“And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17)
In the beginning, God told our first parents that to reject his word would result in death, and so it has. Ever since mankind dismissed the word of their maker, all of creation has been dying, and God hates it. He hated death from the moment it entered the world. So much so that he declared war on it in the form of a promise. The promise that he would send his Son to destroy death by dying. God would become the world’s rejection of his word and die their death. But three days later, he would rise again in victory over the grave. I doubt I am telling you anything you don’t know, but I must because “the world is passing away,” and eternal life is on the line.
When John says, “the world is passing away,” he is telling us something we see with our natural eyes: everything dies or is dying. When he tells us not to love the world or the things in it (1 John 2:15), he does not mean to say we should love people or creation but that we should not cling to what is passing away. What we cling to is what we worship. The desire to be God is how we got here and yet that desire remains our chief temptation. The desire to be our own savior causes us to once again reject the word that God has spoken. The will of this God who hates death is not difficult to know. It is what he has wanted from the beginning: for his words to be heard and believed and for the promise of eternal life through the sacrifice and victory of Jesus Christ to be trusted in. This is the will of God that results in abiding with him forever. Because of this, we can see that death is an antichrist work.
The will of this God who hates death is not difficult to know. It is what he has wanted from the beginning: for his words to be heard and believed.
John says many antichrists have come and gone (1 John 2:18) and that they left the faith because of unbelief (1 John 2:19). What does it mean to be antichrist? To be antichrist is to be your own christ. It is to deny the word of the Father and the work of his Son. As John writes: “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.” (1 John 2:22)
Unbelief has always been antichrist. It was an antichrist in Eden who first tempted us to doubt God’s word and fed the desire of the world to be our own gods. To be antichrist is to not trust God’s word. To not believe his promises. To call the Father a liar and his Son unnecessary. To believe that death has not been defeated. To believe that abiding with God forever is a lie in the mouth of a myth. And while this is the position all sinners are born in; the smallest amount of Holy Spirit-created faith defeats every antichrist belief we hold.
In an antichrist world that is passing away because it has refused to hear or trust the promises of God, there remains good news. Good news that was first spoken in Eden, then respoken through the prophets, declared to the Virgin Mary and delivered in the work of her Son, Jesus Christ. The good news that the deadly work of all that is antichrist has been conquered by Christ himself. That sin has been taken away, and death has been destroyed in the death and resurrection of Jesus. The world may be passing away, but for us who have been granted antichrist-destroying faith in the person and work of Jesus, something better has been promised. “And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life” (1 John 2:25).