1Jn 4:1-3 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And 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.”
It appears from a spiritual standpoint that things were not very different in John’s day than they are today. While it would be nice if we could simply take everyone’s motives at face value that is not the case. We must try (test, examine) the spirits and discern if they are of God. It is not wise for us to believe any man (myself included) just because he claims to be serving God. Look at the walk and listen to the talk. Is the sound and motion moving in the same direction? If they are, is that direction declaring that Jesus is all in all with no need for man’s aid? Is God being honored as worthy of all praise and glory, or is He being taught as more of a genie in a lamp; there to grant wishes if we rub the lamp the right way?
The simple truth is there are still many false prophets gone out into the world. What a comfort is should be to God’s faithful children to know that He gives us discernment when we look to Him. He teaches us a very simple test that He says will allow us to know the Spirit of God. If the spirit is confessing that Jesus is come in the flesh it is of God.
This is not speaking of men declaring with the tongue that Jesus was born into the world and took upon himself a body of flesh. Many false teachers will give voice to this. Remember that the Father and the Son dwell with you (Joh 14:23) and we have a Comforter (the Holy Spirit) that abides with us forever (Joh 14:16). When a spirit that is of God is presented to us then the Spirit of God within us bears testimony. We can gladly receive that teaching because is bears witness with Jesus who dwells in us.
When we hear the truth presented to us there is an acknowledgement of the grace and truth of Jesus Christ in these mortal bodies. That spirit confesses that Jesus is come in the flesh (in these mortal bodies of ours). It is in this manner that we are truly the temple of God because we bear in these mortal bodies the dying of the Lord Jesus to the end that His life is also manifest in us (2Cor 4:10). The spirit of truth is refreshing to us and confesses that Jesus is come in the flesh.
On the other hand, any spirit that denies the power of Jesus to reign in us (does not confess that He is come in the flesh) is antichrist. Again, John stresses that antichrist was already in the world at the time of his letter. Antichrist is not new. Any doctrine that does not acknowledge Jesus as the only begotten Son of God is antichrist. Any doctrine that denies His power to be sufficient for our redemption is antichrist. Any doctrine that denies His power to currently dwell in His children is antichrist.
May we have full confidence in the power of God to reveal His truth in us and spare us from false teachers who deny that Jesus is come in the flesh!