Purity of Doctrine – Jerry Moffitt

Jerry Moffitt

There is a clear link between false doctrine and Satan. The Holy Spirit said some shall fall away from the faith, “giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). That is a most interesting phrase—“doctrines of demons.” If it were objective genitive, it would mean “doctrines about demons.” But along with the Greek specialists Vine, Alford, Nicoll, and Vincent, I believe it is genitive of source—“doctrines that emanate from demons.” Conservative commentators who agree are Lenski, DeWelt, Spain, Guthrie and Lock. We are alerted to the importance of this when we recall that Satan is the prince of demons (Matt. 9:34) and that Paul said the following:

Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6 :11-12).

We cannot afford to take doctrine willy-nilly, swallow everything, stand for nothing. If we are not careful, we may give aid to that which is of Satan and originates with demons. Following are some more reasons why we must emphasize the importance of purity of doctrine.

False Doctrine is Used to Spoil Us

Paul said, “Take heed lest there shall be anyone that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit” (Col. 2: 8). The key word here is spoil (Greek sulagogeo). False doctrine can be used to spoil us, to carry us off as booty.

The war of Armageddon is being fought (Rev. 16:16). The great conflict of light and darkness is underway (John 1:5). We are the spoils. We can go to Christ our warrior king (Rev. 19:11-16), or we can be taken as plunder by Satan, demons and false teachers. Let us love purity of doctrine.

Impure Doctrine Can Rob us of Heaven

Paul said, “Let no man rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels” (Col. 2:18). False doctrine damns. Even such tame doctrines as asceticism and reverencing of angels can snatch heaven away from us. o we are not talking of that which is a nuisance or which merely makes us uncomfortable in our Christian walk. We are talking of that which wrenches heaven from our grasp. Let us be devoted to purity of doctrine.

Impure Doctrine Divides

How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity (Ps. 133:1). But Paul said, “Now I beseech you brethren, mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which ye learned: and turn away from them” (Rom. 16:17). Elders need to be on their guard. A false teacher can come in and’ use his false doctrine to wreck everything. Too often in our day factions have been created and the ,flock divided. Let us do all we can to promote that which creates unity—purity of doctrine.

False Doctrine Goes to Any Unholy Extreme

Some wonder what difference doctrine will make. But Jude shows that false teachers will not be satisfied until Jesus is lowered and immorality is rampant. He said, “For there are certain men crept in privily, even they who were of old written of beforehand unto this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

We tend to excuse the false teacher in our day; they are only misguided and misunderstood. But Jude says they are sneaky, slipping in from the side. He says they are impious toward God, and that they were placarded and written of beforehand, as if in a program, so that we could watch out for them. But notice what they do. One, they turn the grace of God into lasciviousness or lewdness. “Oh,” they say, “if you relied only on the grace of God to save you, you would not try to save yourself by being so Victorian, prudish, prim, proper and holyish.”

Two, they get us to deny our only despot and absolute ruler, Jesus the Christ. It is becoming fashionable to talk of Jesus as a great teacher, psychologist and leader; but did he really know what he was talking about? That he is our Lord whose word must be carefully respected, that he is God, that he did miracles to prove it is freely denied. There is no end to which the blasphemy of false doctrine will not hasten in our day. Let us cherish purity of doctrine.

We Can Lose God Through False Doctrine

The apostle John said, “Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God” (2 John 9). Again the evidence is that it is genitive of source, so the “teaching of Christ” is teaching Christ gave us, not merely teaching concerning Christ. Those who go off into traditions of men (Matt. 15:7-9, 13) will lose their communion with God. In Sodom the wicked men of the city were blinded by the angels of God. As if they were in a stupor, they groped for the door of the house with no avail.

But Acts 17: 27 says that men “should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him” (Acts 17: 27). The way to find and keep communion with God is through purity of doctrine. Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). But if one will not keep His word he “hath not God” (2 John 9). Let us strive always for purity of doctrine.

False Doctrine Will Destroy Us

Peter said, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pet. 2:1).

The false teacher himself will be destroyed. They will not have mere condemnation (Greek krino) in the great day. They will be destroyed (Greek apoleia). It is in a context where the fallen angels are punished, cast down to hell (v. 4). Their fate is compared to the wicked at the time of the flood (v. 5), and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (v. 6).

But the sad fact is, not just false teachers are destroyed. They preach heresies which are destructive (v. 1). They form sects of perdition. All who follow them share their fate. How can we get the brethren to see that purity of doctrine is serious business? Let us hunger for purity of doctrine.

False Doctrine Overthrows Faith

Talking of false teachers Paul says: “Their word will eat as doth a gangrene: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; men who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:17-18).

Those who do not stay in the doctrine of Christ will find that impure doctrine will afflict them as an eating sore (Greek gaggraina, from which we get “gangrene”). False doctrine is simply not to be sneezed at. Gangrene kills. But 2 Timothy 2:17-18 also says that their faith will be overthrown (Greek katstrophe, from which we get “catastrophe”). The word katstrophe is used of Jesus’ overturning the money changers’ tables (Matt. 21:12) and sometimes of soil being turned over by a plough. These words are just the type of words the Holy Spirit would use to describe the calamity of a soul being lost.

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