By Stan Brown
I John 4:6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
As I woke up this morning and looked at the news, I cannot remember a time when chaos reigned as much as it does today. A pandemic is affecting everything around me. People we know have died. A hundred-year hurricane is attacking the gulf coast. Racism still exists in our country. Hatred abounds all around us. Hatred can never defeat hatred. Martin Luther King said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”. I am in no way making any political statements here. I am rather examining a passage which clearly defines that which is from God and that which is not from God. As believers we must make sure that we are on God’s side. Believers are not always on God’s side else John would not have needed to write this epistle.
So, what is God’s side? John, obviously writing before the New Testament was completed, tells his readers that they must listen to the voice of the apostles. Today, we have the voice of the apostles written down in words in the New Testament. John speaks of the one who knows God. For John, knowing God is more than having a passing acquaintance with Him. It involves a deep intimate relationship that includes walking with Him on a daily basis. It involves listening to what He says through His apostles and His word. It involves love that supports God’s holiness. In Old Testament times the love of God reigned as His patient grace gave His people untold chances to return to Him until their sin demanded His response resulting in expulsion from the land of Promise. Yet, in spite of or perhaps because of people’s refusal to obey Him, He sent the ultimate example of love into the earth when Jesus died and rose again that we might live forever in the light of His holiness. So, what is our responsibility that we might demonstrate that we listen to Him? John uses the word love forty-five times in this epistle. It is clear that we must love. Note: there is no love without holiness. The death of Christ was necessitated by a departure from holiness that is called sin.
Just as God responded to sin with the greatest demonstration of love ever given, we must respond with love equally to all those around us. God in His holiness will ultimately bring judgment but that is His prerogative. We must keep on loving the unlovable while never denying His holiness. This is how the spirit of truth and the spirit of error are distinguished. There is only one truth and that is God’s truth. The spirit of error belongs to Satan. We must be known as those who stand for God’s truth in love. The spirit of error will always condemn the spirit of truth but we must stand where God stands. In this day where uncertainty surrounds us, we have the certainty of God’s word to undergird us. Let us together reach out to one another and the world with the brilliance of God’s love. Let it be known that we belong to Him.
Praise forever His Holy Name!!!!