Question About 1 John 4:2-3


Well-Known Member
The NKJV of this scripture says, "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. " My question is what about false teachers like Kenneth Copeland? He confesses Jesus as the Messiah and God in the flesh, but a great majority of the rest of his teachings are false doctrines such as the health and wealth gospel, among other things. According to this one scripture, Copeland is of God, and he definitely is not. Thoughts? Other scriptures? I know firsthand this man is a false profit/prophet because I listened to his false gospel for 12 years, but I'm concerned that someone who's a new Christian or isn't familiar with the bible may think he and his fellow Name It and Claim It buddies are true bible teachers and they aren't. Thanks.

Andy C

Well-Known Member
Good question, the answer depends. It depends on what the teacher believes about Jesus in regards to salvation being a free gift to all who believe in Him as their Savior. Jack has 2 good answers below.

From Jack Kelley:

“Believing in the one He sent (John 6:29) means believing that Jesus came to Earth to die for our sins so we could live forever in Heaven with Him. It wasn’t meant to include all the different doctrines of men that contradict God’s word. People who promote these non-biblical opinions will have to answer to God for the damage they cause (James 3:1) but it won’t endanger their salvation as long as they believe they’re saved exclusively by the blood of Jesus.

That said, I believe teachers who deny the sufficiency of the cross or promote an alternative path to salvation are in another category altogether and are clearly false teachers. Peter said, “They will paid back with harm for the harm they’ve done” (2 Peter 2:13)

And John said, “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us” (1 John 2:19). He was saying that even though they claim to be part of the church, their teaching proves they were never saved.

These are some of the ones to whom Jesus will say, “I never knew you. Away from me you evil doers” (Matt. 7:23).”

Question: What does 1 John 4:2-3 imply? Does it mean that only saved believers can utter these words? Or is it meant to be some type of test to see if one is a believer? Also in 1 John 4:15 the same questions. Can an unsaved person really say this without believing really? Therefore how can one know for sure if he really means it when he/she says “I confess that Jesus is the Son of God and he has come in the flesh?”
Answer: 1 John 4:2-3 says, “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, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.”

The false teaching called gnosticism held that since God is pure He could not dwell in a human body because all flesh is sinful. Therefore Jesus, being human, could not have been God in the flesh, and could not have died for the sins of the people. They believed that the path to salvation was the acquisition of secret knowledge (The Greek word for knowledge is gnosis). Various forms of this view still exist today in the New Age religions.

John’s point in chapter 4 was the way you can tell whether a teacher is truly from God, and not a proponent of gnosticism, is if he teaches that Jesus is God in human form and that His death paid the penalty for our sins. Teachers who teach this have the Spirit of God. Those who don’t, have the spirit of anti-Christ (1 John 4:3). When you put 1 John 4:14-15 together you can see they’re saying this as well.