All we, like sheep, have gone astray. Massive and compelling error has smitten the Shepherd and scattered the sheep. Brilliantly executed and compounded over eons of time, voices not from God threaten our very souls. How we need to pray for critical judgment to try the spirits to see if they be from God! Our very lives here and hereafter depend upon it. This prayer and the Sword in the hand of the Spirit are our weapons against error -- whether taught by good but misguided men, or pure spiritual evil in high places. We have never failing weaponry, but it must be utilized.
The world is fraught with physical danger, but far more perilous is the subverting of our souls by other voices than the Shepherd's. Surely greater is the power that is in us than the power that is in the world, but only if we use it to discern between good and evil. Only God will know what to do with men who are honestly mistaken and teach others so; but it's up to us not to fall under their influence. We are individually responsible for trying the spirits to see if they come from God -- and we do have the necessary equipment: prayer, the written Word and the presence of the Holy Spirit. But the process is not automatic or reactive. It is pro-active and a constant choice.
Every age since the world began, I suppose, has had its questionable voices and ideas -- some insignificant and some soul-threatening. It may not have mattered soul-wise whether we thought the world was round or flat (although Scripture affirmed its roundness all along), but it did matter that men believe that God spoke it into existence whatever its shape. And the ancients got all caught up in mythology -- remarkably contrived and entertaining. Paul tried to give identity to their "Unknown God." Some believed and some didn't. Trade unions and the great goddess Diana won out in Ephesus. It has ever been thus; as long as men have free will, it will continue to be so. There will always be a choice of all that's out there. But in every era of the world, men will have both the right and the responsibility to try the spirits. Whatever age we live in and whatever ideas assail us, we must use the equipment God has given us to make right choices.
Today rampant among us, dangerously wrapped in social acceptance, are ideas that fail the divine-origin test. But where there's conflict, let God be true and every man a liar -- no matter his standing in society. For instance, Scripture does not support significance attached to nationality this side of the cross. If Peter was a slow learner (the sheet had to be let down three times), what does that make us if we are still teaching and believing that Jews have a special destiny? But that teaching flourishes all across the electronic spectrum without noticeable challenge. Another baseless idea -- evolution -- is in all our biology textbooks with most of society's approval. But printing it year after year does not make it so no matter how many graduate degrees are cited. When weighed in the scales of eternal Truth, the spirit of evolution comes from man and not God. The impossibility of apostasy is still taught unblushingly. And how the devil must grin at that! Other religious leaders are placed on the same level as the Son of God, when Jesus Himself said, "No man comes to the Father but by me." He is singular, or He is not even truthful.
How slippery is that slope when we believe what men say without checking it by divine safety nets! Matters must be weighed prayerfully and carefully, and if they are found wanting, they must be rejected unequivocally without a backward glance. It is dangerous to leave our position ill-defined and in the shadows -- dangerous to ourselves as well as those whom we influence.
No idea in any generation ought to be blanketed or grandfathered in. In every age every man must try the spirits. Sheep that do not recognize and follow the Shepherd's voice will inevitably be scattered. Those who do follow His voice can never be snatched from the Father's hand: present and eternal security.
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them to me is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." John 10:27- 29.
Published in The Old Paths Archive