Verse 21: No Lie From The Truth
I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.
The Holy One’s anointing is John’s confidence in writing this epistle, because he knows they have been taught the truth by the Holy Spirit.
“But because you do know it”: their need was not to hear something “new” and “fresh”, but to have their hearts stirred up by way of reminder:
2nd Peter 3:1-2 (CSB) Dear friends, this is now the second letter I have written to you; in both letters, I want to stir up your sincere understanding by way of reminder, 2 so that you recall the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior given through your apostles.
Those who have the anointing of the Holy have no need to hear “new” and “fresh” words because they have the Holy Spirit inside them. Rather, they need to be reminded of the words previously spoken by the apostles and prophets of our Lord.
Being content to stay in the word of God is one of the signs of a healthy spiritual life; needing something “new” and “fresh” is a sign that something is wrong and the person isn’t content with the anointing of the Spirit. We need to hear sound Bible teaching to stir us up by way of reminder, but so often we are fed with distractions instead.
“Because no lie comes from the truth”: it is self-evident and unnecessary to say by itself that no lie comes from the truth. John’s meaning is that no lie comes from Christ, who is himself Truth (John 14:6), demonstrating that those who believe lies about him do not know him or come from him.
The gnostic revelation that was being promoted in John’s day was exposed as being alien to Christ by the lies contrary to Christ’s nature and character that it promoted.
The central point being made in this text is that no “erroneous spiritual revelation” comes from Christ. Instead, revelations that are contrary to the truth come from the devil:
John 8:44 (CSB) You are of your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.
This draws on the same concept as the Deuteronomic test of old:
Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (CSB) You may say to yourself, ‘How can we recognize a message the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the Lord’s name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.
One of the most lethal deceptions threatening the Church today is the idea that prophets today can speak both truth and error at the same time; that those who are led by the Holy One’s anointing are lead in both truth and error. This has opened the door to the “doctrines of deceiving spirits” and is causing many souls to be taken captive by deception.
The unequivocal truth is that no lie comes from Christ. Consequently, those who prophesy false revelations cannot come from him either.