Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Antichrist or Identity Crisis

The Antichrist Spirit

Our defeated enemy still has a few tricks and lies up his sleeve and so far, he’s pulled one over on the Church. He has successfully sent many of us on a wild goose chase after the antichrist. We can’t let him succeed at this any longer. We must come to understand that the spirit of the antichrist is not so much an end-time identity as it is the purveyor of an end-time identity crisis—ours!

The End-time Clock

While waiting for time to run out on history, we’ve forgotten that the end-time clock has been running for over 2,000 years now, ever since the Apostle John called it the “last hour.” If that is true, then we are currently living in the latter part of the last hour. From then until now, the spirit of the antichrist has been in the world and many antichrists have come and manifested themselves (1 John 2:18, 4:3).

Despite these facts, we’ve been more obsessed with identifying some singular flesh and blood manifestation of the spirit of the antichrist instead of acknowledging the worth and power of the Holy Spirit of God residing in our own flesh.

Hearts of Flesh

Let’s be clear! Nothing which dwells in our flesh holds any intrinsic value. As Paul says, the flesh counts for nothing. Yet, Jesus came to dwell in the flesh of man and he continues there today by residing in our hearts. God has repurposed our flesh so that it might be a suitable home for the Spirit of the living God (Romans 7:18, 8:9).

So while we don’t live according to the flesh, we live in the flesh by faith in the Son of God (Romans 8:10, Galatians 2:20). Our hearts of flesh were once evil beyond cure, but Christ has redeemed our hearts, thereby superseding the fall (Jeremiah 17:9, 1 Timothy 1:5, 2 Timothy 2:22, Galatians 5:16).

“For God…made his light shine in our hearts…But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7 NIV).

His Dwelling Place

It was always God’s plan that by faith, his Spirit would dwell within our hearts of flesh (Romans 5:5, Galatians 4:6, 2 Corinthians 1:22, 1 John 4:13).

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh….I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26 NIV).

As these passages attest, our hearts of flesh are a gift from God himself that he might dwell there by his Spirit. The spirit of the antichrist, on the other hand, means to deny and separate our heart’s true identity and purpose. He denies Jesus Christ in the flesh!

A Spirit of Denial

“…Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist (2 John 1:7 NIV).
While the spirit of the antichrist does deny the physical incarnation of Jesus, we must come to understand that this deception and denial goes even further. It seeks to undermine the ongoing incarnation within believers themselves. He seeks to undermine the work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts of flesh.

We must stop looking for some individual antichrist. John clearly says that any, not just one singular individual, which denies Jesus as coming in the flesh has been affected by that spirit’s deception.

A Redeemed House

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil…” (Hebrews 2:14 NIV).
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 ESV).
Jesus Christ was made in our likeness for the purpose of breaking the power of the enemy and redeeming mankind. He came in human flesh and dwelled among us, yet was without sin. We, on the other hand are made of flesh, but were born into sin. But because of his death and resurrection, we obtain his righteousness (Philippians 2:7, Romans 3:21-22, 8:3, 10:4, Galatians 2:16). Walking in progressive fullness of that righteousness, we make ourselves ready that we would become his mature bride.

Getting Married

Jesus and his bride have a lot in common, or at least, that’s the intention and the path that we’ve been taking for 2,000 years. Jesus is a traditionalist in the sense that he doesn’t intend to marry outside of his species. When the marriage supper of the Lamb is served, folks will see that the bridegroom and the bride are a perfect match.

As the passages above so clearly demonstrate, Jesus came in the flesh so that he could be like his bride. Then, he made the ultimate sacrifice so she could be like him—both adorned in righteousness. It was a match made in heaven.

“… He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:20 NIV).

Does Anyone Object to This Union?

Yes…the spirit of the antichrist objects to the union of the bridegroom and the bride. He seeks to undermine her heart and thereby, undermine her actions. Her heart and her actions are to be like those of the bridegroom!

“This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus” (1 John 4:17 NIV).
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these…” (John 14:12 NIV).
“I have given them the glory You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one…” (John 17:22 NIV).
“Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked” (1 John 2:6 NIV).

If these are the intentions of Christ, then it is clear that the intentions of the antichrist will be the exact opposite. Therefore, any spirit which attempts to influence the Body of Christ away from walking as Jesus did, doing his works, manifesting his glory—being like him, is attempting to deny that Jesus has come in the flesh. He vehemently objects to our union with Christ!

While he obviously will not succeed in the end, what damage will he accomplish along the way? Only what we allow him!

Our Identity

We cannot continue to hold theologies which agree with the spirit of the antichrist. Neither can we be so hung up on identifying times, dates, and personalities, that we lose the attention of our first love. Our identity is to be a suitable match for the one who redeemed us. If we don’t look like his bride, grown to the “whole measure of the fullness of Christ,” it is proof of the pervasiveness of the spirit of the antichrist.

As Brennan Manning said, “Be who you is, ‘cause if you ain’t who you is, you is who you ain’t.”

It’s time to see ourselves as the Bride of Christ, whose heart of flesh gladly holds and reflects the Spirit of the One who bought us.