"Neither Give Place to the Devil" (continued)
Thus, in 1 John 2:13-27, where we are told that "even now are there many antichrists," it is the "little children (paidion) who have received the anointing of the Lord in order that they may know that which is of Christ, and that they may discern that which is antichrist - ["them that seduce you"]. Only those who have "become as little children," only those that humble themselves as a little child shall be able to discern that which is antichrist. In other words, only those who are becoming wholly dependent upon the Lord because of the work of the Cross in their lives will be able to thoroughly know that which is of Christ and discern that which is antichrist. Dear friends, our knowing Christ more intimately and thoroughly, and our discerning that which is antichrist, that which has been designed to seduce us out of the right way of the Lord, does not depend upon whether we are a new Christian beginning our walk with the Lord, or whether we are an older Christian and more mature in the Lord. No, it depends upon our being wholly dependent upon the Lord through the work of the Cross. Remember, Abraham and Sarah had walked with the Lord for 20 years, and we have seen that the Lord accomplished many things in and through their lives; thus when Abraham and Sarah walked in dependence upon their Lord, the enemy had no ground; but when they walked in the carnal reasoning of their natural man, they could not discern that which is antichrist, and the enemy moved to seduce the strength of their natural man in his attempt to corrupt "The Seed, Which is Christ."
We know that the enemy's attempt to corrupt "The Seed," which is Christ, was defeated by the sovereign will of God; but God would still continue to deal with Sarah and Abraham. And they would both come to a place where they allowed God to deal with the religiousness of their natural man.
One of the hardest things for most of us to see, and acknowledge, about ourselves is the religiousness of our natural man. Deep within the soul and spirit o the natural man is that which desires to participate in the Holy things of God. This is true of both the saved or unsaved person; and in Christians, the religiousness of our natural man can seem to be very spiritual. This part of our natural man is very hard to detect for it seems to be serving God's purpose; but when it is the religiousness of our natural man, in some way, it will have our own self-interest at the center of whatever we are doing for the Lord. We must all admit that even when we are doing what God has called us to do, as Abraham was, the religiousness of our natural man will, in some way, move into the center of things; for we must realize that at different times, and in different ways, we all desire that our own Ishmael may live before the Lord.
Hence, many of us are like Abraham and Sarah have walked with the Lord for 20 years, or more, and we still have not allowed the Lord to deal thoroughly with the religiousness of our natural man. If we are going to continue to be overcomers, if we are going to discern that which is antichrist, if we are going to remain among the faithful throughout our sojourn on earth, we are going to have to let the Lord deal with the religiousness of our natural man through the work of the Cross in our lives.
We may say, "I know I am a soldier of the Lord, I know I have joined with the Lord to deliver any out of the hands of the enemy": - but so had Abraham, he was a mighty warrior of the Lord and he delivered both Lot's family, and even Sodom, out of the hands of the enemy (Genesis 14). We may know of a certainty that we have kept our stand before God and have not allowed the enemy to pervert our way before the Lord: - but so had Abraham, he said to the king of Sodom, "I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, 'I have made Abram rich' " (Genesis 14:23). We may be a true intercessor, one who is used by the Spirit to pray for God's end through His Way: - so was Abraham; for God, Who considered Abraham His friend, told Abraham of Sodom and Gomorrah's coming judgment; and Abraham's intercession by the Spirit gave Sodom and Gomorrah the privilege of repenting (which they did not), and in his intercession Abraham joined with God again in saving "just Lot." In Genesis when Abraham and Sarah are both waling in faith, in full dependence upon the Lord, only Abraham is mentioned, for as husband and wife, they are one in the Lord. But most of the time, when they are yielding to the natural man, God deals with each one by name. This is true in the Church, when we are "in the Spirit," we are joined with all who are "in the Spirit,: but when we yield to our natural man, God deals with us individually.
(continued with # 41)