The Babes

 •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The babes know the Father. They may not, like the fathers, have learned the vanity of this world, and that Christ is everything; and they may not, like the young men, have known conflict with the wicked one; but they have known the Father.
We have already seen that the babes, in common with all Christians, have forgiveness of sins. But there is more than this; they are also in the enjoyment of a present and known relationship. They are children of God, and have the spirit of adoption in their hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
This is no matter of attainment. It is not something gained after years of Christian experience. It is the very starting point of Christianity. The youngest babe in Christ has the forgiveness of sins, possesses the Holy Spirit, and knows the Father. Without these no one has entered upon the ground of Christianity. Christianity is characterized by this great fact: redemption has been accomplished through the death and resurrection of Christ, who has gone to the Father, and sent down the Holy Spirit to take His place in and with believers, and to set them consciously in the position and relationship of a glorified Christ on high. These babes are in this position and in these relationships. They are in Christ, and His relationships are theirs, and they have the Holy Spirit as the power of it all, and as the divine source of all spiritual intelligence. In all this there is no difference between a babe and a father. They all have the same position and the same relationships in Christ. And this, surely, is most blessed.
Now we have seen that the great danger to which the young men are exposed is to be found in the allurements of the world. As yet this is not the special danger of the babes. One who has just been delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of God’s Son, cares little for the world. The children of Israel, standing on the shores of the Red Sea which they had just crossed, and where they had seen their enemies engulfed in death under the judgment of Jehovah, would not have been easily persuaded to return to the land of bondage where they had groaned in “anguish of spirit” under the lash of the taskmaster. The rest they now enjoyed was too fresh and sweet for that. But after they had in a measure forgotten the rigors and hardships of that cruel bondage, and grown weary of the wilderness journey, and loathed the bread of heaven, then they lusted after the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic of Egypt, and were ready to turn back.
So it is now. One who has groaned under Satan’s taskmasters, making bricks without straw, when set free from this bondage by the power of God, enjoys the sweetness of liberty too well to return at once to the world. While the heart overflows with praise to God, singing, “The LORD,... hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation” (Ex. 15:1-21Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. (Exodus 15:1‑2)). the world has no charms. Its cruel bondage is remembered, and the sweetness of freedom is enjoyed, and the heart turns away from the world to find its satisfaction in the deliverer, looking on to a habitation with Him. “He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation” (Ex. 15:22The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. (Exodus 15:2).)
But the babes have their special danger as well as the young men. One thing that marks a babe is the readiness with which it receives everything that people say. So with a babe in Christ as to spiritual things. They are simple and artless in their reception of truth, and eager to increase in knowledge; and the enemy lays hold of this very thing as an occasion to seduce them, and lead them away from Christ.
Their great danger lies in their being seduced by false teachers. Satan seduces the young men through the world, and the babes through antichrists.
The Apostle affectionately warns these simple babes of their danger. “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:1818Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. (1 John 2:18)).
The antichrist is coming. He will come according to the unbelief of the Jews, denying that Jesus was the Christ, and so will come in his own name, not in the name of the Father, as Jesus said to the Jews: “I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (John 5:4343I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. (John 5:43)). When he comes, it will not be at the first as denying that there is a Christ, but as claiming to be the Christ Himself, until he has seduced his victims; and then the mask will be thrown off, and he will deny the Father and the Son. This is the true mark of the antichrist. He will be a liar from the first, because he will deny that Jesus is the Christ, as the Apostle says, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?” (1 John 2:2222Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)). Afterward he will deny both the Father and the Son, as the Apostle again says, “He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” This gives his full character when all is unmasked. He will come also with terrible satanic power, by which he will darken men’s souls, and lead them into open apostasy and rebellion against God. He will exalt himself above all that is called God or is worshiped, and sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. He will get his power from the dragon, so that his coming will be “after the working of Satan,” and this “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.” He will make fire come down from heaven in the sight of men to deceive them; and he will make an image to the beast (the imperial head of the ten kingdom confederacy and raised up by the power of Satan), and to this image he will give breath so that it should speak, and cause the death of all who refuse to do it homage. Thus he will delude men, and lead them to believe that he is God, with power to create, and work miracles. But the wonders he performs are “lying wonders,” by which he will seduce the mass of the Jews and apostate Christendom after the true saints have been caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Men receive not the love of the truth that they may be saved; and for this reason God will send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie, and that all may be damned who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2; Rev. 13). All this display of satanic power, and malignant hatred and opposition to God, will take place in the closing days of what the Apostle calls “the last time.”
Now the little children had heard that antichrist was coming; but the Apostle would have them understand that they were exposed to danger of a similar nature — a seducing power of Satan leading men into apostasy. “Even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:1818Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. (1 John 2:18)). The presence of these proved that it was already “the last time.” Failure had come into Christianity. Seducing spirits were leading men into apostasy. This would culminate at the end in the great apostasy under the man of sin, which will bring down the judgment of God on apostate Jews and on apostate Christendom. Thus we may recognize the last time. Antichrists had gone out from among Christians. They were not true Christians, and never had been, else they would have remained. Their going out manifested their true character. They were apostates, enemies, and liars, because they denied that Jesus was the Christ. This is the spirit of antichrist, and so the Apostle calls them “antichrists.” They might not deny openly the Father, but they denied the Son, and “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” They were seducers of the people of God, as all false teachers are.
But the babes in Christ are not without resource in the presence of these false teachers. Their going out from among Christians might tend to shake the faith of the babes, and their subtle arguments might seem difficult to answer, but the babes have an unction from the Holy One, and know all things. They know the truth, and that no lie is of the truth. The anointing which they have received abides in them, and they need not that any man teach them. They have that in them by which they are able to discern the truth, and reject all that is opposed to it. It is not that they do not need teaching, for the Apostle is very carefully teaching them in this very scripture. But they do not need man’s teaching. The Holy Spirit teaches them, and fortifies them against false doctrine. God may use an instrument, but the teaching must be divine. There is the action of the Holy Spirit, both in the instrument and in the one who is taught. “The same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie.” It is by the Holy Spirit that the teaching is given and received. He is in the babes, and is truth, and is no lie; thus the babes can discern the truth, and detect what is false. Weak though they may be, the Holy Spirit is able to keep them from the seductions of the enemy. But this connects itself with another most important principle; namely, that of cleaving to the truth we have already received — the truth in which the Person of Christ has been revealed to our souls.
“Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father” (1 John 2:2424Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. (1 John 2:24)).
We have received Christ the Son of God in receiving the truth, for He is the truth and He is that which was from the beginning. If this abides in us, we abide in the Son and in the Father. There is living and abiding dependence on Christ — cleaving to Him as our life, and as the sum of all truth and of all blessing. The Holy Spirit — the anointing — is the power of all this, connecting Himself with the truth in our souls, and at once challenging every lie that seeks entrance. This then is the security of the babes against false teaching. We are to cleave to Christ, and give heed to the teaching of the Holy Spirit, who connects Himself with the truth in us, and resists all that is not of the truth, who “is truth, and is no lie” (1 John 2:2727But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (1 John 2:27)). By Him we know the truth, and that no lie is of the truth.
The Lord keep us, beloved brethren, in these last and closing days, when error in every form is stalking abroad like a noisome pestilence, before which many fall as victims. May we be content with the truth, and the truth alone. All that is not of the truth is a lie, and of Satan, the enemy of all truth. If we have the truth, we have Christ, the Son, and in Him the Father; and we have the Holy Spirit as the power of it in our souls. What would we have more? Is not this enough until we reach the glory itself? Even there Christ will be all.