Yesterday I encouraged you from 1 John 4:1 not to believe everything you hear from a “spiritual” sounding person. Instead, check everything next to Scripture:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
Today let’s look at a really specific way to test whether a spirit is from God or not. John tells us:
“By this you know the spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God” (1 John 4:2–3).
At the particular time John wrote this, false teachers were in the church were saying Jesus only appeared to be human, but really wasn’t. My ESV study Bible explains it like this:
“Anyone can talk about Jesus and even believe that he lived on earth, as other religions, cults, and philosophies often affirm. But unless such people affirm both the full deity and the full humanity of Jesus, they are not truly ‘confessing Jesus.'”
In fact, Nancy Leigh DeMoss was just talking about this last Friday as she was recording some new radio recordings. She pointed out there are many modern-day religions that deny the deity of Christ:
- Unitarians believe that Jesus is “a son of God” but not “the Son of God.”
- Mormons believe that Jesus was created by God and is a “brother” to Satan. They say Jesus was once just a man who lived on another planet. He eventually progressed to be equal to God and came to colonize planet earth with “gods to be,” or humans.
- Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus Christ was only a perfect man, but not God in the flesh. They say that prior to His earthly life, He was Michael the Archangel: first in rank among the created angels.
- Muslims believe that Jesus was a virgin-born prophet, but not God.
So if a Jehovah’s Witness ever knocks on your door and seems to agree with you about Jesus, know they’re attaching different meanings to their words.
If you’re like me, you may be tempted at this point to think, “I give up! I’m not smart enough to discern all these false spirits, and I wouldn’t be able to stand up to a Jehovah’s Witness in a debate.”
I’m not that good, either. But consider this a wake-up call—your personal reminder that God’s Word alone is truth and that you and I need to get to know His Word inside and out. (This is also another reason it’s so important to be in a church where the Bible—and Christ—are held in high esteem. Ideally, our pastors will be seeking to guard us from false teachers and spirits, too.)
So the next time you read a blog on LYWB.com or hear a sermon at your church, pull out your Bible and follow along. Ask questions. Ask God to help you test the spirits to know if you’re hearing the Spirit of truth or the spirit of error. You can do it, girl!