The full benefit of the truth of God is ours as we advance in our knowledge of the truth.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31,32)
Those who have started with God can be duped into embracing “another gospel.” Their reception of these beliefs keep them from “obeying” the truth.
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? (Galatians 3:1)
The major problem with error is that it prevents us from finding the true way we should follow.
Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge. (Proverbs 19:27)
Paul refused to return to the law, knowing it would “frustrate” the work of the grace of God in his life.
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Galatians 2:21)
He knew the Galatian’s wrong turn to circumcision was going to hinder their going forward in Christ.
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (Galatians 5:6-9)
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:3)
The Pharisees thought they had found the key to life in their study of the law. But it was this devotion that kept them from the life found in Christ.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:39,40)
If we are to find the knowledge of God, our quest must be diligent AND rightly directed.
Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:3-5)
And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. (2 Timothy 2:5)
But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully (1 Timothy 1:8)
What is the danger of settling into error? When we think we’ve already gotten something, we don’t keep looking. We “call off” the search.
Error poses as the truth which needs to be believed and implemented. When men commit themselves to error they no longer continue in the truth which could have established them in the faith.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (Galatians 5:1-4)
As predicted by Paul, the world today is moving more and more into a place of deception.
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13)
In order to become “wise” in the salvation which is in Christ, Paul urged Timothy to continue in scripture and the things he had taught him.
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
False teachers err in both directions: they either make things too complicated or overly simple. They come up with alternative paths toward perfection. They twist those things which are “hard to be understood” into saying something which they aren’t.
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:15,16)
Being established in the truth protects us from error. Believers who fail to be established in the truth can be led away with the error of the wicked.
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Peter 3:17)
If we are to be kept from false teachings we must continue to grow in the knowledge of Christ.
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)
When they embrace false teaching, believers fail to become established in the faith; fall from their steadfastness; and are robbed (i.e., “spoiled”) of the knowledge of Christ that could have been theirs.
For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:5-8)
The people in Jeremiah’s day had grown accustomed to the lies of the false prophets. They loved their “ministries.”
A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Jeremiah 5:30,31)
When Israel received the “wisdom” of the false prophets, and held fast deceit, they were prevented from hearing the truth which could have saved them.
Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return? Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. (Jer. 8:4,5)
The people were not saved from destruction because when a true cure was available, they took a false cure.
The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? (Jeremiah 8:20-22)
Isaiah blamed the destruction of the people on leaders who led them astray.
For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed. (Isaiah 9:16)
God said had there been more true prophets speaking His word, the people would have been convicted of their sin and repented.
I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. (Jeremiah 23:21,22)
False diagnoses lead to diseases killing people. Where sin is left unreproved, people die in their sins.
What thing shall I take to witness for thee? what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee? Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment. (Lamentations 2:13,14)
Jeremiah bemoaned that his people were not “valiant for the truth. “ Their failure to know God and His truth made them vulnerable to “proceed from evil to evil.”
Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD. (Jer. 9:1-3)
When we embrace the false doctrine that refuses a place for weakness, want, or suffering in the life of the believer we cannot gain gold through the trials we face.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:17,18)
Paul never stopped learning and growing. He was instructed everywhere and in all things. He knew how to go without and suffer need. He learned Christ as he faced the hard classrooms of life God placed him in.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:11-13)