The Danger of False Brethren

Michael Beck

“In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren” (2 Corinthians 11:26)

Scripture prophesied that the Messiah would be wounded where one would least expect it. “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” (Zech. 13:6) He warned His disciples that they would experience the same: “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (Matt. 10:36)

Paul listed all the dangers he faced as a servant of Christ. Not only was he imperiled by antagonistic unbelievers in the towns he entered, but he also had to contend with attacks from “false brethren” (2 Cor. 11:26). He prophesied of a last days apostasy where perilous times would come and men would be lovers of their own selves and despisers of those who were good. Standing for God in this day will put you squarely in the crosshairs of those who claim to stand for man.

The pain of betrayal is hard to be borne.

“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” (Psalm 55:12-14)

The griefs we cannot bear, Jesus bore. The sorrows we cannot carry, Jesus carried. He who kept God’s law was deemed a transgressor by the disobedient. He who honored the Father was charged with blasphemy by those devoid of the love of the Father. And yet, from the cross where they nailed Him, He interceded for them.

The real danger from false brethren is not their willingness to turn us over to earthly authorities to be punished for our “crimes;” the danger is that we will be overcome by their evil, cursing and hating them for their self-righteousness and slander. David prayed a prayer of imprecation against his false brethren: “Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell” (Psalm 55:15).

A greater one than Solomon, or his father, has come. We don’t follow David; we follow the Son of David. This day of apostasy is a day of great temptation. Iniquity abounds. The love of many is waxing cold. A form of godliness is rising. Through the Spirit of Christ, we are called to love both the sinner and the false saint. Only the love of Christ will protect our hearts from the wounds we receive in the house of our “friends.”

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.