1 John 3:24–4:6 (NKJV)
John has just finished speaking of the need for Christians to operate in love and truth. He spoke of keeping God’s commandments and loving one another. Now he moves into a discussion of keeping the commandments and testing the spirits.
24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.1 John 3:24
John says here that one of the identifying marks of a Christian is that he or she keeps the commandments of God. This shows that the believer abides in God, and that God abides in the believer. This connection is made possible by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to the believer to lead, guide, and direct that same believer into an abiding relationship with His Creator.
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.1 John 4:1-3
In order to maintain a solid relationship with God, it is imperative that the believer walk in discernment. John instructs that the believer should not believe every spirit with which he or she comes in contact. Instead every Christian should test the spirits to see if they are of God. Many false spirits, evil spirits, and their false prophets roam the earth, looking for gullible souls to deceive. The way to discern between the true spirits and evil spirits is how they treat Christ. If a spirit confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, then that spirit is from God. If the spirit does not confess that truth, then it is not of God. The spirit of antichrist has come into the world, and is present to deny Jesus Christ.
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.1 John 4:4-6
John then gives the great encouragement known by those who love the world. He tells the reader that the children of God have overcome these spirits of antichrist, “because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” What a powerful statement! No matter the circumstance or situation you face, God within you is greater than the circumstance in which you struggle. He is greater! The spirits of evil, though, are of the world. They speak as the world. They are heard by the world. We, though, are of God, and those who know God hear us. Those who are not of God do not hear us. This is also a criterion whereby we can know if a spirit is of God or of the world. Don’t be intimidated. Do not receive the fearful lies of the world. Stand upon the truth of the word of God and walk in the power of His Holy Spirit. You will be victorious. You will be an overcomer. You will win. Plain and simple: the child of God that walks in faith will be successful in spite of the opposition of the enemy. Greater is He. Greater is He. Greater is He!