Monday, May 22, 2017

Doctrines of Devils

1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” 

I read a thought-proving short study on the fourth chapter of 1 Timothy. It pointed out that in chapter one of his first epistle to Timothy, Paul warned about false teachers and heresies in the church of his day, evidently particularly implicating the agnostics and their false skepticism and low moral standards. Throughout chapter four, he warns of false teachers “in the latter times,” i.e., in our day and in our churches.

1 Timothy 4:2-5 “ speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

THe study states that Paul had received an explicit and “express” teaching from the Holy Spirit. There was nothing vague about it. The false teachers would, among other things, be “forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats”, with other false teachings implied throughout the chapter. These “doctrines” will cause some to “depart from the faith.” Evidently, some who consider themselves Christians and yet have incomplete discernment will fall into the trap of “seducing spirits,” espousing the “doctrines of devils.” The Greek word translated “depart” is apostesontai, which means “to fall away” from an original position, in this case, “the faith.” The teachers will typically be hypocrites, “speaking lies,” having “their conscience seared”.

Galatians 1:9 “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”

In this time of great apostasy, we desperately need to know the biblical doctrine concerning devils (or Satan and his demonic henchmen), for their influence has nearly captured American education and culture. But we must be on guard against, and teach others to be on guard against, “doctrines of devils.” 

1 Timothy 4:6-16 “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the “good doctrine” which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This  is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. These things command and teach. Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

It is one thing to think about how I shall live this side of eternity in light of our Savior Jesus dying on the Cross for me to change my destiny that side of eternity - saved by grace through faith. It is another thing to think how I shall live in light of the Lord Jesus Christ and Creator Father God the Holy Word of God's teachings, statues and commandments to align my thoughts, words and actions with their sacred and righteous Word, Will and Way. In light of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, how shall we live? Which doctrine shall we follow?


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