The Spirit of Truth
They [false prophets] 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.
1 John 4:5-6
When a group of my old friends get together, we talk about things like “shimmy pops” and “the gator car.” Does that make any sense to you? I doubt it. We have our own shared language of inside jokes, phrases, and topics that remind us of the experiences we have had together. Maybe your friends or family have your own “secret language” that only makes sense to your group.
John says that our ability to understand truth is also insider knowledge. Messages from worldly spirits make sense to the world, but the world won’t understand or believe messages from the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit, truth sounds like foolishness. Have you experienced this? Maybe the world has told you to tell a white lie when you know God calls you to tell the truth, even when it could hurt you. Maybe the world has told you greed is good, while the bible calls you to be content in all circumstances.
When John writes, “we are from God,” we means those who preach the true gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit. When John and his fellow messengers of the Gospel teach the people God, the church can trust that it is safe to listen because they “confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” Because of the Spirit of truth we can hear, judge, and understand God’s messengers, even when the world around us won’t listen.
Questions for reflection and discussion
1. What is our “secret language” as followers of Christ?
2. What is the message that we have received but the world cannot understand?