I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. - 2 John 1:7Calling someone a deceiver or antichrist does not really roll off the tongue easily and seems very harsh and strong. I could not imagine calling someone to their face such a thing without a grave sense of God calling me to defend His truth. But this is what the Apostle of "love" St. John said by the Holy Spirit to those who were denying the doctrine of the incarnation. Or more simply put, the belief that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary bodily.There were some in the early gatherings of believers who would confess belief in Jesus Christ the Son of God but would deny an aspect of his birth by "the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary" as the Heidelberg Catechism states. They would not only deny this by various objections but ended up leaving the original Church and started their own assemblies with various other strange beliefs. Gnosticism which was a catch phrase for many spurious teachers, stated essentially that all matter was evil and therefore Christ was spiritual only and had no physical body. The Marcionites spoke of Christ's body as a mere appearance and the Manichees stated that he was endued with heavenly flesh. All these groups originated from what is said in the passage, "have gone out into the world." They left the Church and its belief and went out into the world as essentially deceivers or those making up their own believes apart from the Apostles teachings.Now the question comes to our mind, 'Why such a big deal about the incarnation and all these specifics?' Let us think for a moment that if we look at human history from God's point of view what is the most important event? Of course it is the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To God this is a big deal and what He calls the gospel message centers around these elements as the most important days in humanity. Even our modern human time is based mostly on the death of Christ (AD). So the very details of these events are gravely important and should give us a reverence and solemnity towards them all.The Belgic Confession states towards the incarnation of Christ: "born of the seed of David according to the flesh; a fruit of the womb of the virgin Mary; born of woman; a branch of David; a shoot from the stump of Jesse; sprung from the tribe of Judah; descended from the Jews according to the flesh; of the seed of Abraham." As Scripture declares: "He appeared in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16). An early Church Father wrote: "And God the Word was truly born of the Virgin, having clothed Himself with a body of like passions with our own" (Ignatius 30–107).In a day of compromise, and lack of knowing what we really believe we can bodly declare with the Apostles Creed: "Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary." This very Christ was very man and dwelt in our midst, trampling down death for us all, Hallelujah!
_________________SI Moderator - Greg