Test the Spirits-1 John 4:1-3

1 John 4:1-3 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

1 Giovanni 4:1-3 «Carissimi, non crediate a ogni spirito, ma provate gli spiriti per sapere se sono da Dio; perché molti falsi profeti sono sorti nel mondo. Da questo conoscete lo Spirito di Dio: ogni spirito, il quale riconosce pubblicamente che Gesù Cristo è venuto nella carne, è da Dio; e ogni spirito che non riconosce pubblicamente Gesù, non è da Dio, ma è lo spirito dell’anticristo. Voi avete sentito che deve venire; e ora è già nel mondo.”

     This is not the first time that John has warned us about false spirits. In 1 John 2:18-27, there is a longer description of the spirit of the antichrist that already is at work to deceive the believer. John gives us the simple test as to true and false prophets (or spirits). It is the test of the incarnation: if they believe and confess Jesus Christ as God incarnate, they are from God. If they don’t, they are part of the spirit of the antichrist.

     The gullibility of believers today is greater than ever before. In addition, this present generation of believers is more biblically illiterate than the previous one. The word “acknowledge”, repeated in verse 2 and 3, is found 3 other times in 1 John as well. It is also translated “confesses”. John was very concerned that the clever manipulation of the mind by false doctrines would lead the believers into error. In Galatians 1:6-7, Paul addresses this same concern by saying, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all.”

    John’s call to every believer is to “test the spirits”. A confession is not a mere theological statement that you recite; it is a personal witness from your heart of who Jesus is, how He came to save the world and your personal identification as the redeemed in Christ according the Scriptures. If the spirits do not comply with this confession, then they are not from God. Let us hold firm to the Word. 1 Corinthians 15:2 says “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”

Pray with me: Lord, there are many voices in this world that will use the cleverness of speech to distort the true message of Jesus. Help me to hold firm to Your Word and encourage others to be strong also in the knowledge of the Word. 

Leave a Reply