Will He Find Faith
Why did Christ question the faith of modern day followers? That is exactly what He did when He said, “…when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8).
Surely, when thirty two percent of the world’s current population claim to be Christian, faith abounds? Did He underestimate the power of His ministry and the success of His message, or is there something wrong with our faith today? Is it possible that many have been deceived and perhaps their faith is in vain? What will He find when He returns?
Christ knew that after He departed false teachers would enter the church, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20.29-30). He warned them to - “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:15).
He said that many would be deceived by people teaching in His name, “Jesus… …said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5). They are false prophets, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (verse 11). They would even perform miracles in His name, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (verse 24).
Christ said they would work iniquity, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23).
The faith of these men and their followers is questionable because they resist truth, “…so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” (II Timothy 3:8). God is working with people from all walks of life who when they discover the truth embrace it - not like these who resist it. They are, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (II Timothy 3:7). Paul said that their iniquitous work had already begun in his time, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work:” (II Thessalonians 2:7).
That work of iniquity was the preaching of lawlessness. False teachers have turned the grace of God into lasciviousness, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4). Lasciviousness is another word for wantonness - it means living without restraint, unruly, indulgent, undisciplined, unmanageable, thoughtlessly cruel, insolent, arrogant and unjust.
They say that those under grace are no longer bound by the law. They teach that Christ nailed the law to the cross, that He fulfilled the law and there is no need to obey. But if the law is not taught and practiced then sin abounds because sin is the transgression of the law, “…for sin is the transgression of the law.” (I John 3:4). And it is because sin abounds that love waxes cold, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12).
Christ Confirmed the Law
If Christ had done away with the law as they claim, why did He say to the young man, “…if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matthew 19:17-19)? He made it very clear that He was talking about the Ten Commandments.
Christ also confirmed the two overriding concepts from which the Ten Commandments extend, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40). The first four commandments define how to express love toward God and the remaining six, how to express love toward neighbour.
The love toward God and neighbour has waxed cold in this day and age because of the iniquity taught by false teachers. Paul predicted that the prevailing nature in the ‘Christian’ community of our time would be self-focussed, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (II Timothy 3:1-5). They have an outward appearance of Christianity, but love the pleasures of this world more than they love God.
As a result of false teaching they do not believe that they need to do anything to overcome sin - therefore sin (iniquity) abounds. Because they do not believe they need to stop sinning and change their lives, they deny the very power that can help them to make those changes. That is why Christ questioned their faith. Paul said that only those who keep the law that will be justified, “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” (Romans 2:13).
On the other hand there are those who promote God’s law only to the extent of those commandments that Christ verbally confirmed during His Ministry. They say He did not confirm the Sabbath commandment so that is the one commandment they can ignore. But what they are ignoring is the fact that Christ confirmed the Sabbath commandment by example, “…as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” (Luke 4:16). He was lord of the Sabbath, “And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” (Luke 6:5). And by example cleared the Sabbath of the restrictions the Pharisees had burdened it with. He said, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:” (Mark 2:27). It was made for man - not just the Jews.
Contrary to what many believe it was not a ‘Jewish Sabbath’. The seventh day (Saturday) was ordained by God to be kept by man back in the time of Adam, “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Genesis 2:3). It was incorporated into the law at the time of the creation which existed prior to Mt Sinai. It was included in the Ten Commandments that were voiced by God at Mt Sinai and used as the basis of the Old Covenant.
Traditions of Men
The Old Covenant was an agreement by which Israel was to keep commandments that were already in existence, “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (Genesis 26:5). The Old Covenant was eventually replaced by a New Covenant which is an agreement by which individuals are bound to keep those same Ten Commandments. The Sabbath command is one of the ten. God did not change the Sabbath from the seventh day (Saturday) to the first of the week (Sunday). Men who entered the early church unawares (Jude 4:1) took authority to themselves and changed the day that God had ordained, sanctified and incorporated into law. They resisted the truth and taught believers to follow traditions that they introduced themselves.
Christ castigated the Jews for following traditions of men, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3)because they negated the commandment of God, “Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” (verse 6). He said, “… in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (verse 9).
Christ also said, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven:” (Matthew 5:19). This does not imply that those who break the law, or teach others to break the law, will be in the Kingdom - it is simply saying that in retrospect they will be referred to as least by those who will be in the Kingdom.
Unless they repent and teach the truth, these false prophets shall not enter God’s Kingdom, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie:” (Revelation 21:27). Nor will their followers, “… in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy;” (I Timothy 4:1-2).
Satan detests the commandments because they epitomise God’s divine nature and His way of life. That is why he is in conflict with those who keep God’s commandments, “... and (the dragon i.e. Satan) went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:17). Satan works through false teachers to draw people away from the love of God, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (II Corinthians 11:14-15).
Be on your guard, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (I Peter 5:8) because Satan has deceived the whole world, “Satan, which deceiveth the whole world:” (Revelation 12:9). And he wants to prevent you from entering God’s Kingdom.
Just as he seduced Adam and Eve into believing a lie that led them to disobey an express command, Satan has through the lies of false teachers deceived many to ignore God’s commandments. Faith is the confidence we have in what we believe. If what we believe is based on lies, then our faith is misplaced. Faith misplaced is faith in vain.
Is it any wonder that Christ questions the faith of modern day ‘Christians’? How many of the thirty two percent of the world’s current population who claim to be Christian have a faith based on truth? How many have been seduced into believing lies? What will Christ find when He returns?