Anyone led by the Spirit of God will believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed one foretold in the Old Testament and long awaited by the Hebrew nation. Also included in this is the deity of Jesus the Christ as shown in the tense of the Greek words used in these New Testament verses and the references and phrases used here that echoes Old Testament verses about God, specifically Gen. 1:1
1 John 1:1-2
1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of Life- 2the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us-
Notes in Ryrie Study Bible:
was, The verb means “was already in existence,” not “came into existence”; i.e., at creation… in the beginning.
Notes in Commentary:
That which was – not “began to be,” but was essentially (Greek, een, not egeneto) before He was manifested (vs. 2); answering to “Him that is from the beginning” (ch.2:13); so John’s Gospel, 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word.” Proverbs 8:23, “I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.”
1 John 2:22
Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is the Antichrist that denies the Father and the Son.
1 John 3:23
And this is his commandment. That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. i.e. believe Jesus is the Christ
1 John 4:1-3
1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Notes in Ryrie Study Bible:
Apparently some of John’s readers were being led astray by Gnosticism.
Gnosticism: The heresy of Gnosticism had begun to make inroads among churches in John’s day. Among its teachings were: (1) knowledge is superior to virtue; (2) the nonliteral sense of Scripture is correct and can be understood only by a select few; (3) evil in the world precludes God’s being the only Creator; (4) the incarnation is incredible because deity cannot unite itself with anything material such as a body (Docetism); and (5) there is no resurrection of the flesh. The ethical standards of many Gnostics were low, so John emphasized the reality of the incarnation and the high ethical standard of the earthly life of Christ.
Notes in Commentary:
1Beloved – the affectionate address where-with he calls their attention as to an important subject. Every spirit – which presents itself in the person of a prophet. The Spirit of truth, and the spirit of error, speak by men’s spirits as their organs. There is but one Spirit of truth, and one spirit of Antichrist. Try – by the tests (vss. 2,3). All believers are to do so; not merely ecclesiastics. Even an angel’s message should be tested by the word of God; much more men’s teachings, however holy the teachers may seem. Because… - the reason why we must “try,” or test the spirits. Many false prophets – not “prophets” in the sense “foretellers,” but organs of the spirit that inspires them, teaching accordingly either truth or error: “many Antichrists.” Are gone out – as if from God. Into the world – said alike of good and bad prophets (II John 7). The world is easily seduced (vss. 4,5). 2 know…the Spirit of God – whether he be, or not, in those teachers professing to be moved by Him. Every spirit – i.e., Every teacher claiming inspiration by the Holy Spirit. Confesses – The truth is taken for granted as established. Man is required to confess it, i.e., in his teaching to profess it openly. Jesus Christ is come in the flesh – a twofold truth confessed, that Jesus is the Christ, and that He is come (the Greek perfect implies not a mere past historical fact, as the aorist would, but also the present continuance of the fact and its blessed effects) in the flesh (“clothed with flesh”: not with a mere seeming humanity, as the Decetae afterwards taught: He therefore was, previously, something for above flesh).. His Flesh implies His death for us, for only by assuming flesh could He die (for as God He could not), Hebrews 2:9, 10 14, 16; and His death implies His LOVE for us (John 15:13). To deny the reality of His flesh is to deny His love, and so cast away the root which produces all true love on the believer’s part (vss. 9-11, 19) Rome, by the doctrine of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, denies Christ’s proper humanity.