Opening our minds requires looking beyond our customary boundaries. But, everything needs to run through the filter of God’s Spirit and His Word.
4 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
How do we test the spirits? We compare them to Jesus. What we know about Jesus determines how we compare what we hear and read. For instance, John says to see if what we are testing confesses that Jesus came from heaven and God to earth in human form. Is He Emmanuel, which means, “God with us?” Or, do they posit that Jesus was a man who became God through righteous acts and the sacrifice of his life? It’s a big deal foundationally, because Jesus was God on earth who gave His life for us. We couldn’t save ourselves, so He did it for us. God is good, all the time. We need not worry about His wrath because He stepped in and took the consequence of our sin on Himself, i.e. death. There IS no wrath (spiritual death) for those who trust Jesus.
To take the erroneous position to its end would be to say that we all can save ourselves if we live right and give our lives for something good. Sounds “Old Testament,” doesn’t it? What did Paul have to say about that?
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. Romans 3:20
We can’t be saved by our works, so their argument doesn’t hold water. Jesus (God) coming to free us from the wages of sin, which is death (Romans 6:23); this is what we believe and in Whom we place our trust.
Tomorrow, I will share with you what I am learning by reading Jeremiah from both the Septuagint and the Masoretic texts at the same time. Neat stuff! In the meantime, immerse/bathe/submit yourself to His Word in your daily reading time. If you are not reading anywhere right now, I recommend Ephesians or Colossians. The first half of each is doctrine and the second half of each is practical application.
Abba, You are amazing. You have so much You want to show us! May we continue to fill our minds with You and Your Word, and may we consciously listen to Your voice as You speak to us. It may not be audible, but in the words of my brother, Jimmy Cox, “it’s louder than that.” Learning to trust Your voice is what life is all about. “Speak to my heart, Lord Jesus, speak that my soul may hear.”* Amen.
*Hymn, Speak to My Heart