Spiritual Discernment

When the Apostle Paul writes about the gifts of the Holy Spirit in I Corinthians 12, he prefaces his list of the gifts with the following paragraph:

Jesus is Lord

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.  Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accused: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.(I Corinthians 12: 1-3, KJV).

If someone comes to you with a word from God, especially someone you don’t know, and you want to make sure that it is God who is speaking to you, 1 John 4: 1-3 provides a similar test to the ones above.

Jesus Christ Has Come in the Flesh

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth the Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of anti-christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world (KJV).

John’s warning was in regard to Docetism (similar to Gnosticism) one of the earliest heresies in the church.  Docetists taught that Jesus was only a human being, not divine. They believed that the divine could not occupy a human body. John refutes these heresies  not only in his letters but also in his gospel.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1: 1 KJV).

[We see examples in the Tanahk of God appearing in human form (Genesis 18: 1-22) and also angelic form (Judges 13: 1-23).]

Balance

Don’t make the mistake that everything supernatural is from God, and likewise, don’t assume that everything supernatural is from the devil and his minions.  Do not call the things  of God “demonic” (Matthew 12: 22-32).  Sometimes Christians innocently confuse the counterfeit with the real thing and vice versus.  Study the scriptures and pray for discernment and remember to “test” the spirits when in doubt.

 

 

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