To ensure that Satan and his wolves in sheep’s clothing do not take advantage of us, we cannot be ignorant of their devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Using these two simple statements of Jesus, we noted two of the frequently employed devices of false teachers—They minimize what Jesus declares mandatory and They increase what Jesus declares singular (see yesterday’s blog).
To these, let’s carefully note:
They enlarge what Jesus declares is narrow.
The gate which leads to life is both singular and narrow. God has only one gate—one plan of salvation/justification from the guilt of past sin. Just as every physical birth occurs through a universal law of conception, gestation, and delivery, so every spiritual new birth occurs through a universal law of conception (i.e. belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God), gestation (i.e. repentance from sin motivated by godly sorrow and confession of faith in Jesus), and delivery (i.e. baptism for the remission of sins).
God has only one way—one path of sanctification and continued justification. It is a life of obedience/walking in the light for every one of His children (Hebrews 5:8-9; 1 John 1:7). It teaches the denial of ungodliness and worldly lusts and the vigorous pursuit of soberness, righteousness, and godliness (Titus 2:12). Continuing in sin that grace may abound is anathema to God (Romans 6:1-2).
They eliminate what Jesus declares essential.
According to Jesus, to reach the destination of eternal life, the narrow gate must be entered and the difficult way must be traveled. Wolves in sheep’s clothing substitute “or” for “and”. Some eliminate the need for the narrow gate by decreeing salvation of “good moral people” or salvation of those in every religion without obeying Christ and His gospel. Others eliminate the difficult way by decreeing “once saved, always saved”. Although the word “or” is not found in Mark 16:16 between “believe” and “be baptized”, there are wolves in sheep’s clothing who teach that there is.
They deny what Jesus declares exists.
Jesus says the wide gate and broad way lead to destruction. False teachers deny the existence, the duration, and/or the population of hell.
False teachers are known by their fruits (Matthew 7:16). Beware of the frequent devices they employ and the poisonous fruit they peddle.