In the last post we saw that in these uncertain times we must “test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). The standard by which we examine and discern what is good is God’s written Word. The Apostle John specifically put this in the context of the end times.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of 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 of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1 John 4:1-3), emphasis added.
This passage tells us to check to see if the source is a believer who has accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Notice the standard here is Jesus Christ as the Son of God. This is crucial because our contemporary world is trying to tell us that all faiths lead to God or some sort of godlike figure. Only Jesus can save mankind from our fallen, sinful nature.
If you hear people calling this exclusive, that’s okay. All religions are “exclusive” in that they have different ways of becoming “enlightened.” If you are unsure of Christ as the only Way, Truth, and Life (John 14:6), then I highly recommend Lee Strobel’s, The Case for Christ.
When we put these two “tests” together, we first check to see if the source believes in Christ. Then we compare what is being said to what is written in the Bible. This is why every believer needs to read and study the Bible. You can’t use it as the standard if you don’t know what it says. Our relationship with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit is personal. We need to see God’s truths for ourselves.
There’s another reason why John brought up the spirit of the Antichrist. Ultimately, that spirit is Satan, the master deceiver. If he can’t get you to fall for a blatant lie such as all religions lead to God, then he is more than happy to offer up a dish of half-truths. Something may sound biblical, using words found in Scripture, but the application can be wrong. For example, there is much that is being prophesied right now that is part of God’s Word, but it is being applied to the wrong part of God’s timetable. More on that later in this series.
Again, as we saw in the last post with Peter, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the speaker is evil. It only means there are still areas or doctrines that do not yet line up with the Word and God’s prophetic timetable of the plan of redemption. May you have “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:17-19).