False claims are a regular feature in the British press. A few recent ones include – false benefit claims, false identity claims, false expenses claims, false dietary supplement claims and false healing claims.
Teaching in the first Epistle of John can be summarised in a few words: False teaching always leads to false living and false morality. John wrote his epistles to counteract false teaching and they contain an apt message for the twenty first century.
One false claim was that of claiming to have fellowship with God and yet to be walking in the darkness instead of the light (1 John 1:6). John is speaking of two lifestyles – one living a lie, characterised by sin, error and falsehood; the other characterised by holiness and truth. There can be no compromise. To walk in the light means that there is nothing to hide - absolute sincerity – and the consequence is unbroken fellowship with God.
A second false claim was to be without sin – sinless, in the sense of not owning the sins of the old, fallen nature which no-one escapes (1 John 1:8). Such people deceive themselves and the truth is not in them. Subtle sins are not readily recognised even in a believer’s life - sins of self-centredness, self-pity, self-righteousness, self-rejection, self- idolatry and many more self-sins. Deception has three sources – other people, the devil and oneself. The first two are easier to recognise than the third. People deceive themselves when they think they’re right, but they’re wrong.
A third false claim was not to have sinned when the opposite was true (1 John 1:10). It’s possible to agree, in theory, that sin breaks our fellowship with God, and that it does exist in our nature, and yet deny that we have sinned in practice and thus put ourselves out of fellowship with God. In the context of John’s writings, false teaching made God out to be a liar, not lining up with the truth about Jesus.
For us in the twenty first century all sorts of distortions of biblical teaching are around. At root these are always to do with what we think of Jesus. Teaching that claims to take the hearers into deeper truths beyond Scripture, and to a fuller life which appeals to the old nature, is error, and is deceptive. To profess knowledge of God without a holy life, without a deep break with sin and a deep love for other Christians, doesn’t line up with the word of God.
C.S. Lewis commented that we believe the sun has risen, not because we see it, but because by it we see everything else. The believer can say they believe that Jesus has risen. ‘In Him is the fountain of life and in His light we see light’ (Psalm 36:9). The only way to walk as Jesus walked is to keep in living intimate relationship with Jesus in obedience to His teaching. This is the cure for any love of any sin.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, today I want to walk as Jesus did in obedience and unbroken fellowship with You. If there are areas of falseness in my life will You please convict me by the Holy Spirit, and give me grace to count intimacy with You of the greatest value. I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship. Provided full acknowledgement is made to Seeds of the Kingdom as the source, you are also welcome to use it in a non-commercial way and reproduce it in magazines or other Christian websites. The copyright for any commercial use of the material remains with Ellel Ministries International.