John, an inspired apostle said: "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (1 Jno. 4:6). There is a vast difference in truth and error; in the spirit of truth and "the spirit of error." Truth is of God but error is not. Those who know God will hear the truth as was made known by inspired men such as John. Those who do not hear the truth are not of God, but are of the devil. They do not have the Spirit of truth, but the "spirit of error." Some who claim to have the Spirit of truth obviously have "the spirit of error." John tells us in 1 Jno. 4:6 how we can tell the difference, as we have already noted.


Those who have "the spirit of error" will not hear ALL of what has been taught by inspired men as recorded in the Scripture. Paul declared the whole counsel of God to the Ephesian bishops. (See Acts 20:27). The devil used some Scripture in his attempt to get Jesus to sin, but he mis-used it. Many do likewise today. Although they appeal to the Scripture for some point or points, they are not willing to accept the whole counsel of God. For example, "faith only" advocates will use verses that condition salvation on faith and then they will ignore verses that condition salvation on repentance, confession, and baptism and will assert that the Scripture teaches salvation by "faith only." Such is the "spirit of error." Some will accept what Jas. 1:27 says about a MAN "visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction," but they will not accept what 1 Tim. 5:16 teaches relative to the CHURCH relieving widows indeed. They say the church cannot relieve, but can only supply the money for such and then another institution must do the work of relieving. Such evidences unbelief! It is "the spirit of error.

" Many who have the "spirit of error" are inconsistent religious hypocrites. Read Matt. 23 for a vivid description of such people. They were inconsistent in their teaching and practice as well as hypocritical in their actions. Jesus denounced them in very plain terms.

The proud, self-righteous person has "the spirit of error." Jesus spake a parable in Lk. 18:10-14 in which He shows that "every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Humility of mind, meekness of spirit and contriteness of heart should characterize all of us.

Often times, those who have "the spirit of error" lie in wait to deceive (See Eph. 4: 14). They use cunning craftiness to accomplish their goal. They employ carnal weapons. They resort to treachery, mis-representation, mockery, blasphemy, and lying in an effort to crush the proponents of truth. They love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. (See Jno. 3:19). Those who propagate error often use pressure or force to stop the mouths of the advocates of truth. They do not want people to examine candidly their teaching in the light of God's eternal truth. They would, if they could, erect an "iron curtain" around their followers because they fear the results of an honest investigation of their doctrines in light of the Scriptures.

Truth and its propagation is not dependent upon the employment of carnal weapons. Truth can and will be propagated by those who are pure in heart and upright in life, whose primary purpose is to "fear God and keep His commandments." Do you have the spirit of truth or "the spirit of error?" Remember, dear reader, your soul can be purified by your obedience to the truth, but error will cause you to lose your soul eternally! If you are sincerely interested in going to heaven, you will have a genuine love for the truth and a hatred for error.

By Carrol R. Sutton in The Instructor, Vol. 4, No. 9, Sept. 1967.

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