Saturday, September 29, 2012
1st John Chapter 4 Part 3
4:4-6 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
John continues in this passage to contrast his spiritual children who are of God to the false teachers who do not have the Holy Spirit, as we have seen from verses one through three. He writes that these Christians have overcome them; that is, our faith in Christ triumphs over the false doctrines of men whose spirits are motivated by worldly ambitions. These are the false teachers John already mentioned earlier in his epistle, that went out from the church but were never truly part of them, 1st John 2:19. The reasoning is obvious: greater is the Holy Spirit who dwells in us through faith than the spirit of the antichrist that typifies the false teachers who spread malicious falsities regarding the purpose and person of Jesus Christ.
The false teachers, bereft of the Spirit, speak to an unsaved world and therefore vouchsafe an audience eager to hear their perverted message, supposedly derived from Scripture, Jude 1:16, 19. These teachers associate godliness with gain and therefore have no compunctions about seizing preeminence in the church, 1st Timothy 6:5; 3rd John 1:9. Even Jesus’ half brothers were of the same opinion, John 7:3-4.
John likewise writes that anyone genuinely of God hears God’s message conducted through His children. The primary reason that someone professing faith in Christ rejects Biblical doctrine is due to the fact that they are not of God, John 8:42-43. Paul warned that a time would come that the very church of Christ would no longer hear sound doctrine but “heap up” false teachers that would only tell them what they wished to hear, 2nd Timothy 4:3-4. Such a time has come like never before as mega churches with thousands of congregants teach half-truths warped from Scripture to fit the mold of a seeker-sensitive and politically correct “Christianity” that is more interested in advancing worldly goals than seeing the kingdom of God come in power to save both lost souls and redeem this present evil world.
Hereby, says the apostle, we may know the difference between the spirit of truth who comes from Christ (John 16:13) and the spirit of error that harbors every pseudo Christian teaching actually opposed to the gospel that saves. Such teachers do not serve God but their own reputation and ambition, Romans 16:17-18; like Diotrephes or the “most eminent apostles” Paul vehemently opposed in Corinth, 3rd John 1:9-10; 2nd Corinthians 11:2-5. These teachers bring in the spirit of error and create both schisms and confusion in the church of Christ. It is their task to attempt to create a schism, so they may lead the unwary away after them, diverting them from Jesus to the false teacher in question, thereby setting up an idol in the form of this single charismatic person who demands leadership and authority. In this regard especially this is why John refers to such men as having the spirit of the antichrist, who longs to be worshiped as God, and one day he shall be until the true God comes to destroy him, 2nd Thessalonians 2:4, 8.