Paul, in his letter to the Galatians was taken aback that the Christians had turned away from the AUTHENTIC Gospel.
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” [Gal 1:6-7]
We’re still being surprised by this reality, that folks are turning away from Christ, to another gospel message, which is NOT a gospel that can save.
It is no surprise to the regular readers of this paper to learn that God has warned us to beware of RELIGIOUS COUNTERFEITS.
Who are RELIGIOUS COUNTERFEITS?
Paul wrote to warn Timothy about those, “Having a form of godliness,” who would be…
“…lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;” [1Tim 3:1-5]
He warned that they would creep in and lead away unsuspecting people. They would be constantly learning but never comprehending the truth. It reminds me of folks who regularly read the Bible but fail to see the basic truths about salvation.
A RELIGIOUS COUNTERFEIT comes in many forms. They would be wolves in sheep’s clothing. This means that they will appear as nice folks. This should also be of no surprise for we know, “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” [2Cor 11:14]
Our Lord also warned: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” [Mat 7:15]
But He gave us hope in that we could know who they are. We can know them by their fruit. But we aren’t to stop there, for they will be doing many seemingly good things. Jesus said He would not accept those who haven’t obeyed Him…
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” [Mat 7:22]
It’s not enough to observe their fruit, we must also observe their teaching and compare it to the written word of God. This was our Lord’s point, and later it was Paul’s point to the Galatians.
“If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” [Gal 1:9]
For us to be able to discover and to ward off the RELIGIOUS COUNTERFEITS, we must be skilled in God’s word. This will require us to be regular students of the Bible. God’s word is our only defense from the attacks of the RELIGIOUS COUNTERFEITS.