What does it mean to “test the spirits”?
A man named Britton posted the following Scriptures without saying anything further:
1 John 4:1-6 NLT
(1) Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.
(2) This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God.
(3) But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.
(4) But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
(5) Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them.
(6) But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.
Britton, to these words, I give a hearty “AMEN!” Except that one must be careful about the words speaking of Jesus coming in a human body. The wording of this translation can mislead, suggesting that if one only believes Jesus Christ came in the flesh 2000 years ago or so, we should know that person has the Spirit of God.
If this is true, then Popes of Rome, Catholic, Orthodox and so many other nominal Christian churches have had the Spirit. One would have to acknowledge that the LDS (Mormons) have the Spirit, Benny Hinn, Billy Graham and so many other false ones have the Spirit. I know by the Lord this simply isn’t true.
I also believe God appeared in the flesh 2000 years ago, coming in the form of man – Jesus Christ/Yeshua HaMashiach. I know this to be perfectly true. If that is how you interpret John’s words, then you would have to acknowledge that I also have the Spirit of God, right? And if John was speaking of Christ coming in a human body 2000 years ago and you believed that was what he meant, I would have to acknowledge that you also have the Spirit of God.
But can that be what John meant? Obviously not. JOHN WAS SPEAKING OF A WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT. He was speaking of Jesus Christ dwelling and coming in a person, a believer, a true Christian. He was speaking of Jesus Christ being in members of His Body, of His followers, the saints, those in Christ that have believed ever since Jesus Christ came at Pentecost when He entered His saints and all believers to this day.
Christ is in me and those who can receive that witness and confess that Christ is in me are of God. Those who can heartily discern and acknowledge that Christ dwells in any person (if He does indeed do so), are of God. If Christ dwells in me and you deny it, you aren’t of God; if you know and confess that He lives in me, you are of God.
Can there be any question that what I say is what John meant?