The Edifier

West Allen Church of Christ

The Edifier Index


Ray Hafley

"An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely,and the priests rule on their own authority; and my people love to have it so" (Jer. 5:30,31).

Unfortunately, this was not the last time that the Lord's people loved error more than truth. It has happened in these "last days," too (2 Tim. 3:1-5; 4:3, 4). We are not shocked or surprised when ungodly men love fables more than the faith, but we often are stunned to learn that the people of God also "love to have it so."

Note that men do not cease to preach; they do not quit serving and ruling. No, they continue to teach religious principles and to offer sacrifices. This is part of the deceit.None have become atheists; none have said they are rejecting God. On the contrary, they present a form of godliness. They assure us of their honesty and integrity in things divine. However, their words are not from God. Their works and worship are based upon human authority. They mix the holy with the human, the faith with fables, the sacred with the   secular. Their amalgamated religion appeals to the flesh. Its allurement is that it melds and welds the spiritual and the sensual, allowing men to "have it both ways."

This spirit is the essence of all human religion. It permeates the traditions of Catholicism and dominates the additions of denominationalism. That does not come as a revelation to children of God, but that such a spirit should infiltrate and penetrate the kingdom of God is indeed "an appalling and horrible thing." It is made worse when "my people love to have it so."

Is it so among us? Are we feeding on the word of God, being led and fed by it? Are we worshipping in spirit and in truth," serving God "acceptably with reverence and godly fear" (John. 4:24; Heb. 12:28)?

Or, are we flirting with a gospel of convenience, one that winks at "borderline" sins and excuses "slight" departures and changes in our service to God? Do we demand that preaching be conformed to our life style, rather than conforming our lives to the truth? Do we chafe and develop a rash on our hearts when purity and holiness demanded by the word of God contradicts our manner of life? Are we offended by calls for modesty in our attitudes and actions and in our dress and demeanor before the watching world?

Do preachers blunt and dull the edge of the Spirit's sword? Do elders "back off" from directly and decisively confronting error? Do preachers and pastors seek peace at the expense of purity? Do they seek harmony at the expense of holiness? If they do, do we tolerate and condone it? If so, "an appalling and horrible thing has happened," and we cannot escape the judgment of God!

Three Things Sin Will Do

The Hebrew writer warned those to whom he wrote about the deceitfulness of sin when he said: "But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened  through the deceitfulness of sin. (Heb.3:13). Involvement in sin deceives its victims. It   hardens the heart and can result in a heart that cannot or is very difficult to penetrate.

Just think of the alcoholic -- there had to be the FIRST drink. The drug addict-- there had to be the FIRST "hit." And, the chronic gambler -- there had to be the FIRST bet! All victims of such sins were deceived by it. If you ask anyone who has been deceived by these sins, they would quickly admit (if they are honest) that they gave no thought to the consequences of their actions (Gen. 3:1-23). What will sin do?

1)      It Will Take You Farther Than You Wanted Or Intended to Go: The first drink of alcohol, the first "high," the first bet, is as far as many planned to go! But all who end up as chronic   alcoholics, drug addicts and chronic gamblers had to take that first step. Involvement in one sin often leads to involvement in other sins and usually comes in a packaged deal (Sam. 11 & 12).

2)      It Will Keep You Longer Than You Wanted to Stay: Those who fall victim are blinded by the pleasure of the first drink, the first high or the first win (Heb. 11:25). It gave them so much pleasure the first time that they are sucked into going after it again and again and again. Many think, "just one more time won't hurt." They only intended to drink alcohol to be social, or smoke marijuana socially or to place a bet just" once in a while," then find themselves entangled and overcome by it (2 Pet. 2:20).

3)      It Will Cost You More Than You Wanted to Pay: Many never consider the consequences of their sinful actions? How many alcoholics planned on killing an innocent person with a motor vehicle? How many drug addicts planned on contacting AIDS or stealing to support their habit? How many considered the physical pain, mental suffering, wrecked marriages, neglected children, broken homes and lives that are destroyed by their involvement in sin. And most importantly, how many consider the fact that their souls are at stake (Acts 5:1-10)?


Some might think "that this can't happen to me...I'm a good Christian and I don't take part in such!" But what about "Christians" who smoke or look at pornographic material, what about those who dabble in the lottery, what about those who dress immodestly not giving a thought that they can cause someone to lust, what about those who are involved in adultery and fornication, religious error, etc. (See Gal. 5:19-21)? Can these take you farther than you wanted or intended to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you wanted to pay? YES! And, they can cost you your soul! Heed the words of the Psalmist who wrote: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night (Ps. 1:1,2). " Let us also heed the words of truth spoken by Solomon who wrote: "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away (Prov. 4:14,15). " Brethren, "Be not deceived" (1 Cor. 6:9-10).