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Caveat in the context: why confessing Christ doesn’t mean you have the Holy Spirit

A dangerous doctrine is being bandied about in religious circles that states if someone says “Jesus is Christ” or claims to believe in Jesus, we can assume they are Christian. 1 John 4: 1-3 is used for this assumption, which states

holy_spirit_fire_by_jpsmsu40Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

That dangerous thinking is also tied to Romans 10:9, 10–

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

If we were to just take these verses by themselves and make the assumptions I stated in the first sentence of this post, then it would draw us to believe that devils can be saved. For instance, take this passage from Luke 4

41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.

This same scenario occurs in Mark 3:11 also. Obviously if we know the Bible well enough, we know devils cannot be saved so just confessing that Jesus is Christ and accepting that he came in the flesh (like the unclean spirits did) is not what solely determines if a person has the Holy Spirit. People are so quick to overlook the caveat in the context of John’s and Paul’s letters.  In 1 John the caveat is given in verse 6 where he says that those who confess Jesus prove their confession is genuine when they listen to and obey Christ’s apostles, since the apostles wrote the New Testament by the inspiration power of the Holy Ghost.

In Romans 10, Paul goes on to explain this same thing. If true confession and belief in Christ takes place in one’s heart, then the result is that one becomes unashamed of the gospel (Romans 10:11) by doing the opposite of the Israelites under Moses, who were disobedient. Or as James, Christ’s half brother said, “Faith without works is dead.”

John also went into more detail in his second epistle as he explained how doctrine ties into what he said in 1 John 4–

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. …

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. 2 John

This is an additional test of who has the Holy Spirit and who doesn’t. Just confessing Christ or using the right “Christian” lingo is worthless if it isn’t backed by obedience to Christ’s commands and doctrines. Just confessing Christ does not necessarily mean that the person has the Holy Spirit. If we latch on to this concept, we will avoid being deceived by people who claim to be Christian that really aren’t.

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11 thoughts on “Caveat in the context: why confessing Christ doesn’t mean you have the Holy Spirit

  1. Harry, confessing Christ is a declaration of commitment to God. There is no caveat, no matter how much you would like to see one. The demonic spirits didn’t confess (homologeo) Christ. They cried out (kraugazonta) saying (legonta) you are the Son of God! There is a huge difference between confessing Christ as Lord and Saviour and the involuntary cry made by the demonic spirits in Luke 4:41.
    Romans 10 also makes it perfectly clear that confession must be accompanied by the inner belief that Christ is risen from the dead. At the time the demons cried out, Christ had not been crucified and risen from the dead so your analogy between “legonta” and “homologeo” is further strained. No reasonable person would be drawn to believe that “devils can be saved” by the text quoted in Luke.
    Even in the English text, the differences between confession and saying are plain to see. Confession (homologeo) also implies a solemn, legally binding connotation in the original Greek. Thus, we confess with our mouth what we are convinced or convicted of in our heart. I don’t see the point of this post, unless it’s to create suspicion and angst among Christians.
    Personally, I don’t think anyone can make a solemn confession of faith without meaning it. If they don’t believe what they say, or just use Christian “lingo” (whatever that is) to advance a selfish or evil objective, I am convinced they will be quickly revealed for what they are.

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    1. Dean,

      Is this your new hobby–tearing down whatever I say to try to get people’s doubts stirred to exalt yourself at my expense?

      [Harry, confessing Christ is a declaration of commitment to God. There is no caveat, no matter how much you would like to see one. The demonic spirits didn’t confess (homologeo) Christ.]

      Here we go again with failed attempts to try to imply that one must know koine Greek to know what God’s word really means. All one needs to do is have a relationship with the Holy Spirit to understand God’s word (1 Corinthians 2:13-14). The caveat I mentioned in my post is also explained by Paul in his letter to Titus when Paul tells him

      Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

      They profess [homologeo] that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. Titus 1:15-16

      “Homologeo” and “lego” are synonyms as shown in Acts 23:8 which says:

      For the Sadducees say [lego] that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess [homologeo] both.

