Know the truth
For the past four weeks, we have been discussing false teachers – these are members of our society who boldly declare half-truths or lies about God and what it means to be a Christian. Knowing and understanding the truth is the most important ingredient in unmasking them, because we cannot stand for something we do not know! Rev L. John Gable puts it this way, “A recent Gallup poll has found that eight out of 10 Americans say they are Christians. The problem is not that the information is unavailable to us. The Bible has been an all-time bestseller for many years, it is that we have not taken its message seriously. We’ve not digested it and made it part of our daily living”.
When we don’t know the Word, we are not able to critically think if what a speaker is saying is biblically accurate or not. We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that “the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred … or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News ...” 1 Timothy 1:9-11 (NLT).
One of the major false teachings has to do with the law (Ten Commandments). Even though false teachers misrepresent the law, the law itself remains good. The epitome of their error is to set up the law as a means of salvation. That appeals to men who are proud, because they believe in the illusion that by themselves they are good enough to please God. A prideful person doesn’t need a Saviour, because he believes he can attain God’s standard by himself. Human nature seems to want to “do something” to earn salvation. This is true whether it is Jewish law keeping in Paul’s day or the salvation by works teaching of today. God will not have it!
The law is not made for righteous men; it is made to convict sinners. Romans 3:19-20 (NIV) says that the law was written so that “… every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” The law condemns everyone to hell because “… There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God”. Romans 3:10-11 (NIV).
No one can fulfill God’s standard on his own. The Jewish leaders thought they did but in Romans 10:3, Paul says that they were ignorant of God’s righteousness and went about establishing their own righteousness.
“The law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious …” and for whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine. The law is designed to expose sinners for what they really are. The law is good, but it is not good news. The law wasn’t made for righteous men; it was made for sinners. So far, we have established that:
• False teachers abound
• False teachers use the Bible incorrectly
• False teachers destroy the love in the church and lead many astray
Christians must therefore take a stand against false teaching and ensure that we don’t engage in it. How can we stand? By doing the following:
1. Commit ourselves to maturing in the Lord by learning the Truth of the Word in relationship with the Saviour
2. Practise what the Word teaches
3. Have accountability relationships and be willing to take godly counsel from others with your best interest at heart, so that we stay humble and willing to learn.
4. Stand up for love
It’s time for us to STAND!