The Most Dangerous Man in the Assembly

Neil Girrard

Scriptures Referenced in This Article:
          (Follow the Scripture links if you want to study the Scriptures for yourself.)
Jdgs. 21:25 π Isa. 14:14 π Mt. 7:22-23 π Mt. 24:10 π Mt. 24:12 π Mt. 24:24 π Mt. 26:22 π Lk. 22:3 π Jn. 6:64 π Rom. 12:2 π 1 Cor. 8:1 π Gal. 5:17 π Eph. 6:12 π Col. 2:19 π 2 Ths. 2:3 π 2 Ths. 2:7 π 1 Tim. 1:18 π 1 Tim. 1:19-20 π 2 Tim. 2:16 π 2 Tim. 2:26 π Jas. 4:7 π 2 Pet. 2:13-14 π Jude 8 π Jude 10 π Jude 12
Greek Words Mentioned in This Article
Lawlessness, “Iniquity” (KJV) anomia – [458]

Paul warned Timothy of Hymenaeus and Alexander who rejected “faith and a good conscience” and as a result “suffered shipwreck concerning the faith.” ( 1 Tim. 1:19-20 ) Paul gave Timothy a second warning when he wrote, “But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.” ( 2 Tim. 2:16; top )

Peter warned his readers of false teachers whom he described as “spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls.” ( 2 Pet. 2:13-14 ) Similarly, Jude warned his readers, “These dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. …these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves.” ( Jude 8 , 10 , 12; top )

Jesus warned, “False christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” ( Mt. 24:24; top )

Men with superior “spiritual” knowledge, superior “anointing,” drunk on their own peculiar doctrines and interpretations based, not on truth but on deception, so confident of the things they think they know (their “theology”) they no longer regard anyone except themselves – even the devil is their laughingstock – and what they really practice is spiritual adultery, idolatry. These are not those who have never known the way of truth – these have strayed from the truth and wrecked the “ship” of their once genuine faith. These could be summed up in another description used by Paul – “not holding fast to the Head [Christ Jesus], from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.” ( Col. 2:19; top )

Right here we should immediately see the strategy of the devil and the demonic – to lure men, by whatever means attains to this end, to loosen their grip on the Head of the body. Over-indulgence of the body, soul or even spirit is one means. Raising up men to draw followers after themselves and away from Christ is another. Pumping the mind and heart so full of knowledge, even factual Biblical knowledge, that there is no room for the Person and Spirit of truth to reside and reign in the life is yet another. There are indeed many numerous ways to subtly and negligently relinquish one’s grasp on the Head Christ Jesus.

But perhaps the most insidious means of all is to lure the man into lawlessness. Because the Greek word used in several key passages (anomia [ 458 ] – Mt. 24:12 , 2 Ths. 2:7 , etc.) was for many centuries translated in English by “iniquity,” most people don’t recognize just what Jesus and the writers of the New Testament were warning against. The “definition” of anomia is best seen in the description of the Israelites shortly after the time of Joshua: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” ( Jdgs. 21:25; top ) Most people rightly equate “iniquity” with blatant, visible evil, even outright criminality and debauchery. But this is not what anomia, lawlessness, means.

Lawlessness is simply the absence of any outside source by which one is to order his life and behaviors. The one who practices lawlessness, that is, does what is right in his own eyes, will not likely seem to be an evil man. He will attend the “church” of his preference (even an out-of-“church” “church”!) and he will be careful to do all the things he thinks God approves of and he will take special care to know and believe all the “right” (in his own opinion, of course) doctrines and “theologies.” But all these war against the man ever learning to sit quietly at the Master’s feet until such a time as He raises the man up to attend to some business of the kingdom of the light. All these things strengthen the flesh’s ability to appear religious and moral even as they strangle away the life of the Spirit within. ( Gal. 5:17 ) This is why many will appear before the Lord on the last day and say, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” but the Lord will say to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness [what is right in your own eyes]!” ( Mt. 7:22-23; top )

