Echoes From the Campfire

Some people you can’t change; you just have to outlive them.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (The Time It Never Rained)

    “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
              –Revelation 21:8 (NKJV)
How to Live in a Pagan, Apostate, and Foolish World

Key Verse:  “We know [for a fact] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] lies in the power of the evil one [opposing God and His precepts].”   –1 John 5:19 (Amplified)

This epistle is not a doctrinal letter yet it is full of doctrine.  Doctrine seems to be neglected by the church today.  There are several reasons for that, but for the most part those in the congregation do not care to listen to doctrine, yet it is doctrine upon which we build on the foundation of Jesus Christ.  Without doctrine there is no comfort.  Without doctrine there is nothing with which to fight this pagan world.
    The Word of God is under attack from many quarters as is the Person of Jesus Christ, the living Word.  This is the fundamental doctrine, there is one way to God through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The message of Jesus Christ cannot be denied or changed, or modified, or excused.  “God forbid that we should be so interested in the words of the Bible as to miss the Word itself.” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones) Jesus is the Word!
    When this letter was written there were already attacks on the Word.  These false doctrines came under the guise of Gnosticism.  It was a mixture of philosophy and mysticism.  Gnostics claimed to have special knowledge and/or unique revelation.  Most of them denied the the doctrine of the God-man and the nature of sin.  There are several aspects to this, I will mention only three.
         1)  Jesus did not have a true body, it was a phantom body–the Word was not made flesh, but the Word, the eternal Son of God, came and put on a sort of phantom body, so that He never really suffered in the flesh on the cross.  (see, Colossians 2:9).
         2)  There is a sharp distinction between the man Jesus and the eternal Christ–the eternal Christ came into the man Jesus when He was baptized of John; on Calvary Christ went out of the man Jesus.
         3)  Matter was essentially evil and anything that belonged to matter was in and of itself evil–God could not have created the world; it was an emanation from God (i.e., angel worship)
    There were false reactions to sin and evil.  There became attempts to reason out evil and sin and how it affects man.  Monasticism came into being in which men attempted to mortify and mutilate the flesh and separate themselves from the world (which in reality is not possible).  Liberalism is not new, it began to seep in saying that yes, the flesh is evil, but the soul is not flesh, so it does not matter what the flesh does.  There is no such thing as sin, I may do something which is wrong, but it does not matter, the flesh will be destroyed and my soul will be going on to God.
    This is what John faced; this is what John wrote about and against in 1 John.  Keep in mind that the epistles were written to the Church, not to the pagan world.  John used a very tactful term, he called these people–LIARS!  Not very political correct today, not very tolerant, not very cancel culture, yet to the proponents of these ideas John would say the same thing, these people are–LIARS!