Lent Devotional: 1 John 4:1-6
by Jonathan Haefs
1 John 4:1-6
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. 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, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
People have all sorts of ideas about Jesus… most of them are actually quite positive. Even people who hate Christianity will often express a kind of respect for Jesus.
He was a great teacher, a good man, a philosopher, a moralist, a revolutionary, a progressive, a… fill in the blank.
Many religions, sects, and cults will even reference Jesus as an influence of figure within their belief system. With all this talk about Jesus… how are we to know who is telling the truth. How are we to know who actually knows Jesus.
“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.”
The apostle John tells us that the Holy Spirit of God, who inspired him and the other authors of Scripture, confirms the confession of Scripture… that Jesus is the Christ in the flesh… fully God and fully man. In other words, we are only speaking truth about Jesus in so far as what we sign aligns with the testimony of Scripture.
I don’t have the authoritative word about Jesus… nor do you… nor does any other religions, sect or cult. Jesus has the authoritative word about himself, and he has given it through his Spirit in the written Word. To deny Christ as he has revealed himself is have a spirit that at its root is anti-Christ.
It doesn’t matter what positive things we say about Jesus… we are actually speaking against him if we deny the reality of who he is… God in the flesh. And it is this Christ who dwells within us, empowering us to overcome the very world that denies him!
We need not fear any religion, sect, cult, or even secularism. We need not fear what anyone says against Jesus. No matter how powerful the world may seem, Christ has already conquered it through his death and resurrection… and this conquering Christ dwells in you! Therefore, you have already overcome the world too!
People have all sorts of ideas about Jesus… but the only idea about him that matters is the one that is true… he is God and he lives in you!