These lawless ones are “blots in your love feast” but this truth is only spiritually discerned or brought into the light over time. Only Jesus knew beforehand who His betrayer was ( Jn. 6:64 ) – on the night of His betrayal, the disciples were still asking, “Lord, is it I?”! ( Mt. 26:22 ) The other disciples saw no reason to suspect Judas Iscariot – and they at least had enough spirituality to recognize that it might be themselves who was capable of betraying Jesus! But the real culprit, who would even be entered into by Satan ( Lk. 22:3; top ) remained unrecognized for what he was – until inevitable events necessarily brought out into the light what dark choices had been made. No, the lawless ones don’t wear t-shirts that advertise, “Hey, I’m really just being my own God on the inside,” though if one takes some time to get to know them (something not likely to happen at a “church”!), this can become readily apparent in some who have not truly learned to use all the polished and sophisticated cover-ups of the religiously well-experienced “church”-ites.

The “pastor” and staff members, who have attended and graduated from some seminary, Bible school or other “theological” indoctrination tool, is all the more able to display a gentle and mild “pastoral” façade – they have been trained to believe that is the way God would have them be! But neither the “pastor” nor the others around him can explain why there is a second, secret side, almost another entire personality, to him than the one of polished eloquence and superior spirituality that he so carefully displays from the pulpit or when he considers himself on public display.

The most dangerous kind of Christian is one whose knowledge has been gleaned apart from experience with God. The “church” teaches us most how to glean intellectual (but not spiritual) knowledge about God all without having any real (and certainly not deep!) experiences with God. The unrenewed mind ( Rom. 12:2 ) can know many “theological” facts but never have one ounce of spiritual truth. The devil knows (and quotes!) the Bible more extensively than any man alive. The man whose knowledge is intellectually (and not spiritually) based does not even yet know of the vast difference between the two kinds of knowledge and has little or no ability to discern which is truth and which is empty knowledge that puffs up. ( 1 Cor. 8:1; top ) This one will travel miles, scour many a website and endure countless blog sites to find those who agree with him and his own peculiar doctrines and private interpretations and soulish knowledge but will find it all but impossible to set aside all that he thinks he knows, sit quietly at the Master’s feet and wait quietly until He returns the valid parts of that knowledge re-vitalized and imbued with new spiritual life that gives life.

The one who holds a vast storehouse of “theological” facts is the most dangerous kind of Christian precisely because he thinks he has knowledge worth attaining and a gospel worth embracing when the truth is otherwise. For far too long, the people who name the name of Christ have been content to cloister themselves away in their self-congratulating, feel-good social clubs they call “church,” too busy keeping their eyes on their own self-generated image and ideas of who Jesus is and ways to worry very much about any rumored deceptions and schemes the devil (who is just some stupid idiot that Christ totally defeated at the cross anyway) might have enacted against them. For far too long, the soldiers of Christ have not known the traits and tactics of their enemy – indeed most don’t believe or behave like there is even a war on! – and the result has been a very long list of casualties, casualties not killed in action but rather taken captive to do the will of Satan and become the apostasy, the great falling away from the faith. ( 2 Tim. 2:26 , Mt. 24:10 , 2 Ths. 2:3; top )

The people who truly follow Christ must again see themselves as engaged in the war that was begun when Satan first rose up to be like the Most High. ( Isa. 14:14 ) It is time to hear again Paul’s exhortation to “wage the good warfare” ( 1 Tim. 1:18 ) and begin again to wrestle against our spiritual enemies. ( Eph. 6:12 ) We must, yes, first submit to God but then resist the devil. ( Jas. 4:7; top )

Have we only escaped one form of “church” to become merely another form of the apostasy, the out-of-“church” “church”? Or are we truly determined to press on wherever Christ will take us? It is possible, even prevalent among those who have left the “church,” to have all the “right” things to say and not know by what (demonic) spirit we say them. That so few know the truth of this state of affairs is further testimony to how many dangerous men hide out in our assemblies.

Let he who has ears hear.

I’d love to hear comments and/or questions from you! Email me!

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