Truth vs. Error

Sunday, November 23, 2014, 4:44 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “For Our Nation.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 John 4:1-6 (NASB).

Beloved, 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. 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; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

What is Spirit?

What is spirit? First of all, we have the Holy Spirit, who is God the Spirit, the third person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Angels are God’s ministering spirits. Then, there are evil spirits who work for Satan, and who cause all kinds of havoc, distress and evil in the world.

And, then there is the human spirit, which is the breath of life breathed into us by God Almighty, and is the seat of our emotions, intellect, creativity, reasoning, personality (character) and will. The human spirit is also the non-physical part of us which is able to sense and comprehend what is of the Spirit of God. As well, it is the nature of a person. Since we are born with sin natures, it is thus affected by original sin.

It is in our spirits that we think, reason, and believe what we do. As well, if we are truly in Christ, the Holy Spirit of God now dwells within us and his life is to also be lived out through us. So, the question becomes, “Is our spirit under the control of the human nature (or Satan) or is it under the control of God’s divine nature?” “Is what is being lived out through us of God, of the flesh, or of Satan?”

Test the Spirits

So, when it says here that we are not to believe every spirit, but we are to test the spirits, what is it that we are to test? I believe we are to test thinking, ideas, concepts, beliefs, emotions, reasoning, decisions and character against the word of God (the Gospel of our salvation) to see whether or not they agree, in principle, with scripture and with godly character, or whether they stand opposed to what is of God.

We are given a rather simple test here in this passage of scripture, which on the surface may seem to be saying one thing, yet when we look at the meanings of some of these words, and we compare it with other scripture, it helps us to grasp the true meaning of this test. For instance, what does it mean to confess something? Certainly we can make a confession or profession of something audibly with our lips, but not truly believe it in our hearts. So, I don’t believe this is speaking merely of audible confession. This word translated for us here as “confess” means to agree, to voice the same conclusion, to align with (endorse), assent, and to NOT deny” (Source: What this tells me is that this confession is not verbal only, but it is realized by how we live our lives, i.e. if we truly align ourselves with someone, it should be obvious by our lifestyles and our words.

So, just because someone audibly professes faith in Jesus Christ or audibly acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, it does not necessarily mean that person is from God. As we know, Satan is an angel of light, and the antichrist is described in terms of having the appearance of a lamb but speaks like a dragon. Also, scripture teaches us that there will be false brothers (and sisters) among us who are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Another Test

Then, another test is given. “They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.” So, even though they may make a confession of Christ audibly, yet if their manner of speaking, thinking, reasoning and behaving is worldly, and not godly, and the world listens to them and likes them, then they are of the world. So, we need to know what is of this world and we need to know what is of the Spirit of God so we can test these spirits.

The problem here is that so many Christians in today’s culture are so meshed with the world that they are not able to discern what is of the world and what is of the Spirit, because many of them, as well, spend little time in God’s word, in prayer and in obedience to what the Word teaches us. And, thus, many who call themselves believers in Christ are following after these who are antichrist (against and/or in place of Christ) and don’t even know it.

What I mean here is that it is nearly impossible for us to recognize and to test every spirit who is not of God, who is of this sinful world, if we are so engrossed and engaged in the ways of the world ourselves, and if we are not delighting ourselves in the Word of God, meditating on it day and night. We are supposed to come out from the world and be separate, and yet many of these false shepherds of the people today are encouraging Christians to immerse (engross; occupy) themselves in their cultures (worldly philosophies, values, traditions, customs and the like) so that they may connect with the world around them. As well, the church has brought these worldly customs and values into the church so as to attract the world to the church. Yet, we are commanded to be holy as God is holy. To be holy means to be different from (unlike) the world because like God; to be separate from the ways of the world so as to be set apart to God and to his service.

What is Worldly?

So, how do we know if someone is from the world and if they speak as from the world? What are some of the characteristic traits of such a person?

For one, they do many of the same things as the world does, and in many of the same mannerisms. For instance, they regularly lie (includes flattery, white lies), cheat, steal, gossip, overeat, lust, tell off-color jokes, and/or are humored by sexual jokes and innuendos. They hate those who are not like them, and they are cutting and nasty, and insult and mock others who are different from them, or who believe different from them. They are entertained regularly by the acting out of others’ sinful practices – adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lying, cheating, etc., via TV, movies, video games, the internet, music, and the like. They are consumed with self and with self-pleasure and with entertainment. They have a “Me-Me” mentality which looks to gratify self, and excuses this behavior away as though it is something they deserve. They also compromise truth and look for loop-holes in order to make themselves feel better about their sinful behaviors.

The craving for entertainment, the pleasing of human flesh, the compromise of truth, concessions with worldly ways, and the desire to not judge or offend has led the church on a downward spiral away from godliness to living just like the world. They twist, distort, delete and disregard scripture in order to excuse away their way of living. The gospel of Jesus Christ has become more about them than it is about God; more about what they don’t have to do, rather than it is about pleasing and obeying their Lord Jesus Christ in humble submission and surrender to his will for their lives; more about what Christ thinks of them, rather than it being about their minds, hearts, attitudes, etc. being centered on Christ; and it has become, to them, more about what God does for them than it is about honoring, glorifying, and reverencing God by how they live their lives day in and day out.

From God

So, what does it mean to be “from God”? Well, first of all it means we have accepted God’s gift of grace into our lives by faith. We do so by willingly dying with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self, by being transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and by being regenerated of the Spirit of God in him giving us new lives in Christ, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 2:8-10; 4:17-24; cf. Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; Gal. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; & 1 Jn. 1-5).

A true understanding of God’s grace, thus, is that it teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. Jesus Christ gave himself up for us, not just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died “to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (See: Tit. 2:11-14). He died, too, that we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us (See: 2 Co. 5:15).

So, if we are from God, that means we are in Christ by faith, and that the Spirit of God dwells within us, and his life is to be lived out through us via our submission to Christ and our surrender to his will for our lives, i.e. via our cooperation with God’s work of grace in our hearts and lives. It means we no longer live to gratify the passions and desires of our sinful flesh, but we live, in the power and working of the Spirit within us, to please God. It means we hunger and thirst after righteousness, and we want to get to know our Lord intimately and to do what pleases him. It does not mean we live in absolute sinless perfection, but we should regularly and consistently agree with God about any sin which creeps its way into our lives, and we should put those sins to death, i.e. we should eradicate them (cast them away, throw them off) from our lives. And, we should walk in the ways of the Lord. Then, those who are also from God should listen to us, because we should be speaking what is in line with the Word of Truth, and we should not be telling lies.

For Our Nation / An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.