Deuteronomy 13:1-4 ESV
“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.”
Now, this is the Old Testament under the Old Covenant, but some of what is being taught here applies to our lives under the New Covenant. For in the New Testament we are warned against false teachers who would lead us astray to follow after “other gods” and false teachings. And in the New Testament we also read about how God tests us to see if our faith is genuine, not that he doesn’t know, but so we will know, so that if it isn’t we have the opportunity to rectify that by surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ to follow after him the rest of our days.
So, the point here is that, even if someone calling himself or herself a prophet gives you a sign or a wonder, and that sign or wonder comes true, but if he then tells you to do something contrary to what the Scriptures teach, then you are not to listen to that person. And this applies to anyone, whether an acclaimed prophet or not, who tells you what is contrary to the teachings of the Scriptures. But please test what they say against the Scriptures in full context, for you might be disregarding the truth and embracing the lie if you do not.
But let me share something else pertinent to this subject, too, for not everything that is called “The Holy Bible,” is, in fact, the Word of God in truth. For we seem to be getting more and more new “translations” of the Scriptures which are not all translations but are more like transliterations and/or commentaries, and not all of these are recognized as true biblical translations. And I just recently learned of a fairly new one called “The Passion Translation” which I immediately had concerns about. But I am certain it is not the only one to call into question.
Now let me also state this. Only the original manuscripts penned by the writers of the Scriptures under the inspiration of God are without error. And as far as I am aware, the translations of the Scriptures that we have in our possession today were not translated from the original manuscripts but from copies of the originals. So, our translations of the Scriptures are not without error, but the ones which are most accredited as being accurate are trustworthy translations.
My favorites are the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the New International Version (NIV’84), the English Standard Version (ESV) and the King James Version (KJV). But I would recommend against The Message translation (MSG) and The Passion Translation (TPT), just from the little bit I know of both of these transliterations (commentaries), for I believe both of these take liberties which are contrary to the teachings of the Scriptures, at least in some areas, and so they can be toxic to the life of the Christian if they are taken literally and applied to our lives [See (1) and (2) below].
But it isn’t just via these written transliterations (commentaries) where we can be led astray to believe something is truth that may not be truth. Lies abound just about everywhere you look these days. So much is being altered and twisted and made to say something different from what the Scriptures really teach. And we are hearing it in preacher’s sermons, and we are reading it in memes on social media and in people’s social media posts and over the radio and on TV and on the internet on various sites and in videos and misquoted Scriptures coming from politicians and actors, etc.
And so many people today, many of whom profess faith in Jesus Christ, are accepting these diluted and altered messages without question if they come from someone they approve of, or if they are in a social media meme and are disguised as truth, for so many of these lies are hidden and disguised and so cleverly blended in with the truth that most people don’t see them. They are like subliminal messages which they don’t take consciously into their minds and hearts but they are taking them in, all the same. And they are toxic (poisonous, deadly) if what they are teaching is false.
So, we need to be people of God who are testing what we read and hear against the Scriptures (from reputable translations) in CONTEXT so that we are not led astray by what is being falsely taught. And if we are those who are walking in obedience to our Lord, and who are living holy lives, and so we are in tune with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit within us should nudge us when we read or hear something that doesn’t seem right or which is obviously not right.
And then we should follow that gentle nudging in our spirits and take the time to research what is being said to see if it matches up with the Scriptures (from reputable translations). And if it doesn’t, and if what it is teaching is contrary to the Scriptures, and so it is an altered and diluted version of what the Scriptures actually teach, then we are to reject it. And then we are to embrace the truth of the Scriptures and follow after what is truly of God and not of the thinking of humans.
And one of the biggest lies today which is being taught is that we can make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ once in our lives and now all our sins are forgiven and heaven is guaranteed us when we die, but regardless of how we live. For the Scriptures teach that we must die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that we must walk in obedience to his commands (New Covenant) and not in sin. For if sin is what we practice, and if righteous living and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, then we will not inherit eternal life with God, regardless of what our lips profess.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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