By Elizabeth Prata
Isaiah 5:20- -“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
It sure seems like lots of people are acting like this today, doesn’t it? And I’m speaking of Christians!
As Barnes Notes says of the Isaiah verse, “Woe unto them that call evil good … – This is the fourth class of sins denounced. The sin which is reprobated here is that of “perverting and confounding” things, especially the distinctions of morality and religion. They prefer erroneous and fake doctrines to the true; they prefer an evil to an upright course of conduct.”
1 Timothy 4:1 – “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
In the verse above, in various translations, we read that The Spirit says it expressly, explicitly, directly, clearly in well defined words, that’s what it means. And He is now saying it present tense. ~John MacArthur
Present tense means that the Spirit is still saying that people will abandon the faith and follow doctrines of demons.
The first sign Jesus gave in response to the disciples’ question about the last days in Matthew 24 was religious deception. This theme is carried throughout the other verses in Old Testament and New where we read even in Amos 8:11 that He will send a famine on the land, a famine for the Word. That prophecy was fulfilled when the time came when no prophet spoke the words from the Lord. It is also coming again, when doctrines of demons tickle the ears but fail to fill the soul.
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3)
Apostasy is a process. Hebrews 2:1 says “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” No one falls away from the faith all at once. It’s incremental.
Therefore the antidote to apostasy is to pay attention. Pay attention to what? The Gospel. Pay attention to Who? Jesus. Always test one’s self to see if we are in the faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5). If we do not pay careful attention, making constant small course corrections, the tiny drift eventually becomes a wide sea, and the person is adrift on a stormy ocean of spiritualism but is far from a peaceful shore.
Believers cannot lose their salvation, the Holy Spirit is in us, a deposit as the guarantee. (2 Corinthians 1:22). What kind of guarantee would it be if we could possess a guarantee then it turns out to be void? (Isaiah 55:11).
I’ve been enjoying RC Sproul’s daily lectures on the topic of Assurance. His most recent lecture (Wednesday, May 1, 2019) was on the 4 kinds of people:
Folks who know they aren’t saved
Folks who know they are saved
Folks who believe they’re saved but struggle with doubt
Folks who assure themselves they’re saved, but aren’t.
It’s an interesting lecture. Sproul said that those people in the 4th category, fully assured they are saved but aren’t, may have a lot more doubt inside themselves than they are showing.
People who you believe are saved need the Gospel too. We all do. People you know who say they are saved but you havent’ seen any fruit, perhaps aren’t, and they might need the Gospel as well. People you know who seem saved, who talk the talk and even walk the walk, if they begin drifting, do not be afraid to share the Gospel and evangelize them. They, too, need Jesus, the Anchor, the Light, the One who saves. Actually, every person on the planet needs the Gospel. What a joy it is to know the Good News. We might not know who is saved or are unsure of our own salvation, but we know the Answer. Jesus’s Gospel.