Even now many antichrists have appeared
Galatians 3:23-4:31 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Before faith came, we were kept in custody under the Law, being confined for the faith that was destined to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our guardian to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 For you are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
4 Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave, although he is owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 3 So we too, when we were children, were held in bondage under the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons and daughters. 6 Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
8 However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles, to which you want to be enslaved all over again? 10 You meticulously observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.
12 I beg of you, brothers and sisters, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong; 13 but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; 14 and you did not despise that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition, nor express contempt, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself. 15 Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I testify about you that, if possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They eagerly seek you, not in a commendable way, but they want to shut you out so that you will seek them. 18 But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable way, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you— 20 but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone of voice, for I am at a loss about you!
21 Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the Law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and one by the free woman. 23 But the son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. 24 This is speaking allegorically, for these women are two covenants: one coming from Mount Sinai giving birth to children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. 25 Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is enslaved with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. 27 For it is written: “Rejoice, infertile one, you who do not give birth; Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor; For the children of the desolate one are more numerous Than those of the one who has a husband.” 28 And you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But as at that time the son who was born according to the flesh persecuted the one who was born according to the Spirit, so it is even now. 30 But what does the Scripture say?
“Drive out the slave woman and her son, For the son of the slave woman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.”
31 So then, brothers and sisters, we are not children of a slave woman, but of the free woman.
Since the time of Jesus ascension people have been watching and waiting both for His return and for the rise of the antichrist. 1 John 2:18 says: Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. There will come a time when someone arises who to fulfill what scripture says about the antichrist, but the spirit of antichrist is already present and active in the world. Today’s text says: For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. In Christ there is unity and equality. Today there are many who seek to divide us, liberal against conservative, democrat against republican, rich against poor, white against black, male against female, vaccinated against unvaccinated. In any and everything that there is a difference between people, some seek to divide. If Christ brings unity and equality, then those who divide are of the spirit of antichrist. Many in the media, in politics, in education and throughout our culture are of the antichrist spirit. from this we know that it is the last hour.
In Matthew 24:4-14 Jesus describes what we can expect to see and experience before He comes again. “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many people. And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains. Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Those who mislead many do not claim that they are the Christ. They say that Jesus is the Christ, but they speak of a different Jesus. They say that if Jesus was here today, He would embrace the immorality of our culture. They say He would tolerate, accept and perhaps even partake in the very things He suffered and died to redeem us from. That there will be nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom is not being repetitious. The word translated as nation is the Greek word ethnos from which we get the English word ethnic. The nation against nation conflicts are the racial, ethnic and tribal conflicts that are escalating around the world. These are again fueled and driven by the spirit of antichrist. No government institution will solve these tensions, rather through government intervention they are highlighted and increased. Only in Christ is there true unity. Unity does not require that we all be the same. True unity acknowledges that we are all different and unique. Our unity is in that we are all created and loved by the same God. 1 John 4:19-21 says: We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and yet he hates his brother or sister, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother and sister whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God must also love his brother and sister. Surely, we are seeing and experiencing a time when lawlessness is increasing. Again, this too is fueled and driven by the spirit of antichrist. God is a God of order. Antichrist creates chaos, so as to maximize fear. Fear causes a lack of love which farther fuels division.
What are we to do? Jesus says: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Before He ascended, Jesus gave us instructions about what we should do until He returns. In Matthew 28:18-20 He says: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
May the prayer that Jesus prayed for us, on the night that he was betrayed, be our prayer today: “…I am not asking on behalf of these alone, but also for those who believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I also have given to them, so that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and You loved them, just as You loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” Amen.