The Force of the Name of Christ; Dealing With False Doctrine; Names of Christ

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
As to "the Christ,"there is no ground whatever for making the Christ the church. Nine-tenths of the cases where we have Christ in English, it is the Christ in Greek. Christ was not properly a name, but a title, meaning (the same as Messiah in Hebrew), in English 'anointed': "Jesus is the Christ"; but it very soon became a name, but the personal name is Jesus. The only place out of, I suppose, hundreds, where the Christ is used for the principle of union among saints, is 1 Corinthians tantamount to 'so it is in the case of the Christ.' It never means properly the body, but is used for a name which brings us into relationship with Him, because the anointed One is the Head of all the anointed ones. (See John 1:3333And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. (John 1:33).) Hence the change in Rom. 8:1111But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11), where Jesus is used as the personal name, and Christ not at all as the body, but as the Head of those who will be raised, because of Him.
Your other question is more difficult to answer, as the objection is more subtle. The special object of John's charges was those who denied the real humanity of Christ, which was done in those days. But the apostle enlarges the thought in speaking more generally of the doctrine of the Christ (2 John 99Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. (2 John 9)); the christian doctrine of the Messiah. Still the subject here is the person of Christ, more especially as characterizing the Antichrist. (Compare 1 John 4:2, 32Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:2‑3).) Only in neither is it "that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh," but confess "Jesus Christ come in the flesh." But this is not all the instruction of scripture on the subject. Supposing a person denied the Holy Ghost for instance: and damnable heresies are brought in privily, and we have to see whether the doctrine of the Christ is involved in them, and this is often the case. But in 2 Tim. 2, those who were overthrowing the faith of some, only said that the resurrection was past already, and the apostle calls on the faithful to purge themselves from them. (2 Tim. 2:17-2117And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymeneus and Philetus; 18Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 19Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. 21If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. (2 Timothy 2:17‑21).) It is no charity to set people at ease who are teaching or receiving what "eats as a canker." I make a difference. With a teacher I could have nothing to do. It is the duty of positive testimony against him, "knowing such are perverted," if his doctrine touches "the faith of God's elect." With those misled I can make a difference; those deliberately in it I should avoid, they support the evil and sustain it; some are merely misled, and while I had hope of recovering them, I might not wholly repulse them, but evil communications corrupt good manners; it is danger to one's own soul to have to say to what the devil teaches, unless called upon by God to meet it. I should not dare to do so. And even with those misled, it is no kindness to go on as if nothing was the matter, when they are really led of the enemy. I do not want to set them at their ease there. As to the word "God speed," it is associating oneself with their work. He is speaking of those "deceivers" who were "gone out into the world," and going about with this false doctrine; and wishing him well on his journey, was associating oneself with them in it. Such I would not receive into my house. I trust I have made plain to you what I desired to say from the word. It is one of the great evils of the day to the truth. "Whom I love," says the apostle, "in the truth" and for the truth's sake. None urge this point more than John, whom men count as the apostle of love.
Your affectionate brother in Christ.