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, which you have heard 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. The one who knows God listens to us; the one who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

1 John 4:1-6

It shouldn’t be surprising that the world listens to worldly ideas and leaders; after all, they are among their own kind. What is surprising, and indeed disheartening, is when Christians begin to mistake the falsehoods of the world for the truth of God. John called upon his readers to challenge the spirits, the basis for every teaching, and put them to the test. There was no teaching that was above questioning because correct teaching could withstand it. There was no tradition too sacred to be exempt from a closer examination. There was no teacher too qualified to be allowed to speak with impunity. The instrument of the Apostles’ teaching and Jesus revelations were, and still are, keen enough to divide the truth from the lie.

Ethan Kirl

Originally published January 6, 2021