“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” These words of the apostle Paul reverberate as John writes, “By this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” Spirits exist; one of truth and those of error. Correct spiritual vision is crucial. In 1 John 3: 24- 4:6, he teaches how to discern the Spirit of truth versus the spirit of error by distinguishing between Christ and anti-Christ, the Greater versus the least, and those who hear versus those who don’t.
Spirit of Christ
“Test the spirits,” he writes. The world is full of false prophets and you must know the difference. First you must ask, does this spirit confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? If the spirit does not confess this truth, it is not of God. You have heard there is an Anti-Christ coming but don’t be fooled. He is already at work in the world propagating error.
Secondly he reminds his readers that this is nothing new. Already these readers had dealings with these spirits of error. John writes, “You are of God and have overcome them.” The Spirit of God which lives within is greater than the spirit in the world. They were children of God. He had guided them into truth and overpowered the spirit of error in them, to make them God’s children.
Those who Hear
Finally, the spirits of the world speak the language of the world. As children of God, our talk contrasts to that of the world. They don’t get it nor can they. When someone understands what we are talking about, the Spirit of Truth is working. Though these spirits fight for the souls of mankind, remember that our fight is not against flesh and blood. The Spirit of truth battles the spirit of error. But God loved the world that He sent Jesus to those who would believe on His name. Discernment is crucial.
In 1 John 3: 24- 4:6, we discern between the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error by distinguishing between Christ and anti-Christ, the Greater versus the least, and those who hear versus those who don’t.