And Many Will Follow

The Way of Truth Blasphemed
2 Peter 2:1-3 ESV

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

Song Meanings

Someone suggested to me today that I listen to a particular song. This person usually sends me Christian songs to listen to, so I started to listen to it, but then I realized this song was all about kissing and romance and fantasy and a dreamworld, so I immediately turned it off.

The song stayed in my head, though, so I inquired of the Lord if maybe there was something there he wanted me to hear. So, I researched the lyrics. And just as I said, it is all about fantasy, romance, kissing, and heightened emotions. It is about intoxication to some euphoric feeling.

The title of the song is “Shangri-la,” which is about a remote beautiful and imaginary place, a paradise, a dreamland where you can create your own reality and be whoever you want to be, with whomever you want to be with, doing whatever it is your flesh desires, basically.

And then later in the day I heard from a friend who writes songs, and I remembered a song she wrote many years ago, which was a song she wrote for her husband on their wedding anniversary. I love these words she wrote:

Well, some folks think that “love” means emotion,
So it comes and goes their whole life through.
Some folks never know that when the magic goes,
If you keep on lovin’, it’ll come back to you.
I was so afraid we’d lose the special feeling,
And someday we’d find our love wasn’t true,
But then God opened up my eyes and made me realize,
Love is not what you feel, it’s what you do.
(by Ann Aschauer)

And then I realized, after having read the words to Shangri-La, that it wasn’t by accident that I heard that song today, for the Lord was showing me the contrast between the message in that song and the message in my friend Annie’s song. One was all about emotions. The other was about true love.

Destructive Heresies

But this isn’t really about songs. The message was loud and clear to me. This is the contrast between the cheap grace gospel and the full gospel message taught by Jesus and by his NT apostles. One is all about the flesh and human emotion. The other is about genuine love for God and others.

This, too, is about false teachers who secretly bring in destructive heresies. And the primary one destroying the church right now is the cheap grace gospel. For it denies the Lordship of Jesus Christ over our lives, it is based in the flesh, and it encourages sensuality.

The cheap grace gospel is a fantasy, created in the minds of humans who want to live in a dreamworld where they can choose what they can and cannot do, and where they feel they have the freedom to continue in deliberate, habitual, and premeditated sin against God.

It is a half-truth gospel message, so it deceives many people who think they are hearing the truth, or who want to believe that they are hearing the truth, though certainly their God-given consciences know better. They know right from wrong. Remember, we are all without excuse if we ignore God.

The Christian life is not a dreamworld, though. It is not all about us and what we want and about us feeling good about ourselves. And it isn’t all about what Jesus did for us and nothing about what is required of us. Genuine faith in Jesus Christ results in us dying with Christ to sin, not us continuing in sin guilt free.

Praying a prayer to “receive Christ” does not guarantee you salvation from sin or eternal life with God. Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life for us, and that we might honor him.

Living out the Christian life day to day is not about hanging out with friends and doing and talking about all the same things that non-Christians do and talk about. Living out the Christian life involves surrender to Christ as Lord, and by the Spirit putting to death the deeds of the flesh. And it involves walking in daily obedience to our Lord.

For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we have eternal life.

While They Feast with You
2 Peter 2:12-15 ESV

“But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray.”

“They” doesn’t just mean the false teachers, for some (or many) of their followers do much of the same. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. For, they are self-indulgent and morally and spiritually broken, destroying their own lives and bodies.

They engage in what is shameful, wicked, and debased (corrupt, perverted, immoral and adulterated). This can include men with men and women with women, as well as men or women involved in immoral behaviors with others of the opposite sex or in the fantasy world of pornography.

They use the cheap grace gospel, therefore, to excuse away their sinful behaviors, claiming they are Christians and that they are going to heaven while they know that they are living in deliberate, habitual, and premeditated sin against the Lord and against others.

And they have no conscience about their sinful behaviors. They will lie to you straight to your face and openly and willfully attempt to deceive you into thinking that they are your friends when they are really your enemies. They will eat with you and smile with you while they betray your trust, too.

For, their eyes are full of adultery, with an insatiable appetite for sin and for intoxication to that euphoric feeling they get when they are engaged in sexual immorality or some other sin which gives them that same high. And they are like Satan in that they entice unsteady souls to sin with them.

They will even lay traps for people or “set them up,” hoping that they will fall, for they get great pleasure out of leading others into sin and even watching others engaged in sinful and degrading acts of immorality. They have no conscience about who they hurt in the process, either.

They Entice by Sensual Passions
2 Peter 2:17-19 ESV

“These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”

Even though they claim to be Christians, and they put on a show of righteousness, and some (or many) of them are pastors in churches, they are devoid of the Holy Spirit. Heaven is not their eternal destiny. They are headed straight to hell unless they repent and obey the Lord.

But the sad reality is that many of them are leading hordes of people to follow them and to believe in their false gospel, so they are promising them forgiveness of sins, and they are guaranteeing them entry into God’s heaven, while they leave them dead in their sins, headed to hell, too.

So, we need to be shouting out the truth from the rooftops. We need to be proclaiming that salvation from sin means we die with Christ to sin, and we live to Christ and to his righteousness, and that we don’t continue living in sin without guilt, but that we follow our Lord in obedience to his ways.

For, like Annie says:

But then God opened up my eyes and made me realize,
Love is not what you feel, it’s what you do.

[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:7; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10]

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