The Spirit of Truth

1John 4:4-6 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.  They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world hear them. We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God hears not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 

‘You are of God, little children, and have overcome them’ we can know this by the following: personal fellowship (1:3-7; 2:13); in fullness of joy in the heart (1:4); in keeping His commandments (2:3; 3:22); when walking even as He walked (2:6; 1Pet. 2:21-23); in love of the brethren (2:9-11; 3:10-19, 23; 4:7-21; 5:1); overcoming the world and satan (2:13-14; 5:4, 18); in the hatred of the world (2:15-17); being one with Christians (2:19); in Holy Spirit anointing (2:20-27); knowing the truth that sets free (2:21; John 8:32-36); acknowledging God and Christ (2:22-25); doing righteousness (2:29; 3:7-10; 5:1-4, 18); by purifying ourselves (3:3); being born again (2:29; 3:9; 5:1-18); cleansing from sin (1:7-9; 3:5-10); in freedom from condemnation (3:20-24); the indwelling Spirit (3:24; 4:4, 13); in faith (2:23; 5:1, 10); by confessing Christ (4:14-15); and receiving Him (5:10-13; John 1:12); through answered prayer (3:21-22; 5:14-15).

‘Little children’ a term used nine times in this epistle (2:1, 12, 13, 18, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4, 21). It is used elsewhere only in John 13:33 and Galatians 4:19. There are four stages of Christian experience: infants; newborn (1Jn. 2:12); little children; those able to walk and talk (1Jn. 2:13); young men; those grown to the prime of life and no longer tossed about like children by fallacies (1Jn. 2:13-14); fathers; those who are matured in the Lord (1Jn. 2:13-14).

‘Greater is he that is in you’ refers to the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer (3:24; 4:4, 13). ‘He that is in the world’ this refers to satan (2:13-14; 3:8-10; 5:18; Eph. 2:2; 4:27; 6:10-18).

‘They are of the world; therefore speak they of the world, and the world hear them’ the Greek word for world is kosmos which means the order, behaviour, fashion, and government of this world system (Matt. 4:8; 13:22; Eph. 2:1-3; Jas. 4:4; 2Pet. 1:4; 2:20) and the things that make up the world system of evil and rebellion against God. So, they are of this worldly system that will pass away, but the man who does not conform to it abides forever (2:15-17; John 15:18-19; Jas. 4:4).

‘Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error’ the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13) and the spirit of error is satan (Matt. 13:19; 2Cor. 4:4; 11:14-15; 1Tim. 4:1-2).

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