The Bulletin
of the
Church of Christ at New Georgia

Tim Johnson, editor

January 26, 2014

 
In This Issue:
The Antichrist
by Jerry Curry

"Be ye Holy; For I am Holy"
by Adam Cozort

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The Antichrist


Conjectures about the identity of the antichrist have occupied idle minds for over 2,000 years, with identities ranging from the pope of the Catholic Church to various world leaders. As with many theories, these conjectures have their foundation in scriptures that are misunderstood and misused. The careful reading of a few scriptures will expose the conjectures as false and correctly identify the antichrist.

We look to the writings of the apostle John to understand the truth about the antichrist. “Little children, it is the last hour: and as ye heard that antichrist cometh, even now have there arisen many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour.  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:18-19). We learn from this passage that the antichrists were already in the world in the first century, and that they had been in the midst of John and other faithful disciples.

We continue in this same epistle as we gain insight to the identity of the antichrist. “Who is the liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, even he that denieth the Father and the Son.  Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that confesseth the Son hath the Father also” (1 John 2:22-23). John says the antichrist is a liar who denies that Jesus is the Christ, stating further that he denies both the Father and the Son.

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:  and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already” (1 John 4:2-3). The antichrist is one who denies that Jesus came in the flesh. This denial fails to acknowledge Jesus as Immanuel, God with us. “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

We make our final appeal to John’s second epistle. “For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 7).

The antichrists are those who deny that Jesus came to earth as Immanuel, God with us. The antichrists deny that Jesus lived on earth in the flesh as the Son of God. Such a denial is refuted by not only the apostle John, but also the writer of Hebrews. “Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;  and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-16).

The matter of the antichrist is a mystery only to those who refuse a simple reading of the scriptures.

- Jerry Curry


 

“Be ye Holy; for I am Holy”

 

The word “holy” in the New Testament is translated from the Greek word hagios. It means: sacred, pure, or blameless. The usage in the Scriptures is often made in reference to God. It encompasses the purity of God and the sacred nature of Deity. God is not common, nor should he be approached as such. Instead, he is described as completely holy, nothing lacking.

It is relatively simple for most people to grasp an understanding of the holiness of God. It is generally much more difficult to understand the holiness of man. There are a number of passages that show us the necessity of being holy. We are to be holy as God is holy (1 Pet. 1:15-16). We are to present our bodies as a sacrifice of holiness (Rom. 12:1). We are to be new men, created in righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24). Finally, we must be holy if we wish to be in the presence of the Lord (Heb. 12:14). All of these things denote the necessity of the holiness of man. The problem, for many people, is in endeavoring to understand how that holiness is obtained.

Some individuals are lead to think they must be perfect in order to be holy, thereby never committing sins or making mistakes. The problem with such a philosophy is that it is an utter impossibility (Rom. 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). On the other hand, there are those who profess that man can do nothing to be found holy in the sight of God. It is all laid upon God’s shoulders to miraculously make man holy and there is nothing man can do to affect that standing. However, the very statement, “be ye holy; for I am holy,” (1 Pet. 1:16), opposes such a philosophy. God does not tell man to be holy because God has made him such; rather, man is to live his life in such a way as to be found holy in the sight of God. Therefore, the emphasis is placed on the conversation (lifestyle) of man in verse 15 of that same chapter. As is often the case, the truth lies somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.

The holiness of man is made possible by the gelling of both ends of the spectrum. First, man is made holy by the blood of Christ. Our Lord gave his life, that by means of his sacrifice we might be sanctified (Heb. 10:10). The chapter continues by showing that those who have been sanctified (made holy) have also been made perfect (Heb. 10:14). It is understood that without the blood of Christ there could be no forgiveness of sins, no sanctification, and no salvation (Heb. 9-10). Hence, the first factor necessary for men to be holy in the sight of God is a means by which man’s impurities can be removed: the blood of Christ.

Second, man becomes holy by dedicated service to God. God, having done his part in the sending of Jesus to die for our sins, also requires that man fulfill his portion of the requirements. For this reason Paul wrote to the Roman Christians these words: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1). We are able to present ourselves to God as living sacrifices. To do so, our lives must be modeled after the attributes of our Creator. Putting forth his desires and commandments as the most important things in our lives. If we follow his pattern, we will present ourselves holy before the Lord, which is described as being our “reasonable service.”

The requirement of mankind to be holy in the sight of God is undeniable, but it is not unattainable. God has laid before each individual the means by which it can be attained. It is now our decision as to whether we will heed the call or neglect it. The call to be holy as God is holy will ring to the end of time; may we ever be ones who answer that call.

-Adam Cozort