The Antichrist Spirit Says You’ll Always Keep Sinning Because You’re Human
I’ve written quite a bit on the antichrist spirit in other articles and in my book Jesus Has Come In The Flesh. In the article I Know God’s Will Because Jesus Came In The Flesh, we looked at scripture’s teaching on the antichrist spirit in 1st and 2nd John. The apostle John wrote that we can test every spirit by seeing if it acknowledges or denies that Jesus came in the flesh–that a pure, holy God came as a sinless man. This truth is called the incarnation, and understanding it is key to walking in the anointing. John calls every spirit which denies Jesus came in the flesh an “antichrist spirit.”
How The Gnostics Influenced The Church With An Antichrist Worldview
It’s easy to give lip service to acknowledging a truth like the incarnation but deny its implications. The incarnation comes with a certain worldview. The gnostics were a heretical group that denied Jesus came in the flesh, and they denied that Jesus really had a physical, flesh and blood body because their worldview contrasted with the implications of the incarnation. Many people believe the book of Colossians and John’s epistles were written specifically against the gnostics.
Augustine belonged to a gnostic sect for about ten years before he became a Christian. Although he rejected so many of the gnostic teachings, he didn’t completely break away from the gnostic, antichrist worldview. He became, probably, the most influential theologian throughout church history. I don’t question Augustine’s conversion, but his confusion in certain areas brought an antichrist spirit’s influence into churches for generations to come. The historian Neander said that Augustine’s teaching contained the seed of all the religiously motivated violence throughout history that was done in the name of Christ.
Today we are going to look at a lie of the antichrist spirit which I commonly encounter in the church, falsely cloaked as humility and piety, but keeping many people in bondage.
The Same Lie Which Says You Can’t Do The Works Of Jesus Says You Can’t Be Free From Sin!
Jesus said emphatically, with the words “truly, truly,” that the one who believed in him would not only do the same works that he did but would do even greater works. Bill Johnson and others who teach an incarnation-based theology explain that although Jesus continued to be God, he did his mighty works as a man having every weakness we have but walking in communion with the Father. Although thoroughly biblical, this teaching has been the basis for accusations that people like Bill Johnson and Todd White deny Jesus’s deity.
The accusers are pitting Jesus’s humanity against his deity because their worldview struggles with the truth of the hypostatic union as scripture presents it. God became as weak as one of us! Jesus was just as dependant on the Heavenly Father as any of us are. He was weak, hungered, was tempted (even though James 1:13 says God cannot be tempted), received ministry from other people, and was strengthened by angels. He himself said that he could do nothing of himself, but only what he saw the Father do.
Hebrews 2:14-18 (NIV) Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason, he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Bill Johnson teaches that because Jesus became as weak as any of us are, he is a model for how we can live in communion with the Father. The miracles he did are also a model for how we can confront and change situations as we walk in communion with God. The same Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus to do what he could not do of himself now empowers us to do what we cannot do of ourselves.
As I’ve talked to people who would accuse Bill of heresy for such a teaching, I’ve also found that many of them believe we can never be free from sin. They say things like “We are positionally righteous, because of Jesus, but we can’t help that we are always going to keep messing up, because we are human. None of us can really live like Jesus did.”
That sounds a lot to me like the “doctrines of demons” that scripture warns of. It not only denies that those who believe in Jesus will do the same works of power such as healing the sick by the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. It denies that those who believe in Jesus will ever be able to follow his example of holiness and pure love by the Holy Spirit’s empowerment.
2 Timothy 3:5 (NIV) …having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Wow! Don’t settle for a powerless gospel!
A Gnostic Definition Of Salvation!
Lately, I’ve frequently heard Christians around me saying things like “We are always going to mess up because we’re human. Of course, God sees us as righteous because of what Jesus did, and God forgives us and we have to keep repenting every day.” I constantly hear language such as “We are sinners, we’re only human.”
We’re big on grace and receiving Jesus’s righteousness imputed to us as a free gift. But something is twisted in the above statements. The free gift of righteousness is so much more than only “positional righteousness” or being forgiven. It includes that, but it is also an identity, new nature, a tree that bears the fruit of righteousness as we walk in the light. (See Falling Out Of Sin And Into Righteousness)
Romans chapter six clearly teaches that we have died to sin with Jesus and been raised with Jesus in newness of life, so we must consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to righteousness. How is constantly calling ourselves sinners and saying “we will always fail because we’re only human” considering ourselves dead to sin? Many Christians are doing exactly the opposite of what Romans six says by considering themselves alive to sin rather than dead to it, and we hear it all through their conversation. “We’re always going to fail…”
I was recently having a chat with a friend who kept talking like this, and I said, “This expectation that we are always going to fail is not found in the Bible. You keep saying we are sinners but scripture repeatedly calls those who are in Christ ‘saints.'” The assumption in this line of thinking is that we as Christians may be positionally righteous but we will only ever really be free from sin when we die…when we put off this earthly, physical body.
I just saw this really clearly and I want to share how this line of thinking comes right from the Gnostics’ antichrist worldview. The Gnostics believed that the physical realm was evil, base and corrupt, but the spirit was pure. They denied Jesus had come in the flesh because they did not believe that a pure, holy God could come in a base and corrupt human body. They taught that Jesus only appeared to have a physical human body, but really was pure spirit. Because they denied Jesus came in the flesh, the apostle John called them antichrists.
The Gnostic’s idea of salvation was escaping and being freed from the base, corrupt, physical realm. Being freed from the body. Do you see where this is going? The idea that we will always mess up because we are in this human body is part and parcel of the antichrist, Gnostic worldview. The same worldview by which they denied Jesus came as a human. The idea that only death will fully free us from sin is as gnostic as you can get! It makes Jesus out to be our savior only from the penalty of sin, but death, liberation from this physical human body, to be our savior from the power of sin!
Deliverance From The Power Of Sin
Matthew 1:21 (NIV) She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Jesus came to deliver us not only from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin. Bill Johnson has sometimes remarked that people make death their savior when they put off the healing Jesus purchased on the cross until we die. He is right, and people are also making death their savior when they say Jesus makes us right with the Father but only death will really free us from the power of sin because “we’re just human.”
If we really teach what Jesus has done to free us from sin’s power, people will accuse us of heresy! But it is they who are on shaky ground as far as their incarnation theology. Do we really believe that Jesus came as a human, with every weakness and temptation we have, without sin, depending wholly on the Father, and empowered by the Holy Spirit? Do we accept not only the truth of Christ’s full divinity but also of his full humanity, that he needed the Holy Spirit’s empowerment just as much as we do? That’s not heresy, it’s foundational Christian doctrine.
Look at Romans 5:
Roman 5:12, 15-19 (NIV) Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned…
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
Does Romans 5 says sin and death reigned because “we’re just human and we’re always going to mess up?” No, it reigned because we all sinned! But notice how deliverance from sin came! It came through a human, Jesus! Romans then talks about humans who receive God’s grace and righteousness reigning in life, free not only from the penalty of sin but from the power of sin. That doesn’t sound to me like “We always fail because we’re human.” We are no longer “mere humans” but we are humans now united to God in spirit, indwelt by the same Holy Spirit that empowered Christ. The righteousness God gives us is so much more than just “positional.” It is a new nature, empowerment to reign in life now, as humans, just as Jesus came as a human!
We are human-the new human!
Ephesians 4:22-24 (NKJV) put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man (new human) which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.