In my last blog, How to Pray…Unceasingly, I stated I wanted to delve into a couple of subjects a little further. The second subject is the “religious spirit”. The term “religious spirit” is not in the Bible. You can try to search for it and it does not come up. I think we are calling something a religious spirit not realizing, biblically, this type of behavior is called something else by the early apostles.
When Jesus began teaching, according to the account in Matthew 4 and 5, Jesus makes it clear that it is not humanly possible for us to fulfill the law. There is no possibility in our humanity we would ever be able to fulfill the law. So, He makes the statement that He did not come to abolish the law but fulfill it Himself (Matthew 5:17). There is something the Pharisees or Sadducees could not admit: Jesus was God in the flesh. Which meant the law would not be fulfilled and the law still had to be fulfilled by human people. This type of behavior still happens within the Church. Humanity still trying to fulfill the law. As I have said before we start by telling people anyone can come to Jesus and get saved (which is true) but then we teach you must behave (fulfill the law) to stay a Christian. Otherwise known as losing your salvation because of your behavior not because of your FAITH.
According to the Greek I present to you it is not a “religious spirit” but “antichrist” or “anti-Messiah”. Let’s look at the meaning of the word the Greek word translated into antichrist or anti-Messiah:
500. antichristos-antíxristos (from 473 /antí, “opposite to, in place of” and 5547 /Xristós, “Christ”) – properly, opposite to Christ; someone acting in place of (against) Christ; “Antichrist.” Biblehub
This word occurs five times all within 1 and 2 John. In both 1 John 4:3 and 2 John 1:7 there is a description of what antichrists do: “those not confessing Jesus Christ came in the flesh” these are deceivers and antichrists. A deceiver (4108 planos) is someone who tries to “get others to also veer off God’s course (path of safety)” (Biblehub). The word confessing is important also to the overall picture of what John was stating. This word is homologeo in the Greek (3670) which means: “to voice the same conclusion, i.e. agree (“confess”); to profess (confess) because in full agreement; to align with (endorse)” (biblehub). These deceivers and antichrists were not in full agreement or aligning with the fact Jesus Christ came in the flesh. God as human. See the problem with Jesus not coming in the flesh is there would be no propitiation or payment for the world’s sin. As Paul describes it in Romans 5:
“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:14-17 NASB
It is important to note here that antichrists is a word describing people who teach opposite of what Christ taught or someone acting in place of (against) Christ. They deny the power, authority, Kingship, deity of Jesus Christ the Son of God. Which also then denies God for He sent His Son. What we call the “religious spirit” is one in the same in definition as the antichrist. So let us call it what it truly is: antichrist or anti-Messiah. The Pharisees and Sadducees where anti-Messiah. They denied Jesus was God in flesh and remained in the law justifying themselves. Today we have Churches full of people who state they believe in Jesus but still walk around trying to justify themselves to God. Teachers continue to teach the Cross was not quite enough to take care of your sin for all time. There is a reliance on self and not Jesus. Although it is stated we can only do this through the strength of God, which is true, yet our very ability to stay saved is based on our behavior, which is false. Our salvation is based only on Jesus and what He did for us. He fulfilled what we never could.
Next blog post I want to give some examples that help you understand when the antichrist is at work because as John said:
“Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” 2 John 1:8-11 NASB
As a side note I want to make it clear the antichrist John speaks of is not the same as what Paul speaks of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (where people keep saying the antichrist that comes as one man). This is not the antichrist but the “man of lawlessness and the son of destruction”. These are two separate discussions of completely different topics.