But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.
What a comfort that if we have the Holy Spirit and seek His guidance that we will discern the difference between religious truth and error. No matter how smooth the erroneous speaker’s tongue we will feel unease in our spirit when we are steeped in God’s Word and communing with his Spirit. The word translated “anointing” or “unction” suggests an image of a priest or king being inaugurated or coronated. We as believers are a royal priesthood, and if we walk in the Light as believers we will be able to identify darkness when we encounter it.
In fact John is clear that he isn’t writing the letter because his readers do not know the truth, but because they do know it! Erroneous teaching exists today under the guise of Christianity. Much of it uses Scripture to back itself up. Error often appears plausible. Doctrines such as “health and wealth gospels” may attract vast followers who may for a time find joy in religion. But however plausible false doctrine may seem, error can have no foundation in truth and cannot stand up when the light shines on it.
John was likely speaking of people who admitted that Jesus lived, but who denied that he was the true Messiah. Many in our culture deny that Jesus was the Christ, the only way to salvation, although they may affirm that he was a good teacher. But to deny the Son is to not have the Father. There is but one Way, one Truth, and one Life. No one may approach the Father except through Him.