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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

SOME SHALL DEPART

1 Tim 4:1-5 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

Much has already been said to Timothy about the redemption from one's sins, and the hope of eternal salvation, that was made available, by God, to all mankind, through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, and the fact that these spiritual blessings can be found only in the house of God, which is the church of Christ. God's plan of salvation had been a mystery from the beginning of time. But in these latter times, since the coming of Jesus into the world, God made it known through His Holy Spirit, which spoke expressly to all people of the world, through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and His chosen apostles. This revelation took place on the Day of Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ, and His ascension back into heaven. On this holy day, Peter, and the other apostles, preached the Holy Spirit-inspired gospel message of salvation through Christ, to all that were assembled in Jerusalem.

The words containing God's message of salvation that were spoken on that day, concluded with this pleading call to the world: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. All that heard, and obeyed His call - thosethat gladly received His word, were baptized into the body of Christ, and were added, by God, to Jesus' chosen apostles, as His own. In the days that followed the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved (Acts 2:38,41,47). From this we know that the saved were those that had been then, and still are today, added to the church, which is the body of Christ, of which He is its Head. Likewise, we know that those added to the chruch,were those that were saved. The question that was misunderstood then, is still debated today is, once one believes, repents of his or her past sins, confesses Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and Savior of the world, and is baptized into His body, is the salvation promised by God assurance?

By inspiration, Paul answers this question here in the lesson text. In the latter times, which assuredly is the Christian dispensation, ...some shall depart from the faith - from the faith by which they heard God's call to salvation, obeyed His will, and, by Him, were added to the church of Christ. Indeed, Christians once saved are not saved forever. Obedience is necessary, as is continual prayer for the forgiveness of sins that may, at times, be committed. Also faith must be demonstrated by works of charity, using our talents to the best of our abilities, and teaching the word of God to others by the things we say and do. Then it is necessary to assemble and fellowship with other members of the church of Christ in bible studies and worship services to God. All are necessary in order to receive God's grace and inherit a home in heaven.

Not all Christians will be saved; ...some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. Using the inspired word of God, Jesus overcame all temptations of Satan (Matt. 4:1-10). With Jesus as our example, we are assured that God has given us the same power (See 1 John 2:13-14, 4:3-4). This is exactly what Paul tells us in his letter to the church of Christ in Corinth. He wrote, Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Cor. 10:12-13).

The lesson text tells us thatsome shall depart from the faith, but it will be of their own free will - preferring to follow the doctrines of devils. Those that Satan convinces to reject God and follow their own worldly desires, will attempt to lead other Christians astray, by teaching them to also follow the doctrines of devils. They will attempt to do it by speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them, which believe and know the truth.

When Satan cannot convince Christians to abandon God and seek worldliness, he will attempt to show them that they are not holy enough to deserve the God of heaven. To do so, they will teach lies in hypocrisy,that is,without having a conscience that will convict them of misleading Christians into error. Knowing that they are teaching lies, they will hold themselves up as examples of superior holiness, by abstinence from marriage, and without the eating of meats. Devil-inspired false preachers falsely taught that such self-sacrificing denial of marriage and meat eating, was more favorable in the eyes of God, and would bring to them godly merit and praise through such abstinence.

Devilish counsel such as this, Paul says, is absurd. The institution of marriage was ordained by God from the beginning of time (See Gen. 2:18-24), and confirmed by His Son, Jesus Christ (Matt. 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9). Certainly the apostle Paul was completely aware of God's laws of marriage. The writer to the Hebrew Christians assures us that marriage is honorable in all (Heb. 13:4a). Such teachings are totally contrary to God's laws, for the propagation of mankind throughout the world; the world He created for them to inhabit. How hypocritical it is to teach celibacy, as pleasing to the same God that created men and women to be united in marriage, form god-fearing families, and faithfully serve Him through all generations.

Although the Jewish nation had certain restrictions on the foods they were to eat, these same laws did not apply to other Gentile nations, nor does it apply to people living under the Christian dispensation. There is no time, in the New Testament era, where God commands His children to abstain from certain foods. They are, at all times, to be received with thanksgiving of them (Christians), which believe and know the truth. By inspiration Paul gives us the truth of God regarding this often-misunderstood matter. (T)he kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom. 14:17). Also the abstinence of meat does not recommend us more favorably in the sight of God. To Him, this matter is of no importance. Paul wrote this truth of God to the Christians of Corinth: But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse (1 Cor. 8:8).

And this is exactly what Paul told young Timothy in the lesson text. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. Indeed, it is hypocritical to contend that some things created by God, for the sustenance of mankind, are unclean, while other things are clean. If God made it as food for the physical body, it is good. All things received, as God's gifts to men and women of the world, are to be considered pure, and these gifts are to be received with thanksgiving. Such meats are sanctified by the word of God, and should be thankfully accepted by all His children with prayer.

Although some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, the lesson text implores all Christians to remain faithful to the word of God. Members of the church of Christ are urged not to depart from the faith, rather to steadfastly believe and know the truth.