We can’t have the Father without the Son.

by K.W. Leslie, 24 June

1 John 2.20-25.

In my article about antichrists, I pointed out not every antichrist is a radical atheist. Plenty of people totally believe in God… yet deny Jesus is Christ, or Lord, or in any way like Christians describe him, or that he’s even real.

Jews fr’instance.

And let me preface this with a warning about antisemitism. ’Cause there’s still a ton of racism out there. Racists want to hassle and exclude anybody they consider different, and they don’t care if there’s no reason for it, or if their “reasons” are stupid or nonsense. They wanna hassle Jews, and any excuse will do for them. They will, and historically have, used “antichrists” as an excuse. It is not an excuse, not a valid reason. The racists are simply being evil.

In John’s definition of antichrist, anybody who actively rejects Christ Jesus is an antichrist. Plain and simple. So if you worship YHWH, Abraham’s God, same as Christians, yet reject Jesus the Nazarene as Christ the Lord, you’d be an antichrist. Cut ’n dried, plain ’n simple. Jews do. Christians don’t… and to many Christians’ surprise, Muslims don’t. (Muslims totally believe Jesus is a prophet, is Messiah, and that he’s coming back. It’s why when he appears to them and tells ’em to follow him, they eagerly do. They just don’t believe he’s God incarnate, among many other problematic things.)

Religious Jews absolutely believe in YHWH. But do they think Jesus is their Messiah? Nope; if they did they’d be Christian. (Or “Messianic Jews,” if they prefer to call themselves that; still Christian.) If we try to tell ’em otherwise, they’ll blow it off as the ramblings of silly gentiles; if they’re zealous or young or somewhere in the “cage stage,” they’ll even fight us over it. And fighting the idea that Jesus is Christ, means they most definitely fall under the definition of antichrist.

Funny thing is, there are a lot of Evangelicals who treat Jews as co-religionists, as slightly wayward brothers. Usually for political reasons; often because they have a distorted idea of the End Times which confuses the present-day state of Israel with the ancient kingdom of Israel. These very same Evangelicals also tend to fear and distrust Muslims. But like I said (even though we’d consider both these religions heretic), religious Jews are antichrists, and religious Muslims aren’t. Just goes to show how politics can do mighty weird things to one’s theology.

The problem with being an antichrist who nonetheless believes in God? Well, God’s a trinity. Jesus is a person of this trinity. If you reject Jesus but claim to follow God, you got a problem.

1 John 2.20-25 KWL
20 You have an anointing from the Holy Spirit and know all these things.
21 I don’t write you because you don’t know the truth already,
but because you know it, and that every lie doesn’t come from truth.
22 What’s the lie, if not the denial, “Jesus isn’t Christ?”
This, who denies the Father and the Son, is an antichrist.
23 Everyone who denies the Son, doesn’t have the Father.
One who confesses the Son, has the Father as well.
24 Have what you heard from the beginning, remain in you.
When what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
you remain in the Father and in the Son.
25 This is the promise God promises us:
Life in the age to come.

Properly, believing Jesus is Lord recognizes there isn’t any other lord. Y’can’t serve two lords, as Jesus pointed out when he talked about God and money. Mt 6.24, Lk 16.13 Prophet Isa ibn Maryam (blessings upon him), as the Muslims call Jesus, can’t be superseded by Prophet Muhammad ibn Abudullah (even more blessings upon him). Jesus can’t be one master of many. Not one guru of a collection we’ve cobbled together. Not an avatar of God, same as the others before him. Not one of seven major prophets. Not a son of God in the same way I’m a son of God, and you’re a child of God. Jesus is unique, and uniquely Lord. He’s to be followed and worshiped the same way God is. It’s because of this uniqueness, Christians came to recognize he is God.

If you imagine you can challenge, reject, or oppose the Son—meaning Jesus—and think you’re still good with God, you’re in for a significant surprise. You can’t oppose the Son without opposing the Father who sent him.

One God. Turns out Jesus is this one God.

If you think of God as your heavenly Father, as many a religion does, I again remind you God’s a trinity. The Father is a person of this trinity, same as the Son. And he is always, indivisibly, on the Son’s side. You can’t divide one being and fight one of the divisions, without fighting the entire being.

Sigh… y’realize every analogy of the trinity is gonna misrepresent God to some degree. But I’m gonna tackle it anyway: If you have a problem with my leg, and would be perfectly happy dealing with me if only I’d get that leg removed, so you take a machete and start hacking it off, you now have a big problem with me. I’m rather fond of that leg. It gets me places.

How much significantly more, then, does the Father not want the Son removed from him—and separately ignored, belittled, hated, rejected. The Son is part of the Father. They’re one, y’know; they’re both the one God.

Second, fighting Jesus opposes the Father’s will. The Son is an instrument of the Father’s will. Who d’you think sent us the Son in the first place? The Son does everything he sees the Father do.

  • The Father wanted humanity saved… and so does the Son, who died for humanity and got us saved.
  • The Father wanted his will for the world revealed. The Son did that.
  • The Father wants us to be his people so he can be our God. The Son’s preparing a place for us where this very thing will be done.
  • The Father wants to give us his kingdom. Guess who’s gonna be its king? Yep, the Son.

Again with an inadequate analogy about body parts: My hands do what I want ’em to. When you cut off my hands because you don’t like what they’re doing, it’s really because you don’t like what I’m doing. Same with the Father and Son: If you object to Jesus, you’re really objecting to the Father. You’re not as tight with the Father as you imagine.

Third, you’re really hobbling your own spiritual growth when you dismiss the Son. No fooling, I’ve heard various Christians claim they wanna study and understand the Father apart from Jesus. They think there are insights to be gained if you divide the persons of the trinity from one another, and analyze them independently.

But it’s like trying to understand me by asking me questions… yet not watching anything I do, listening to anything I say, nor reading anything I write. Instead you’re trying to read between the lines: What am I really “trying to say”? And in the absence of any useful information, you fill in the blanks with yourself: I must think like you do. (Or the opposite of you, if for whatever reason you don’t like me.)

Same with God. We can detect plenty of things about God apart from the revelation of Jesus… but we won’t understand why, how, or even the answer. So we’ll project the rest. Deists claim they can deduce through nature that God exists and he’s good… though I don’t know how they got that through nature, which is chaotic and Darwinian, and in so many ways unlike God. So how’d they conclude God is good? Filled in the blanks with themselves. They want God to be good, so that’s what they started with. Nontheists, in contrast, started with the idea of no God at all… and looked at nature same as the deists, and no surprise, came to all the answers they liked best.

We’re all wrong, and it’s usually because we try to understand the Father without the Son. In the end we know nothing. And we Christians need to make sure we understand this. Jesus is central, vital, to everything we do. He must remain that way. He isn’t just a conduit to the Father: His mind and the Father’s mind are one. Knowing him is knowing the Father. Knowing Jesus is knowing God. Jesus isn’t the means to an end: He is the end. He’s the point. Don’t miss the point.