I’m thinking this morning of the marketplace of ideas available to the believer. Everything from full volume books . . . to concise and targeted blogs . . . to 140 character tweets. Or, if reading isn’t our thing, then we can wire ourselves to audio feeds and subscribe to any number of podcasts . . . or, if we need the visual link to stay focused, we can “go video” and stream endless teachers onto our screens. This is brought to mind as I continue reading through John’s letter. Surely, given the number of voices vying for a place on truth’s stage, believers have never had more cause to heed John’s exhortation to test the spirits.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for 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. (1John 4:1-3a ESV)
While, as believers, we shouldn’t necessarily have a critical spirit, we should possess a critical eye . . . a fine tuned sense of discernment . . . a well calibrated radar that picks up error. And at the core of that calibration is the person of Jesus Christ. The litmus test for truth is where one stands on the person and work of Jesus, the Messiah.
Jesus Christ has come in the flesh . . . speaking of His deity, God manifest in flesh . . . Immanuel, God with us. Come in perfect holiness . . . no spot, nor blemish. Come in perfect submission . . . focused solely on the Father’s will. Come to be the once for all sacrifice . . . come as the Lamb of God sent to atone for the sins of the world through the shedding of His blood.
Come to be the firstborn from among the dead . . . with power to lay down His life and to take it up again . . . resurrected on the third day. Come to ascend into heaven . . . our victorious Savior . . . our perfect High Priest . . . to ever make intercession for His own. Come to come again . . . even now preparing a place for His own . . . patiently waiting the fulfillment of His promise to gather His own to Himself.
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matt.16:13) That’s the test.
And our “error sensors” grow dull if we are not pursuing the Christ who has come in the flesh . . . if we are not continually abiding with the Son who is one with the Father . . . if we are not feeding on His Word . . . if we are not seeking first His kingdom.
In the midst of all the voices, that God’s people would test the spirits.
By His grace . . . for His glory . . .