1 Timothy 4:1
ESV - 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
I Tim 4:1 follows directly after this verse about the 'mystery from which true godliness springs' in I Tim 3:16: "Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory." This great mystery, the gospel, is the faith which some will abandon in exchange for deceptive teachings. They will trade true godliness (faith in Christ, from whence springs virtue and holy living) for a false appearance of godliness. They will set up rules, such as do not marry and do not eat certain things (I Tim 4:3), which they then try and enforce upon others. These people are not mere fakers, but started with faith in Christ and then abandoned the truth, deceived to trade grace in exchange for false works. Their faith was merely temporary, not a genuine faith that proves true until the end. They stopped abiding with Christ, which leads to a terrible fate (John 15, II Pet 2:17-22, etc). These people are 'hypocritical liars, with seared consciences'. Therefore, we should be honest and open to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. When we are quick to spot sin in others but slow to acknowledge our own sin and repent of it, we become judgemental, unfruitful, and eventually blind and seared to our sin. Jesus warns of this in Matt 7:3-5, and we see the dire consequences of this pattern of living as if we didn't have Christ in Eph 4:19, Rom 1:18-31, Jude 1:12-13, and other places in scripture. These people glory in their own shame, while trying to judge others for meaningless tasks. The counter to this is given in Eph 4:21-32 "That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness....And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." This can be summed up with Eph 4:1-3: I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Eph 4:1 We can spot these deceptive teachers, who themselves are deceived liars, by examining what they teach. Are they judging others for a meaningless practice and teaching them to abstain from something in order to be more 'holy'? Some modern examples might be 'Do not smoke, don't get a tattoo, don't drink coffee, don't watch tv, never drink, don't eat meat, never celebrate a secular holiday,' etc. Meanwhile, they excuse the sin in their own lives because they follow added 'rules' that they claim make one truly Christian or a better Christian. Conversely, a good teacher will focus on our relationship with Christ and how that leads to discerning the will of God and growing in virtue and holiness, such as in II Pet 1:3-11. We can certainly examine scripture to see what wisdom God gives that applies to our daily living, on any topic - smoking, politics, tattoos, tithing, etc. Teachers should also clearly label sin as sin (such as adultery, homosexual behavior, drunkenness, gossip, etc.) Related: https://ebible.com/questions/673-does-hebrews-6-4-6-mean-we-can-lose-our-salvation#answer-14122 https://ebible.com/questions/672-does-hebrews-10-26-mean-that-a-believer-can-lose-salvation#answer-7631 https://ebible.com/questions/4158-how-can-i-know-if-i-am-truly-discerning-the-bible-properly#answer-6522
I have found out some answer for this question. Every generation has seen its fair share of false teaching; ours is no different and neither Timothy's. Paul commands him to confront false teachers and oppose unorthodox doctrines. 'The spirit expressly says'; this is most likely a reference to Jesus' predictIon that some would fall away from the true faith. Many will fall away and many false prophets will arise and lead many astray(Matt.24:10, Mk.13:22,Acts. 20:29-30). Paul also warns that many will depart true faith one after another devoting themselves to evil spirit. Christ is the summation of all scriptures. ' the faith' here is the gospel of Jesus. Paul is speaking of those that ' depart from faith' which is a deliberate departures from true faith/ following Jesus to trusting / following yourselves. Paul is describing the tragic reality that some will turn away from Jesus from eternal joy to eternal misery. Every Christian has three enemies; flesh,world system and devil. They typically work together.
What does it mean that some will depart from faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits? In one word, Paul was speaking about the coming of the great apostasy that is now with us today. To depart from the true faith is to abandon the foundational or fundamental doctrines of the scriptures in exchange for a counterfeit and cheap gospel that denies Bible truth and debases the essentials of our faith. Notice that these departing people were originally among the assembly of the true church but will be convinced by false teachers to accept a popular gospel that enticingly appeals to their emotions rather than to souls. Paul excommunicated two such apostate teachers who he accused of causing shipwreck to the church by their false teaching (1Timothy 1:18-20). This was to serve as a warning to others who may blaspheme the gospel. Today, this kind of gospel is extremely common. I recently discovered that in my rural home in Kenya, a certain "prophet" who opened several worship "altars" in local centres had managed to convince a large section of believers in mainstream churches to abandon their churches and follow his religion. Several believers, mainly poor women fell for this counterfeit flamboyant teacher who rejects the mainstream churches as fallen. The man trades in "miracles" and strange prophecies and moves his large camp gatherings from one town to another. Some counterfeit Bible teachers are subtle and hide under the cover of a real church but their game plan is clear. They intend to sway believers to follow them at the expense of following Christ. What begins as a neo-cultic movement eventually becomes a full blown cult and apostate church where it's leader becomes a demigod and his word, not Scripture, is law. Paul warned the Corinthians that if anyone or an angel from heaven ever preached a different gospel from the one he had preached to them, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8-9). The apostate church is now growing and mutating in leaps and bounds as thousands follow cunning false teachers in delusion. This confirms that we are indeed living in the last days.
People will go to church and appear to be following Jesus and then just walk away from Him indefinitely. What is up with that? I think the best answer is found in this verse from 1 John: "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." 1 John 2:19 God will cause His own people to remain in Him until the end. Jesus said, "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day." If a person could lose their salvation, then how could Jesus keep all that the Father gave Him? Jesus never fails to complete the will of His Father. Therefore, the one who permenetly leaves Christ never belonged to Christ. I believe all of God's children wander from time to time. Jesus came to die for our sins. But the difference is that the straying child will repent and return to His Father. "To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." Jude 24-25
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.