Truth, evil, deception, the Church, and the Bible
The principal sign that the coming of Christ is near will be religious deception by those claiming to be Christian leaders. Jesus warned that in the days right before His return, we should expect an epidemic of deception [lit. “sweet urgings”], when “…evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:12-13). Clues given by Bible prophecy regarding the future of the professing church on earth show it becoming more and more dark and depressing until its final days. God’s Word says to expect failure and turning from the truth. Yet He doesn’t want us to dwell on evil, but to judge and abandon it, so we can go after, and stick to, what’s good and of Him. God’s truth protects us from evil.
Truth and lies
Truth is of God. Anything the opposite of truth is from the devil, the father of lies. We can’t believe both God’s truth and the devil’s lies at the same time. Yet, we ignore distinctions between truth and lies as if it makes no difference what we believe anymore. We’re better off speaking truth that hurts and then heals, than speaking lies that comfort and then destroy. If Christians continue to associate with people corrupting or denying the truth, we’ll appear to approve of what they teach or believe, while failing to witness to the truth. We can’t do this without great loss to our own soul and dishonor to God. If we continue associating with such people, God’s truth and claims won’t maintain much hold on our heart and conscience anymore. Anything in methods or teaching opposing the truth dishonors God, making those practicing such things dishonorable vessels. But it’s not enough to hold the truth about Christ’s soon coming—it needs to hold us. If His Holy Spirit has led us to know truth to any degree, we’ll be able to perceive His teaching and leading in others.
Falseness, lies and error
No matter how devout and moral a man is who hasn’t been born-again, the more he will lack knowledge of God and be opposed to His grace and truth. There’s no possible way to properly teach sound doctrine and righteousness without warning about what’s false. Don’t excuse error based on how sincere the person believing it is. Those with a false relationship to Jesus will someday hear Him say “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23). How much better to be hated for speaking the truth, than loved for speaking a lie, and to have truth divide us instead of being united in falsehood!
The world and Christ
Satan’s goal today is to blot out the reality that Christ is rejected, or to deprive it at least of all its deep and powerful meaning. But how did the world receive and honor Him? God has made Himself completely known in the Person of His Son, which has only brought out the truth that people hate Him and the world doesn’t know Him. The world’s answer to God’s Son was, “Away with Him! Crucify Him!” and they’ve never changed their minds. But, “When [Jesus] is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteouness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:8-11).
The world and the Church
God’s people sometimes associate with this development of evil without realizing how God sees it. Some say we can’t attract people to Church unless we talk about subjects appealing to them. This means the Church must come down to the world’s level before it will approve of her. What’s the condition of Christians spiritually who’d make these suggestions? Worldly pleasure has been brought in as a way to try to reach the masses. Many churches have larger, lovelier buildings and more glamorous services today, but their spiritual power has gone downhill. Should those following a despised and rejected Man be eager to make a refined and acceptable appearance in the world that crucified Him? Yet Churches have welcomed people with all kinds of worldly ideas to attract those who reject Christ! We need to test whatever we approve of by our presence there by God’s Word.
Some Christians go with the world; others don’t
Many Christians secretly groan over the straying away from and downfall of true faith in God, yet lack courage to speak up opposing it. Others keep hoping for the best, trying to be content that things are going in the right direction, in spite of their doubts and fears. Some believers have already been so carried away by the power of this wave of apostasy and worldliness that they now approve of and support it. Pray that God will wake their conscience up and release them from the trap enveloping them.
Worldly Christians avoid true Christians
In these evil days, those truly learning the will of God will judge themselves and be humble, and their spirit will tremble at His Word. Christians who remain faithful will find themselves isolated according to their degree of faithfulness to Christ. The more faithful they are, the more isolated they’ll be from what claims to be the Church. Worldly Christians will avoid them, and are relieved when they’re not in their company. Men might incorrectly judge a soul truly dedicated to God—but God makes no mistakes. By grace, God has chosen and protected His people and He’ll maintain them in spite of men or the devil. Those He’s chosen, called, and justified may be concealed to human eyes, but “the Lord knoweth them that are His” (2 Timothy 2:19).
The professing Church ends in apostasy
Biblical Christians believe God’s Word is truth. Those who reject the truth condemn themselves. Trying to look at truth intelligently isn’t as important as making sure that what we believe is truth. Do popularity and progress benefit us if their price is surrendering the truth, and we have to give up all that makes Christianity godly? When our experiences dominate our life, we lose God’s truth. Christians who judge things spiritually truly regret seeing corruption and worldliness coming into the Church like a flood. God’s Word offers no hope that the professing church will recover from error. Therefore, its end will have to be apostasy.
Error may be everywhere, with worldliness rushing into the Church like a flood, but a “sure foundation” remains in the end! “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19). God has a direct word for every true Christian to correctly guide them in these last days.
[Image credits: Featured image (when applicable) Adriaen van Ostade/lookandlearn/public domain; Memento Media/unsplash; Hannah Busing/unsplash; Susan Cipriano/pixabay; Clker-Free-Vector-Images/pixabay]