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Contending For The Faith

What is the Test?

1 John 4:6
We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
NKJV

John's test on how to recognize false doctrines and false teachers calls for Christians to learn their Bible and to act together, as the body of Christ. The word translated "hear" in this verse is a word which means to give heed to, to understand, to listen attentively. John's point is that we must deal with the spirits by understanding who we are and what it is we believe.

If we know God, we understand Who He is and what His Word means to us. This will never be complete understanding, but we will possess sufficient spiritual maturity to be able to discern His word, the "spirit of truth," from the teachings promoted by Satan, "the spirit of error." We may not catch all of the incorrect teachings, but we will catch the important ones.

This points to another truth of John's writings. Christians will always disagree about "non-salvation" doctrines. An easy example of this is the proper interpretation of the tribulation. Are you pre-millennial, post-millennial, or amillennial? Do you care? Or, as another example, what are your views on the proper method of baptism?

To John, the major point of contention is the character and identity of Jesus. Who is Jesus? Who do you see Him as being? Is He the Son of God? Did He come to earth in the flesh to die on the Cross to provide the bridge back to God and salvation? Is this the only basis of your salvation?

It is these major doctrines that John sees as important. So for John, spiritual warfare is:

 

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