“Beware of False Prophets!”
False Prophets and A False View of Sin
False prophets are always in error about all things essential to salvation. They talk about God, but have no idea who God is. They preach about Jesus, but do not know the Lord Jesus Christ from a gourd. They talk about the Spirit, but have no idea who the Spirit of God is or what his work is. The god they preach is no God at all. “They pray unto a god that cannot save.” The Christ they preach is a false Christ. And the spirit they preach is another spirit. Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ warns us, “Beware of false prophets!” Here are two marks by which false prophets are identified.
The Character of Sin
As they are heretical in all other essential matters, false prophets are also errant regarding the nature of sin. The false prophet makes sin an outward act rather than an inward principle (1 Tim. 4:1-3). Whereas, the Word of God declares sin to be an inward principle of corruption from which all acts of evil spring. In other words: -- We are not sinners because we do bad things; but we do bad things because we are sinners.
If sin is something I do, then all I have to do to get better is quit doing certain things. That is exactly the principle upon which all false religion operates. That is why legalism is found and appears to work everywhere in the religious world outside the kingdom of God. This is precisely what the Apostle Paul warned us of in 1 Timothy 4:1-3.
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."
Sin is not something I do. It is what I am. It is not my behavior, but my being that is abhorrently evil. Because my problem is inward more than outward, I need regeneration not reformation.
The Confession of Sin
If we would be saved we must confess our sin, not to a priest, a preacher, or a church, but to God Almighty. Like the publican of old, we must rip open our hearts before God, bowing before him with our vile hearts and souls utterly naked, looking to the blood and righteousness of Christ alone, and cry, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” May God grant you the grace to do so for Christ’s sake. Amen