First John: 1 John 4:2c-Acknowledging By Faith Jesus is the Incarnate Son of God Lesson # 147
1 John 4:1 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. (ESV)
“Has come in the flesh” is composed of the following: (1) preposition en (ἐν), “in” (2) dative feminine singular form of the noun sarx (σάρξ), “the flesh” (3) accusative masculine singular perfect active participle form of the verb erchomai (ἒρχομαι), “that has come.”
The verb erchomai means “to appear” and not “to come” since it is speaking of the incarnation and subsequent hypostatic union of Jesus Christ.
Specifically, it is referring to the First Advent of Jesus Christ as well as His post-resurrection state, which He exists in at the present time and will for all of eternity.
Therefore, John is saying that any teacher who acknowledges through his teaching that Jesus Christ has appeared in human flesh or in a human body does originate from God the Holy Spirit.
The perfect tense of this verb is an intensive perfect which is used to emphasize the results or present state produced by a past action.
The present state is the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ and the past action is the incarnation when the Son of God became a human being permanently in Bethlehem two thousand years ago.
The accusative case of this participle is an accusative of simple apposition meaning it stands in apposition to the accusative proper name Iēsous.
This would indicate that the word is identifying specifically for the recipients of First John what any teacher must acknowledge about Jesus Christ through their teaching in order for them to confirm if they are from God the Holy Spirit or are being used by Satan and his kingdom.
As was the case in 2 John 7, this verb erchomai is employed here in 1 John 4:2 with the prepositional phrase en sarki (ἐν σαρκί,), “in the flesh.”
In both passages, the noun sarx means “human body, human flesh” and refers to the impeccable human nature of the Son of God.
As was the case in 2 John 7, the noun sarx here in 1 John 4:2 is the object of the preposition en, which functions as a marker of a state or condition indicating that Jesus Christ exists in the state or condition of being human.
“Is from God” is composed of the following: (1) preposition ek (ἐκ), “from” (2) articular genitive masculine singular form of the noun theos (θεός), “God” (3) third person singular present active indicative form of the verb eimi (εἰμί), “is.”
The third person singular present active indicative form of the verb eimi means “to possess a particular characteristic.”
Thus, it expresses the idea that any teacher who through their teaching does acknowledge Jesus as the Christ appearing in a human body does “possess the characteristic” which originates with from God the Holy Spirit and which characteristic is of course truth.
The noun theos refers to the Spirit which is indicated by its articular construction which means that the article is pointing back to the use of this word earlier in verse 2 indicating that it retains the same referent and meaning when it is used the second time in the verse.
This word is the object of the preposition ek which means “from” since the word functions as a marker of source.
Therefore, this prepositional phrase is expressing the idea that if any teacher does acknowledge through their teaching Jesus as the Christ appearing in a human body then, they and their teaching does possess the characteristic of truth which “originates from” God the Holy Spirit.
1 John 4:2 By means of this, any one of you can at any time confirm the Spirit’s teaching who is the one and only God: Any spirit which does acknowledge Jesus as the Christ appearing in a human body does possess the characteristic which originates from this the one and only God who is the Spirit. (Author’s translation)
As we also noted earlier, the prepositional phrase en sarki (ἐν σαρκὶ), “in a human body” appears in both 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 7 in conjunction with the verb erchomai.
Together, they express in both passages the idea of the Son of God appearing in a human body.
Thus, they speak of the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ.
The noun sarx (σάρξ), “human body” appears often in the New Testament for the impeccable human nature of the Son of God.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NASB95)
Romans 1:1 Paul, a slave owned by Christ who is Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel originating from God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 concerning His Son, who was born as a descendant of David with respect to His human nature. (Author’s translation)
Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now, as an eternal spiritual truth, never any condemnation, none whatsoever for the benefit of those in union with Christ who is Jesus. 2 Because, the life-giving Spirit’s authoritative power, by means of (the death and resurrection of) Christ, who is Jesus, has set you free from the sin nature’s authoritative power as well as spiritual death’s. 3 Because with reference to the Law’s inability in which it was always powerless through the flesh, God the Father accomplished by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. In fact, with regards to the sin nature, He (the Father) executed the sin nature by means of His (Son’s) human nature. (Author’s translation)
Romans 9:1 I am speaking the truth in accordance with the code of Christ. I am by no means lying, while my conscience does confirm to me in accordance with the code of the Holy Spirit. 2 That, as far my feelings are concerned, there is always great sorrow as well as unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 In fact, I could almost wish that I myself could be accursed, totally and completely separated from Christ as a substitute for my brothers, specifically, my fellow countrymen with respect to racial descent. 4 Who indeed by virtue of their unique, privileged character are, as an eternal spiritual truth, Israelites. To them belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the service and the promises. 5 To them belong the fathers and from them, the Christ with respect to human racial descent, the one who is, as an eternal spiritual truth, God over each and every living and non-living thing, worthy of praise and glorification throughout eternity. Amen! (Author’s translation)
Ephesians 2:11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called ‘Uncircumcision’ by the so-called ‘Circumcision,’ which is performed in the flesh by human hands – 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. (NASB95)
Colossians 1:15 who, as an eternal spiritual truth exists in the state of being the invisible God’s image, existing before all creation. 16 For each and every thing in the heavens as well as on the earth was created by Him, visible things as well as invisible things, whether thrones, or dominions or rulers or authorities. Each and every thing is created through Him as well as for Him. 17 Consequently, He Himself, as an eternal spiritual truth preexists each and every thing (in creation) so that each and every thing (in creation) continues to exist because of Him. 18 Furthermore, He Himself, as an eternal spiritual truth exists in the state of being the head over His body, namely His church who, as an eternal spiritual truth exists in the state of being the founder that is the firstborn from the dead ones. The divine purpose was accomplished so that He alone became the Preeminent One among each and every person with no exceptions 19 because He was very pleased to have all His fullness dwell permanently in Him 20 so as to reconcile through Him alone each and every thing for Himself. Specifically, by making peace by means of His blood, namely His cross-through Him alone, whether each and every thing on the earth or each and every thing located in the heavens. 21 Indeed, because each and every one of you at one time existed in the state of being alienated, specifically enemies because of your attitude, because of your evil actions, 22 He has now in fact reconciled each and every one of you by means of His body composed of human flesh by means of His death. The purpose of which is to present each and every one of you as holy, uncensurable and unaccusable in His presence. (Author’s translation)
1 Timothy 3:16 Specifically, affirmatively superior is, as an eternal spiritual truth the mystery which is the way of godliness: He was revealed by means of a human nature, vindicated by means of the power of the Spirit, observed by angels, publicly proclaimed among the Gentiles, believed upon by humanity, taken up by means of glory (Author’s translation)
Hebrews 5:7 In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. (NASB95)
Hebrews 10:20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh. (NASB95)
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. (NASB95)
1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. (NASB95)
Therefore, here in 1 John 4:2 this affirmation of faith in the incarnation and subsequent hypostatic union of Jesus Christ is refuting docetic Gnosticism which the unregenerate antichrists or false prophets were teaching in the Roman province of Asia.