      [At the time the demons cried out, Christ had not been crucified and risen from the dead so your analogy between “legonta” and “homologeo” is further strained.]

      Not really. I gave all the scriptures I mentioned as examples. There are other examples after Christ’s resurrection that prove what I’m saying. Acts 16 says

      16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

      17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying [lego], These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.

      18 And this did she many days…

      This devil spoke the truth and confessed that Paul and his friends served God and were showing that salvation comes through Jesus Christ. The Philippians had heard them preach this. So devils cried out and confessed the same things after Christ was risen. Get your facts straight.

      [Even in the English text, the differences between confession and saying are plain to see. Confession (homologeo) also implies a solemn, legally binding connotation in the original Greek.]

      What’s plain to see in the English text is that the terms are synonymous according to the context. Please spare me the “I-know-Greek-so-I’m-better-than-you-at-understanding-God’s-word” prideful nonsense.

      [I don’t see the point of this post, unless it’s to create suspicion and angst among Christians.]

      This isn’t about angst, but about urging my brothers and sisters in Christ not to be gullible enough to just take people at their word without proof. Based on your past comments, I know you’re one who hates it when people “judge not according to the appearance but judge righteous judgment” as Jesus commanded us to do. You hate it because you want us to accept as Christians people who have no business even calling themselves Christians. Here’s further proof that your homologeo vs. lego in the Greek is pure nonsense:

      This is a faithful saying [logos, from the root word lego], and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners… 1 Timothy 1:15

      Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say [eipon, a synonym to lego] that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 12:3

      So Dean once again, “ye do err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God.”

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  2. Salvation is a work of God in the heart of the sinner who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ through repentant belief in the gospel. Those who are saved believe what the Bible says about Jesus Christ. Obviously there are many who are bandying about the name of Jesus Christ who do not know Him or love Him, which is obvious by their disavowal of Him through their adherence to false doctrine and/or practice of ungodly living. You are stating the obvious and many need to do what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:5
    Examine yourselves as to whether or not you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you are disqualified.
    The test is given by measuring ourselves against God’s glorious Word the Bible to see that we believe and obey the truth. Paul said this after exhaustive instruction about godly living and in-depth warning against false teachers. He said this in love and concern for these Corinthians. His desire, which is God’s desire, was that all should be saved. Warning against false faith is a gracious act. Thank you for your kind and loving exhortation. God bless you:)
    http://holdingforthhisword.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/the-grid/

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  3. What exactly should be done with your conclusions? If someone joins church at the altar call and makes a statement that they want to be saved and baptized, are we supposed to make them wait to be baptized until they show some signs that they’re saved? Should a church assign someone to mentor them to see if they’re living right? If they don’t quit their bad habits right away after they confess Jesus, do we write them off?

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    1. I didn’t write my post with church procedure in mind. It was merely for encouraging believers to use their own personal discernment regarding those who claim to be Christian but are unrepentant and not sorry for persistent sin in their lives. Sometimes people get delivered right away from their sinful habits. At other times it takes a period of time. What’s important is their attitude towards it. Are they sincerely taking steps to get out of their sinful situation and expressing genuine remorse or do they basically give off the signal that they don’t care and will continue in their sin regardless of what the pastor preaches or what the Bible says? For example, if a guy is living with his girlfriend, then claims that he got saved, is he still continuing to live with her, or has he made immediate plans to move out and stop fornicating, holding off on their sex until they get married?

      I’m not of the opinion that a church should change any of their procedures on baptism when someone comes forward at the altar call. Most churches I’ve been in have some type of orientation class to explain salvation and baptism and basic Christian doctrine to make sure the person understands things before they get baptized. So whether they made a false confession or not, if they still want to be baptized, they should be. If it turns out they’re not sincere, that becomes clear over time. Jesus’ parable about the sower and the seed (Luke 8:5-15) gives us a good example about the various types of people and their responses to the gospel.

