Who Do You Say That I Am?

Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. – 1 John 2:22-23 ESV

The world in which we live is diametrically opposed to God. Although it was created by Him, it vehemently resists His sovereign right to rule and reign. It rejects His Son as King and denies in any way that men are subjects of His Kingdom. In his letter, John goes out of his way to present Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah. But he wants his readers to know that Jesus was far more than just a man who lived a good life and taught strong moral truths. He was “that which was from the beginning” (1 John 1:1 ESV). He was the eternal word of life and was made manifest, made visible, so that men could see Him. Not only that, He was the propitiation for the sins of man. His death satisfied the just demands of a holy God. And now He sits at the right hand of God the Father where He intercedes on our behalf, acting as our advocate or mediator. But the world would have us believe it is all a lie. The god of this world is doing everything in his power to dissuade us of any notion as to Jesus being the Son of God or the Savior of the world. He wants us to reject the very idea that we even need a Savior. To do that, he gets us to doubt the reality of our own sin. Sinless people don’t need salvation or a Savior. Rather than confess our sins, Satan would have us deny them. Rather than recognize God’s holiness our own sinfulness, Satan would prefer that we measure our righteousness by a more subjective standard. Morality becomes relative and unenforceable. Goodness becomes a personal matter. Right and wrong become totally subjective and subject to interpretation. Isaiah warned about this kind of attitude. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21 ESV). This is the spirit of the antichrist. It is the antithesis of everything for which God stands. No rules. No law. No judgment. No sin. No savior. No hell. And it is all a lie.

John tells his readers, “I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth” (1 John 2:21 ESV). Those to whom he was writing knew the truth regarding Jesus. He was the Son of God. He had come to die on the cross on their behalf. His death had provided them with justification before God. They had enjoyed forgiveness for their sins, a restored relationship with God the Father, and were assured on eternal life. Just hours before His trials and crucifixion, while alone in the garden, Jesus had prayed, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV). This is at the heart of eternal life. An intimate knowledge of and belief in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world, and the Father as the loving source of that invaluable gift. Anyone who teaches anything other than that is not only sorely mistaken, they are deadly wrong. Jesus Himself boldly and categorically claimed, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 ESV). There is no other way. There is no other path. There is no other option. Case closed. End of discussion.

A belief in Jesus that is accompanied by a rejection of sin is nothing less than a lie. A belief in God that does not include His Son as Savior is close, but not good enough. “No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23 ESV). One of the most important questions Jesus ever asked His disciples is recorded in the gospels. He started out by asking them, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13 ESV). They provided a number of options, clarifying the range of perceptions held by the common people of the day. But then Jesus posed a question for which the answer remains the most significant one any man or woman will ever have to give. He asked, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15 ESV). Forget about everybody else. Don’t worry about what everyone else is saying. What do you say? Who is Jesus to you? And we know by Jesus response that Peter gave the right answer. He simply stated, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mathew 16:16 ESV). Which is why John could say that anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ is a liar. To deny Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, is to deny that He was God. It is to deny that He was sinless. It is to deny that we are sinners. It is to deny that we need saving. It is to deny that God is holy. It is to deny that punishment for sin is possible or even probable. It is to deny the resurrection. It is to deny eternal life and the reality of heaven. And it is to deny the existence of hell. That is the spirit of antichrist. And it is all around us. But we know better. We know Him. We know the truth. We have the light. And we have the life. Let us live like it and love like it. Let us walk as Jesus walked. In the truth of who He is and what He has done.

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