Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
I recently watched a disturbing video based on a true story about a pastor who was definitely on fire and effective in sharing the gospel—a prime target for the enemy. At one point he began questioning God’s character which balances both love and justice. In his words, “We need to re-think God.”
As believers we have no problem accepting God’s love. His justice shouldn’t be a conflict either when we think of it coupled to another of His attributes—mercy. Can you imagine a caring teacher or a loving parent who always demonstrated love without justice? Or justice without love and mercy? In each case the result would be a nightmare. In extremes, the result would be a child or adult who would be an emotionally dysfunctional mess with no direction, and not feeling loved either.
Through His mercy, the penalty for our sin was paid for by ultimate love—God sent His beloved Son, Jesus Christ as our substitute. Compared to the eternal consequences, our part is easy. If we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we are saved. And living according to His plan (laws/guidelines) is a benefit to us as individuals and a favor to the human race.
False teachers are not new. They began at the beginning of the first century church. Paul warned that people will turn away from truth and gather around teachers who say “what their itching ears want to hear.”
Today, Hollywood effectively does this all the time.
The above scripture from Peter cautions us to be vigilant. It is so easy to fall into a set of beliefs that seem loving and accepting, but in fact are destructive. And nothing pleases the enemy more than confusing and bringing down believers.
The life of faith in the truths of scripture may step on our toes rather than tickle our ears, but the truths of the scripture bring guidance and stability; grace and mercy; wisdom and comfort…and eternal life.