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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Titus 3:10-11 A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

Here is the only place in the Bible where the word translated "heretic" is found. As used here, the word means any person who commits the sin of heresy, who also professes beliefs that are contrary to, and oppose, the true biblical doctrine of the body of Christ, His church, as given to the world in the Holy Spirit-inspired word of God. A heretic is one guilty of the sin of heresy, another word found only once, while its plural, heresies is found three times in the King James Version of the New Testament. The apostle Paul, in his defense before the Roman governor, Felix, was falsely accused of heresy by the Jewish high priests and elders (See Acts 24, specifically verse 14).

The plural of this word, heresies, is used in Galatians 5:19-21, and is listed among sixteen other works of the flesh, followed by this true statement from God's inspired word, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Paul told us that there were also heresies actively working against, but were still allowed to remain the members of the church of Christ in Corinth. This unrestrained, sinful situation, created divisions within the body of Christ by openly desecrating the Lord's supper (1 Cor. 11:18-21). Also, the apostle Peter made this prophecy regarding the future sanctity of the churches of Christ: there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction (2 Pet. 2:1). In the lesson text heretics are described as false prophets and teachers that corrupt the New Testament doctrine that was established by the wisdom of God, with untruthful, and erring tenets originated from human wisdom.

To hold an opinion contrary to Christian doctrine, is common in today's world, but to promote and teach it with the intention of dividing the church of Christ, and destroying the unity that God intended to exist, is the work of a heretic. As indicated in verse 9, which precedes the lesson text, a heretic is one that thrives on foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law. Of them, the apostle Paul says that they are unprofitable and vain. Whether it is for covetous material gain or for egotistical self-glory, a heretic desires men and women to follow after them and accept their false teaching as if it were coming from God.

It is a truthful saying that erring sects and false religions are the result of heretics. Consider the "religious" bodies of the world today that have been formed by men and women that claim to have received direct revelations from God, which compromise His inspired word. When heritics invade Christ's church, bring in human doctrines, which alters God's will, the church of Christ ceases to exist, and a false denomination takes its place.

In the final verses of the Holy Spirit-inspired New Testament, we find the assurance that additional revelation from God to mankind will never be needed, and must never take place within the true body of Christ. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Rev. 22:18-19).

This quotation from God's revelation to mankind tells us that, as written, the Bible is sufficient to bring the hope of eternal salvation to all men and women of the world, that believe and obey God's revealed will as found in His inspired word. Obedient faith that leads to eternal life should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (1 Cor. 2:5). God's revealed will was completed with the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of His Son, Jesus Christ, and the establishment of His church on the Day of Pentecost. If this were not true, and if later revelation was necessary, then the apostle Paul could not have fulfilled the word of God by revealing the mystery, which hath been hid from ages and from generations (See Col. 1:25-27).

Paul tells us how we, as faithful Christians, are to deal with heretics that, with human wisdom, teach things contrary to the will of God, and bring about schisms within the body of Christ. We must first warn and admonish them, if necessary, repeat it, and, unless they heed these warnings, Christians, making up the body of Christ, are to reject their false teaching, and refuse fellowship with them. Acts 20:28-30 tells us that such discipline within the body of Christ must be approved, and effectively carried out by the leadership of elders of the congregation. He that is such (a heretic) is subverted. That is, he has turned away from the doctrine designed by the wisdom of God, and turned to an erring way, being led astray by Satan's influence through his own human wisdom or that of another. If such a one knows, and intentionally disobeys the will of God, he condemns himself. If he does so unknowingly, the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God will condemn his heretical actions. Wherever and whenever it takes place, heresy must be condemned and heretics scripturally rejected in order to protect and maintain godly purity within the church of Christ!