In 1 John 4:1, we are instructed to test the spirits to see whether or not they are from God. But what does it mean to test the spirits? And how do we distinguish between the Spirit who is from God and a spirit who is not?
Testing the Spirits
1 John 4:1-6 identifies two different spirits. The first is called “a spirit from God,” “the Spirit of God,” and “the Spirit of Truth.” The second is identified as “the spirit of a false prophet,” “the spirit of antichrist,” and “the spirit of falsehood.”
The first is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, who leads us into the truth. The Holy Spirit will never deceive us or otherwise lead us astray. Instead, he will always lead us into the truth and a closer walk with God.
The second spirit that John mentions is a deceitful spirit, a fallen spiritual being working through a false prophet or teacher whose purpose is to lead us astray from the truth.
This spirit may look and sound very appealing (2…