What Does 1 John 4:1 Mean?

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.

1 John 4:1(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

We love God because He first loved us, and we demonstrate our love towards Him by obeying His command to love one another as He loved us. This can only be achieved as we abide in Him and He in us, as we rest from our strivings and submit to the leading of His Holy Spirit within.

Our love for one another is proof of our fellowship with the Father, a demonstration of our position in Christ as sons of God, and evidence of the indwelling Spirit of God. But John gives us a stark warning against the many ungodly sprits and false prophets that seek to twist and distort truth: "And no surprise because even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."

At the time of John's writings, the inspired canon of Scripture had not yet been completed, and there were many false teachings and doctrines of demons that sought to distort the gospel and twist the truth of God's Word. This warning to "test the spirits to see if they are from God," was a necessary forewarning for all Christians, for Satan's ploy is to imitate the truth while lacing it with poisonous lies.

Over the years, there has been an explosion of false cults, damnable doctrines, false prophets, and unbiblical teachings which have flooded Christendom, and today this trend is accelerating. But the Word of God stands fast for ever and ever.

There are two 'mindsets' or two 'world-views' in today's society, and there are also two 'spirits': the singular Spirit of Truth which is from God, and the false spirit of error and lies, deception and deceit, which has fractured into a multiplicity of damnable heresies saturating Christendom and infecting the Church.

Those who are grounded in the truth, will have anchored their teaching on the whole counsel of God's Word and will be equipped to discern false teachings. They will  test the spirits to see if they are from the Lord, and nobly study the Scriptures to show themselves approved unto God.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, I pray that I may take this warning seriously and test all the teachings and doctrines I come across against the plumb-line of Your Word of truth. Give me discernment, I pray, and help me to focus my heart and mind on Christ and abide in Him so that I may not be swayed by lying spirits and false teachings. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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