      On the other hand, when it comes to allowing people into a specific ministry, Paul gives specific guidelines that they have to be tested on (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1:5-9) and tells us not to rush into laying hands on people when confirming them for a ministry (1 Timothy 5:22). Then Paul tells us “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.” It isn’t always obvious if someone is into a habitual sin. Sometimes their ungodly character is apparent before God’s judgment, and sometimes it doesn’t manifest itself until after God’s judgment. But whatever the case, true believers should always be in prayer for people they associate with or ministries they support as they study the word to show themselves approved. If God wants them to know something about those associates and ministries, he’ll let them know in some way and how to respond.

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  4. No Harry, it’s not about tearing you down to exalt myself at your expense. If that was my motive, God will judge me, but my conscience is clear until then. You wrote the original article precisely because I called you on confessing Jesus Christ as Son of God, Lord and Saviour, which Catholic Christians do.

    …with the demon possessed servant, her profession was an irritation to St. Paul, because although it was true, it focused attention on her demonic soothsaying and not on the Gospel of Christ. Just reading that story plainly shows that it took St. Paul a while to realize this. Her masters made money from her and she was a showground attraction. That’s how Satan works.

    So, Harry, get real with me. You’ve built a blog around your pet hate, which is the RCC. I’m telling you that you are fighting with the choir. That may be what you feel you are called to do, but once again, you follow your own spirit. When Harry’s gone, Harry’s Sun and Shield will be swallowed up by more hate-filled blogs toward the Roman Catholic Church. And that is not in the spirit of Christ.

    Only one thing will remain; and that is the Gospel of Christ preached by the church of Jesus.

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    1. Dean,

      I’m well aware what the devil-possessed woman was doing and what the whole account was about. I simply mentioned that example to address your previous comment which stated:

      “There is a huge difference between confessing Christ as Lord and Saviour and the involuntary cry made by the demonic spirits in Luke 4:41. Romans 10 also makes it perfectly clear that confession must be accompanied by the inner belief that Christ is risen from the dead. At the time the demons cried out, Christ had not been crucified and risen from the dead so your analogy between “legonta” and “homologeo” is further strained.”

      You were saying the words didn’t apply because Christ hadn’t risen at the time these demons cried out as they did. I was simply showing you they cried out in the exact same way after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. That was the only point I was making, so you just went off on a tangent.

      If you believe my only focus is the RCC and its evil, then you really haven’t been paying attention. I target every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. I’m an equal opportunity critic of every false doctrine, whether Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, Mormon, Taoist, Buddhist, etc. And I gave you a link previously that proved it, so once again you’re not really paying attention. Truth is you hate to be told the truth because your pride won’t allow it. You have hate in your heart for when people rightfully and truthfully expose the darkness of the RCC, so you project onto me what you yourself have. You need to peg me as hate-filled to justify your own hate. I’m all about love. Loving people enough to tell the truth even when it isn’t popular or convenient.

      So is the spirit of Christ among people who try to hide sexual abuse and still hide it even when they have already paid out millions to the victims? Is the gospel of Christ about ordaining people who are sexually active homosexuals or atheists or drunkards, as the RCC does? Why is it that you deny and overlook their blatant sins as if they have done and can do no wrong whatsoever? That’s not being real. Even I have pointed out the failings of evangelicals when warranted, but out of love and with the hope people will repent. But all you do is gloss-over the wrongdoing of the RCC. That isn’t the spirit of Christ. Even Christ criticized his own people when they did wrong. So did his apostles.

      I’m done having this back-and-forth with you. I’ve fulfilled my godly duty to call you to repentance. It’s time for both of us to move on to other things, which is why I deleted your other comment also since you just repeated what you said previously.

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