1 John – Avoiding Religiopolitical Deception
From the Series: Certainty – Absolute Truths That Bring Joyful Assurance
BY MAX FERNANDEZ
Religiopolitical is a word that combines religious and political deception. The problem with this kind of deception is that it is difficult to catch. For Pluckrose and Lindsay, the answer to Critical Theory is Secularism – separation of church and state (Cynical Theories, 263). For Fea, voting for Donald Trump was considered the lesser of two evils for many evangelicals (Believe Me, 195). For some Independent Baptists, the preachers led services where they equated God and Country. In each of these cases, there is a particular view of Jesus that is both inconsistent with the scripture and insufficient.
There are four positions that often characterize people:
- Fideist – base belief on their emotional experience without sound logic or truth.
- Traditionalist – base belief on their experience or religious traditions taught by men.
- Theorist – base their experience on a worldview that begins with some kind of identity: gender, racial, or economic class.
- Rationalist – base belief on an intellectual grasp of God, Christ, the Bible before they will believe.
These positions too are deceptive because of their assumptions about Jesus Christ—his sufficiency and completeness. When the way we determine right/wrong, good/bad, or saved/unsaved begins with something other than the faithful, redemptive, scriptural exposition of Christ’s evident purpose and work in history, we are left with volatility, instability, uncertainty and joylessness.
Use God’s Dictionary over Wikipedia (1 John 3:4)
Before John gives the command to not allow anyone to deceive them, he establishes what is truth by defining sin as lawlessness. This definition confirms that there is no sinless perfection regardless of what the false teachers are saying. We do not get the right to add or take away from the definition of sin. Let God’s word define sin for you, as opposed to our culture or even other “Christians.”
Think Clearly About Jesus and His Work Before Throwing a Tantrum (1 John 3:5-6)
John wants his readers to think clearly and let emotion follow rather than allow emotion to lead them thoughtlessly. Emotions, especially when they are tied to relationships, can lead us down a path of deception. The remedy is to begin with God’s clear, well-ordered truth. Of the four types of people I mentioned at the beginning, three of them need to see and hear this:
- the Fideist who errs towards faith without reason.
- the Theorist who is led by his/her own experience rather than objective reason.
- the Traditionalist who has been taught many preferences without sound reason.
Recognize the Mountain So That You Know the Mole Hill (1 John 3:7-8)
The mountain of Christ’s work should keep all other things within this life in perspective:
1. Christian, all loss, suffering, difficulty or trials must be understood within God’s greater, providential purposes. We can find assurance in the fact that God has come to destroy sin and will come to complete what He has begun.
2. Christian, understanding Christ’s purpose gives confidence for our mission. There are people living under the blindness of the devil, and the only truth that can destroy this is the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Preach the gospel to someone who is lost in sin!
3. Soul who is still in unbelief, there is only one cosmic champion who has come, and you are either with him or against him. Repent of your sin and receive Jesus as your Lord today!
There is only one cosmic champion who has come, and you are either with him or against him.
Believe That the Life of the Snake-crusher Within You Is More Powerful Than Sin (1 John 3:9)
Those who are truly in relationship with God cannot continue in sin because they have a divine nature within them. Christians are new creatures who will increasingly live with power over sin. Avoiding deception requires, not ultimate confidence in my reason but rather confidence in God’s seminal and continuing work in me.
Know That Closet Christians Only Exist Where We Believe in a Closet Christ (1 John 3:10)
This was a problem for the false teachers, but John makes a point that just as Jesus was manifested, so too will his followers be manifested. True Christians are not only those who don’t sin, but they are also those who live out righteousness. True Christians are not those who wait back for someone to be loving to them, but they proactively love their brethren.
True Christians are not those who wait back for someone to be loving to them, but they proactively love their brethren.
ONLY the clear, scriptural, redemptive exposition of Christ’s historical purpose and work can give us confidence and joyful assurance. Let no man deceive you!
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