Simple Tests

Let me start by saying that I don’t believe that the Christian faith is a test. There are many that think that our life is simply a test to see if we are “good enough” to be able to reach paradise. I think that is nonsense. None of us is good enough to be able to reach heaven. God is perfect and holy and wants nothing to do with sin, so this is why we need his covering, his forgiveness for our sins. And that is why he sent Jesus.

So our faith is not a test because we have already failed. It is only by God’s love and mercy that we can know Him.

However, there are points in our lives when we can use tools to be able to know how to best proceed forward. How can I know whether it right to continue forward in a particular relationship? How can I know the right direction to go? Sometimes these can be important things to understand as we try to employ wisdom in a particular situation.

John writes a couple of ways that we can know if we are headed in the right direction. For example, he explains how we can know that a particular person is speaking from God or not. Very simply:

Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 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.

1 John 4:2-3

Much of the direction of the world, actually, hinges on this question: Who is Jesus? For example, in the case of Muslims, they say that he is the Christ, but then go on the say that he is only a prophet, meaning that he receives messages from God, but isn’t necessarily himself from God.

But here, John helps us to understand that Jesus must be acknowledged and understood to be the Messiah, to have come from God as His Christ. If they do not do that, then this person is speaking as having the spirit of the antichrist.

God would not deny Himself, and Jesus came from God, so God’s Spirit would, himself, acknowledge and affirm Jesus for who he is.

In the second test, John makes the test practical, both for us individually as well as for others with whom we might come into contact.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:8-10

So again, John makes it simple for us. Are we showing love? And has that love become a practical outpouring of action in our lives? If so, then we know God.

But if we do not love – if we are not showing it to others – then we do not know God. This is a way that we can know whether we are acting rightly, or if the person that I am interacting with truly knows God or not. Love is a determining factor.

So these are simple tests. Again, not because our faith is a test, but ways that we can know if we are going in the right direction, or how the people that we are connecting with are truly following God or not and whether or not we should continue forward in the direction that we are going with them.

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