous, glorious, all-pervasive truth of God, these tremendous themes that grip the hearts of men and women wherever they are set forth in power.
Through the centuries there have been cyclical outbreaks of heresy arising within Christian circles to twist, distort, and pervert the truth. We see the confluence of these in our own day. We will be disturbed and confused unless we view them in the light of the revelation of the truth of God. What a wonder this Word is, which has been given to us that we might understand what is happening to us, understand the world in which we live, and thus be made to know what is going on. We can thus realize that history is utterly in the control of God and is moving exactly the way He planned. Our own individual lives can be brought into line with this to produce not that which is transient and ephemeral, but to be engaged in that which abides, that which will end up at last fulfilling the purpose of God in history, moving to the last consummation that He has in view.
Father, my heart is moved anew as I see what is happening in my own day in the blazing light of these amazing Scriptures. God, grant that I might remain true to Your Word.
Heresy results from failure to study and accept the whole of Scripture. What effect does the powerful Word of God have on those who see through its revelation?