1 JOHN 4:4-6

“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.”

1 John 4:4-6 NLT

The temptation in this passage has often been to create an “us vs them” interpretation. And, it is easy to draw circular reasoning out of the text to imply that if someone doesn’t listen to you then they never would’ve in the first place. But we have to remember that the context entering into 1 John 4 is not a circular one. John has already qualified that the “them,” in the equation, is not those who disagree with Christians, but those who disagree with Christ. They claim Christ while rejecting his body, historicity, or application of his will for us. It is those people against, us, who affirm his body, his historicity, and his commands. John notes that speech is very important here. This is because Jesus taught him that “it is not what goes into a man that defiles him but what comes out.” Those who are not aligned with Christ can be seen by their speech. Their speech comes from a different worldview. It is one that is lesser and impotent. We must listen to our own speech. What worldview does it come from? Does it affirm Christ? We need to conform our will to his, even in our speech. This is an important and often overlooked facet of love in one another.

This post first appeared at JoshMcGary.com

Published by Josh McGary

MY NAME IS JOSH MCGARY. First, I am a Pastor of a small church in Portland, Oregon named Aletheia Bible Fellowship. We call it ABF. I have been a pastor there for the better part of 20 years. I am very eclectic. What I love, I love loudly and immersively. I have notable collections of toys, funko pops, and vinyl. I also infamously love pop culture, comic books, technology, the arts, psychology and philosophy. https://sleek.bio/joshmcgary

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