I John: Who Belongs to Whom?

They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (I John 4:5-6)

In reading the Bible, believers in Christ must read observantly. This means that the student of Scripture must be attentive, alert, watchful and perceptive to each word and how it is used in a particular text.

For example, in today’s text the word “world” (κόσμου; kosmou) occurs three times in vs. 5 alone. This is the same word which John used in 2:15-17. It refers to the fallen world system which is disobedient to and rebellious against God.

John says here that the many antichrists belong to and are from the fallen world system. Their state of being and existence is of the world. This is evidenced by the fact that they presently and actively communicate or speak the world’s values and philosophies because it is their values and philosophies. Therefore, the fallen world’s followers believe, positively responds to and accepts the speech of the antichrists. They are in sync with each other.

By contrast, the follower of Christ belongs to and is from God. Those who belong to God believes, positively responds to and accepts the speech of apostolic teaching and preaching. Those who do not belong to God reject biblical teaching and preaching.

There are those within the church, and the culture, who say they are followers of Christ but their speech and lifestyle says otherwise. Their foundational authority is not the Scriptures but rather their own belief system as to what is right and wrong. In short, they are Atheistic Humanists in their worldview.

John says that this is how one can evaluate those who belong to Christ and those who do not. In other words, those who belong to Christ and those who belong to the world.

Dr. Don Carson says, Once again John repeats a word for emphasis; world is the last word in v 4 and it occurs three times in this verse. It is with the world that his opponents are associated: they are from it, they speak from its viewpoint, and it forms their audience. Christians should not be surprised if such people do not listen to them. They are of the wrong party. But Christians do have their hearers. We is emphatic and sets those who are from God in strong contrast with others. There is also a contrast in the hearers; those who are from God are set over against whoever is not from God. Since this is the way the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood (Brown translates, ‘Spirit of Deceit’) are known it is a fair inference that these spirits live in the people previously indicated.”

These many spirits of antichrist which lived in John’s day live in our own. It is important to take note of them and to reject their teaching and philosophy.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!

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