There is a big difference between philosophy, deception, and truth. Many individuals and sects for thousands of years have aspired to interpret Holy Scripture through sciences, opinions, beliefs, secular intelligence, or so-called divine inspiration. Many of these "inspired opinions" have to lead to multitudes being misled, deceived, and manipulated which can and will lead to eternal judgment. The Gnostics were a sect which were prevalent during the time of Christ, and which is clearly prevalent today. It is, according to scripture, a deceiving false doctrine and spirit which seeks to deter souls from the truth. John addressed Gnosticism by establishing points which reveals this deceiving doctrine and the entity behind it:
1. Every believer or student of Scripture should display caution when undertaking and embracing the truth.
2. We must identify that there are spiritual influences that are behind deceptive doctrines, teachings, and opinions.
3. These teaching are being taught around the world.
4. To expose and recognize truth from fiction, brethren or enemy of the gospel, teachers or false prophets:
a. "Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God".
b. "but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God."
One of the core beliefs of Gnosticism is that "Christ was either a phantom or came upon the body of Jesus for a short time between His baptism and death. They denied that Christ had a physical body, but that He only seemed to have one." This is addressed by the Word of truth by stating that "this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world". It is clear that John was addressing something prevalent in his time, but as the Word of God says "the Word of God is Spirit", we must understand that it is an issue which is prevalent throughout time.
1 John 4:1-3
1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.