Verse 22a: Who Is The Liar?
Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.
“The liar” is one of the central themes that runs through John’s first apostolic letter:
1st John 1:6 (CSB) If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.
1st John 2:4 (CSB) The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and yet doesn’t keep his commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
1st John 4:20 (CSB) If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1st John 5:10 (CSB) The one who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself. The one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about his Son.
Those who are in the truth walk in fellowship with God according to his holy nature, keeping his commands with faith in God’s testimony about Christ and love for his brothers and sisters. “The liar” does not have fellowship with God according to his holy nature, disobeys Christ’s command through unbelief towards God’s testimony about his Son, and are devoid of love towards Christ’s brothers and sisters.
The same unholy spirit that animates these four lies animates the lie that John is talking about in this verse.
“Who is the Liar?”: we know who the father of all lies is:
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.
Those who lie against the nature and person of Christ carry out the desires of their father’s will by lying against the true nature of Christ. No one who lies against the true nature of our Messiah knows him or comes from him; they are antichrists.
Bede the Venerable wrote the following:
John has already said that every lie is a departure from the truth, but as there are many different kinds of lies, here he is more specific. Denial of Christ is the supreme lie, a lie so great that it is hard to think of anything which can be compared with it. It is a lie which is evident among the Jews, of course, but the heretics, who do not believe in Christ in the right way, are guilty of it as well.
The Antichrist’s great lie is to reject the name by which salvation comes to all people.
- Those who walk in the darkness while claiming fellowship with Christ are lying against the true nature of Christ.
- Those who hate their brothers and sisters in Christ while claiming to love God are lying against the true nature of Christ.
- Those who reject God’s testimony about Christ are lying against the truth nature of Christ.
There is one unholy spirit behind all of these lies: the spirit of the antichrist, who denies both the Father and the Son. And there is one Holy Spirit who lives in those who are from God, know the truth, walk in the light, and have the true testimony of Christ written on the tablets of their heart.