Up to now, the tests in 1 John have been for us. We have been given tests to demonstrate whether or not Christ really lives in us and if we are really following after Him. Now, the tables are turned.
Testing the spirits is a vital operation that we must carry out constantly. In an age of tolerance, we are pressured into accepting everything that comes our way. Whether through social issues that arise or through spiritual teaching, discerning the Truth can be very difficult. Subtleties lie around every corner.
John tells us that the bare minimum standard we must require is that the teacher fully affirm the diety and humanity of Christ. If a teacher sounds good, appeals to the masses and gives glory to “god,” that is not enough. Where do they stand on the issue of Christ? If they waffle on any aspect of the person of Christ, they are to be rejected.
It goes further than this, though, because there are some who will claim the deity of Christ and get everything John is requiring here and still be misleading teachers. For instance, there are some Christian leaders, denominations, etc., that will align very clearly with the Bible’s description of Christ, yet change other parts of the Gospel: “Yes, Jesus is fully God and fully man. Yes, He came to die in our place, was physically born, killed, resurrected and ascended…but, He’s not the only way to salvation.” Bam! There it is, and they were sounding so good.
Some preach a health and wealth gospel which is not in line with Jesus’ teachings. Some prove their own social agenda by denying that parts of Scripture are relevant today. Others will deny the authenticity and even the inspiration of some writers (Paul is a popular target) because he doesn’t support their claim. Watch out for these people. Test the spirit!