Listen to today’s devo!

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. (1 John 2:18)

There’s a wonderful story about the apostle John, passed down by an early church father to whom John had been a mentor. According to the story, John had just entered a Roman bath house, following the custom of the day, when he saw across the pool a heretic named Cerinthus. John quickly turned and headed for the door, urging his companions to flee as well. “It’s not safe in here,” John told them. He warned that God might bring down the walls of the bath house because “Cerinthus, the enemy of truth, is inside!”

Cerinthus was a leader of the Gnostics, the heretical sect that John labeled “antichrists” in today’s passage. Gnostics denied that Jesus was God-in-the-flesh and rejected the resurrection accounts in the Gospels. Even though they called themselves Christians, they were actually against Christ (“anti-Christ”) because their false teachings on these and other core principles of the faith distorted the truth of the gospel message.

Mention the word antichrist today and our minds invariably go to the Antichrist of the end times, the Beast of Revelation. John mentions him in this letter to the young church too, but at the same time he warns us to keep up our defenses against lower-case antichrists who are spreading false doctrines among the faithful. We, too, must be mindful of ideologies that sneak in under the radar, that detract from the gospel of Jesus.

Know the truth so well that truth’s enemy can’t shake it.

Bob Black is professor emeritus of religion at Southern Wesleyan University, where he served for thirty-two years. He co-authored the denominational history, The Story of The Wesleyan Church.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House.  Reprinted from Light from the Word.  Used by permission.  Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.