How do we know if a doctrine or a spirit is true? In 1 John 4: 1-6, we learn how it is that we can test if something is true or not. Listen to what it says:
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for 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 from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus[a] is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. 4 Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
How do we know if something is true? What does it say about Jesus? What does it teach us about Jesus? Because, Jesus is truth. Scripture tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the Life. And that no one comes to the Father but through Him.
Jesus is truth. Truth is not a concept, Truth is a person. And that person is Jesus.
So, to know if something is “true” or not, we have to ask ourselves what does it say about Jesus? How does it relate back to who Jesus is? Does it give honor and glory to His name?
Well, how do we know what is true about Jesus? One of the best ways that we can know what is true is to know what the Bible teaches us about who He is. And one of the best ways that we can know what the Bible teaches us is to look at the creeds of the church. Our creeds are simple statements of faith that seek to simply explain what we believe as Christians, in a way that can be taught and understood. They aren’t magically, and I know that not every church uses creeds. But there is something important about these statements, the can simply define for us, in an understandable way what we believe.
For instance, look at the Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic [universal] church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
These words are not “truth” (though they are true), but they point us to truth. What is truth? Or better said, who is truth? Jesus.
So, when you are wrestling with whether something is true or not, ask this question. What does it say about Jesus? That determines truth. So, with what we say, do, and how we live, may we point to truth. May we point to Jesus.
Becasue He is truth.