Psalm 119:125 I am your servant; give me discernment.
Discernment is to be desired. We are to pray for discernment. And then we are to wield it. Why is discernment important? Well Jesus himself tells us in Mark 13:22:
For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
WILL perform signs and wonders, false signs and wonders that is. These are signs and wonders that are real “wonders” but are not of God. How do we determine if it’s of God? Discernment. By using His Word. Those who defend false teachers do one of two things. They either appeal to Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” or they appeal to John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Lets address each one:
- Matthew 7:1. This scripture says we shouldn’t judge because the method we used will be measured against us. If I decide on my own accord to use judgment, then I am putting myself in the place of God. However, if we use God’s Word as our source for discernment, then we apply it to ourselves as well as the actions we are discerning. When we slide down later in the same chapter, we see Jesus warning against false prophets and teachers. In the same chapter He told us to “judge not”. But we must be able to judge if something is biblical.
- John 13:35: The world will know we are Christians by our love for one another. This one is tricky and often use as an excuse to ignore false teaching (even know Jesus tells us to rebuke and flee from false teaching). But they also fail to define love. When you love someone, you do what you can to protect them from things that are harmful. Deceivers are harmful. Even the smallest error, half-truth, or deception is harmful to the Gospel. Thus, it is out of love that we should be warning people of false teaching, especially that masquerading as God’s truth. The motivation or the heart of the false teacher is not relevant here. Whether the teaching can be tested by scripture is the issue. Some very nice and well-meaning people are not saved. Even if they “love on everyone”. That’s not what saves you.
In John 14:6, Jesus declares he is the truth. If that is the case, then no lie, no deception can be found in him. So for the sake of truth, Jesus himself, we must do what we can to expose that which is not true, especially since Jesus himself said it could even possibly fool the elect.
Out of love for people, protect them from false teaching. As I said before and as scripture clearly teaches, we can only be united by truth. When James 2:9 warns us that even the demons believe, our unity must be deeper than belief. It must be rooted in truth. And so should our love. #discernment #truth #biblicallove