Having warned us of the importance of finding the strait gate, it should be no surprise that Jesus follows up by warning us to beware of false prophets.  There are very many who will teach us contrary to the doctrine of our beloved Lord and His apostles.  There are many who say that we are born again by performing religious ordinances, or that we are justified by a combination of God’s grace and our works.  Such are false prophets.  Equally false are those who say that once we profess faith in Christ, there is nothing else to worry about, and we can proceed on our way with no more concern about our spiritual state.  These false prophets will be known by their fruits.  Those who trust in their own goodness and the performance of certain rituals to be justified before God, will inevitably be discovered to be whitewashed sepulchers, like the Pharisees.  They may present a pretty veneer, but their hearts are full of malice, covetousness, and envy.  In their hearts, and likely in their private lives, they are abounding in every manner of sin.  So also will be the fruit of he who teaches an antinomian doctrine, which makes the grace of God a license to sin.  This, if anything, is more damnable than the latter error.  Any form of religion, no matter how loudly it may cry out “grace,” and all the good words of the Gospel, if it does not produce holiness in heart and conduct, it is a destructive falsehood.

All such teachers, regardless of their stripe, are ravening wolves who are perverting the Gospel for their own ends.  They are more interested in filling the pews and the offering plate than they are in teaching the pure Word of God, else they could not have fallen into such pernicious errors.  It is no secret in any portion of the Bible that the grace of God and holiness of life are inseparable.  Real faith manifests itself in heartfelt service to God, as Hebrews 11 demonstrates.  Therefore, when we see a preacher whose converts are carnal, covetous, and lascivious in their lives, then it is likely we are confronted with a false prophet.

To apply this to ourselves, we ought to be very careful about whose ministry we put ourselves under.  We want a man who teaches the glory of Christ crucified, that His blood and His righteousness are our only hope of being justified with God.  We want a man also who proclaims that this grace of God which saves us so freely also teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.  Any man who does not strike this proper balance is very likely to lead us into grievous error.

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