Beware Of Those Who Are Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing
3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
As God’s people, we should rejoice and hold sacred the charge that has been given to us – the message of salvation from sin and reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ our Savior. We are told to contend for the faith, and also to have an answer for anyone who would ask why we believe what we believe.
And while we don’t have the full picture, we should still learn and grow in our faith through the doctrines that have been laid out for us in Scripture. Just as a soldier without a gun will be caught off-guard when faced by their opponent in war, so are Christians who don’t pick up their Bible, read it, learn it, and live it.
The sad part about the introduction to this short letter by Jude is that the invasion by the enemy into the people of Christ had begun just a few short years after Jesus was among them. Although the apostles and the primitive church started in near spiritual purity, opportunity was seen by those whose father is the devil, and they promoted (and even to this day promote) themselves as beacons of light. Paul had praised the Bereans for their trust-but-verify attitude, and they checked EVERYTHING that Paul said against scripture to see if it was true. Regardless of who we listen to, we should do the same. The enemy is planting tares in with the wheat.
Tares are a plant that, when first sprouting, appear identical to wheat in appearance. It is only after they begin to mature that the difference is noticeable. Tares in the Church have an interesting appearance. Although they look right at first, there are subtle differences. When the church service is over, and during the week, their actions and words in public do not seem to match up with their profession of faith. Great caution should be taken as they are evaluated, because the babes in Christ will act the same way as they are throwing off their grave-clothes.
But tares are different. When confronted, they will say things like: “I’m just a babe in Christ” (even though they have been “walking with God” for more than a few years); “Don’t judge me – you aren’t the Holy Spirit”; “I’m working on that” (when they have been working on it for 20+ years, and there is no indication that they are even trying to address the particular issue).
Tares will also become proud, especially if they have successfully conned the sheep of God into believing that they are one of them and believe that the sheep can trust them. Watch for such things as belligerence and turning on the people who approach them with a proper Biblical viewpoint. “Attack your attackers” is a common way tares shut down people who come too close to unveiling them. By turning the attention to the other person (and almost always in public, even if they were confronted in private), they try to place peer pressure on the one who confronted them. But the person who confronts must be strong, even if the person is powerful enough and influential enough to have the person who confronted them removed the them from any office they hold in the church, or are asked to leave the church.
The tares desire to change the views of the sheep to their way of thinking and away from Biblical ways of thinking. In just one specific example, within the Protestant churches there is a movement to allow the attitude of sexually desiring people of the same chromosomal pairings to be accepted not only as normal in the church, but also to promote them into leadership positions. They have successfully moved the sheep away from the Word of God, even though there are multiple scriptures that refute this position:
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
When the people of God agree that the current cultural position on any subject is more relevant than God’s position, they have strayed from the faith, and should be brought back with the Word of the Living God. If they refuse (see Matthew 18:15-20), then no longer treat them as fellow brothers or sisters in Christ until they have repented.
In doing these things, they say that God is love and grace. Since all of our sins are moved as far as the East is from the West, they promote that God surely understands our circumstances and will surely give us grace as we engage in sin. We just need to work on other areas of life first, and if we don’t get to that one before we die, we’ll be just fine.
We will be judged by what we know, and what we did with what we know. We can either choose to accept that all scripture is God breathed, or not. When we love our sin more than our Savior, we are in big trouble. When our spiritual leaders say it’s OK to sin, and that God will forgive us because grace abounds, people flock to the message because they no longer have to deny themselves, pick up their cross, and follow Jesus. This is a great abuse of grace. People begin to lose their sense of the Holiness of God when they choose to openly sin, refuse to be obedient, and rely on the grace of God. God views that as insolence. And human parents tolerate that about as well as God does.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Are we carefully vetting what we hear from everyone to ensure that it is scripturally sound?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You are full of mercy and grace. Your mercies renew every morning. Father, please help me to be obedient to what I have been shown by You in scripture, and grant me mercy and grace when I fail. Father, show me any areas where I am falling short, and help me to have the strength to overcome them. Give me a sense of urgency in addressing sin in my life, regardless of the outcome, for I know that You are sovereign, and that I can trust You in all things. Help me to have proper discernment when others tell me what You have shown them, so that I will not be misled into bondage or sin. Guard my heart against the unrighteousness of the wolves in sheep’s clothing that the enemy has planted as tares among the wheat. Protect me from them that I may honor and glorify Your name. This I ask in the name of Your Most Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.