“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”
This verse speaks to the issue of the antichrists of verse 18. They formally connected to the church but were never a part of the genuine body of Christ.
The “they” refers to the antichrists of verse eighteen. These antichrists were not apparent to the church when they originally resided among the assembly of believers.
went out from us,
Note the “from us,” “of us,” “with us,” and “of us” phrases. There is a striking play on phrases in this verse. There is a clear contrast between genuine and false professions of faith.
The antichrists at one point identified themselves formally with the church, but they left the assembly of believers associated with John. They did not share the same spiritual life, so they departed the fellowship. They left because they held to a divergent view of the person and work of Christ. They were not genuine believers.
Note that the antichrists left of their own will. The church did not expel or excommunicate them. They left because they were of fundamentally different belief than the church. They did not believe in the deity and finished work of Christ on the cross.
The phonies went out physically because they were fakers doctrinally. They eventually gravitated to their own crowd and their own beliefs.
Fakers eventually gravitate to their fundamental beliefs.
False teachers spring from within the formal church. Deceit coming from within the church is more dangerous than deceit coming from without. There is a level of trust among people you know.
It is difficult to distinguish the wheat from the tares at times because the tares grow among the wheat. A counterfeit dollar bill is more difficult to detect than a three-dollar bill.
Most cults and sects come from within the church. Jesus and the apostles predicted this. These people hide and obscure what they truly believe.
Some go out from the assembly of believers because they were not of us in the first place. Their departure from genuine Bible believing Christians demonstrated the unreality of their faith. Their withdrawal proved that they were not genuine. They were physically within the circle of genuine believers, but they were not true believers.
Ac 20:28-29, 28 “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.”
Some people use this verse to justify the idea of "once saved, always saved". They say that if you dont continue in the faith then you were never truly saved to begin with. Do you believe this verse does indeed suggest that?
Kris, there is nothing in this passage that says these people were ever believers. They were probably incipient Gnostic teachers who did not believe Jesus had a true body. The next study shows that perseverance is an indication of reality: http://versebyversecommentary.com/1-john/1-john-219b/
Dr. Grant, I came from an evangelical church in our place and when I was assigned to another area and there is no evangelical churches to attend with. And because I desire to have a fellowship in order not to forsake the assembly, I attended a full gospel church even though I knew that my belief concerning the doctrine of salvation is contrary with them. And every time they discussed that a salvation can be lose, it makes me uncomfortable, for I believe in eternal security of those who truly repented and accepted Christ as their Lord and personal Savior and live a God-pleasing life. I don't want also to defend my stand for it will just create discord on everybody. What shall I do, Dr. Grant?
John, It is not a good idea to create a problem in the church and it is unrealistic to ask them to change their beliefs. Have you thought of starting a church on your own with like-minded believers?
Thank you, Dr. Grant. I'm thinking about it. It's a pleasant thing to have a like-minded believers.
Dr. Grant, can a person have a lapse in their faith, because of a Jewish partner, only to eventually return to their Christian beliefs? I know someone of this sort, who was influenced by their partner and fell out of belief, but eventually repented and returned.
Rea, yes, I believe that is possible. The person probably never stopped genuinely believing, but pragmatically stated unbelief to remain in the relationship.
Hello Dr. Grant my name is Frank I have some questions is there any way possible for us to speak. I really need help spiritually and about marriage divorce, adultery. Really trying to make the right decision pleasing to the lord.
Thanks God bless
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