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Part Four:

The Believer’s Armor and the Spiritual Battle

Ephesians 6:11 “Wile” #3

Ephesians 6:10-20 presents the believer’s responsibility as we engage the enemy in the spiritual warfare which is faced by all. In order that we may be adequately prepared for the battle we are told in verse 11, to “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

God also wants us to know about our enemy. “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (II Cor. 2:11). Do not be ignorant of Satan’s devices. In this context, Paul is telling us that we give Satan an advantage when we sin. The particular sin mentioned is “unforgiveness.” Many times we allow our sinful pride to keep us from victory by refusing to forgive.

There is no detailed and all-inclusive “list of Satan’s wiles” mentioned in the Bible but we are given various scriptural examples and exhortations which obviously comprise some of these strategies that are used against Christ and His Church (II Tim. 3:16).

Wile #3. Confusing the believer with false doctrine.

The two major areas of false doctrine that we shall consider are:

1. False doctrine concerning Salvation.

2. False doctrine concerning the Christian life.

Some essential keys to finding true doctrine:

1. Seek the truth wherever it may lead. Do not try to bend the truth to fit your preconceived doctrine. (John 7:17; Luke 11:9,10).

2. Seek God’s guidance and wisdom (James 1:5,6; John 16:13).

3. Diligently Study God’s word (II Tim. 2:15).

4. Be honest (Rom. 12:17).

5. Do it for God’s glory (Col. 3:23; Gal. 6:14).

False doctrine concerning Salvation:

A. Works for salvation:

Eph. 2:8,9; “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast.”

The Bible is quite clear that we are saved apart from man’s works, goodness, promises, etc. We are saved by His grace through faith. Even though God’s word repeatedly exhorts believers to do good works, the one who believes and does not do any good works is still saved (Rom. 4:5). God’s grace and perfect payment for sin is still sufficient for sinful man’s justification (Heb. 10:11; Titus 2:14; I John 2:2). God’s righteousness is applied to us as we trust Him (II Cor. 5:21). We will be rewarded for our works (II Cor 5:10; I Cor 3:11-15). Eternal life is a gift (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8,9).

The issue in presenting salvation is always “Grace or Works.” (Rom.11:6). It cannot be Christ plus works. God’s curse is upon those who teach a false gospel (See Gal. 1:6-9 and the balance of Galatians).

We do not have to go just to the cults for this heresy, though that is a common thread among them. Baptists and other fundamentalists frequently use unbiblical terms for salvation such as: “Give your heart to Jesus,” “commit your life to Him,” “ask Him to come into your life and save you,” “repent of your sins.” Analyze these phrases in light of the Bible and what comes across to the unsaved man who is already blinded by Satan. Then strive to use Biblical and under­standable terminology.

We are not talking of different methods of evangelism, as we have great freedom of diversity in that area (I Cor. 12:4-6; I Cor 9:22). We are pleading for the truth of the Gospel. The gospel “is the power of God unto salvation...” (Rom. 1:16).

The vast majority of the people with whom I have shared the Good News of Salvation have already heard and been blinded by a “Christian counterfeit” of a “Christ plus works” gospel. Satan’s ministers are “transformed into the ministers of righteousness” (II Cor. 11:15). The “Christ plus works” message is commonly heard and accepted in Christian circles but it is error and helping to deceive people (II Cor. 4:3,4).

B. Eternal security:

I John 5:13; “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life...

This is closely related to “Works for salvation.” Most, but not all, with whom I have spoken who have difficulty with eternal security (A.K.A. eternal life) actually are, in some form, trusting their works to merit them salvation. It is no wonder that they cannot know that they have eternal life. It would depend upon untrustworthy man whom we know will fail. It is also likely that some who do not believe in eternal security are simply not knowledgeable of what the Bible says on the matter.

When seeking truth about salvation, it is essential to use verses that are speaking of salvation. Many well-meaning Bible teachers use verses that are speaking of fellowship or service and force them into a context of requirements for salvation.

Several verses can be given for examples:

Rev. 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me.

The verse and the context have nothing to do with salvation, it is referring to obedience to Christ for fellowship with Him. It is speaking to people already saved but disobedient.

I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

This is speaking to believers. John includes himself in the “we.” He had been saved about sixty years at the time. It has nothing to do with being saved. It is speaking of confession, forgiveness and cleansing. The context is speaking of walking in the light and having fellowship with Christ (1:3-9).

John 15:8. “Herein is my father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”

This verse is misused as a requirement for salvation. It is speaking to people already saved and is a requirement for discipleship. Salvation is very costly but the price has been paid. It is free to us. Discipleship is costly to us, but has great reward.

False doctrine concerning the Christian life.

Matt. 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Eph. 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained [prepared] that we should walk in them.

John 15:8, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit so shall ye be my disciples.

Gal. 5:16, “This I say them, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

Our purpose as believers is to glorify God by obedience to Him. Any doctrine that hinders our good works to glorify God is either in error or is being applied improperly. Doctrinal error in the realm of Christian living generally encompasses one of two extremes:

A. Promoting the lack of good works, e.g. an apathetic or compromising attitude toward discipleship or the Lordship of Christ in the believer’s life. Rev 3:16, describes this as lukewarm. The Bible does not teach “Lordship salvation,” it teaches “Lordship Christian living.”

B. Promoting what seems to be good works but is imbalanced or not biblical. Examples would include:

1. Legalism. You are spiritual if you do not indulge in the man-made list of “taboos.” This mindset has driven many people away from being saved. Obeying a set of rules does not make you spiritual. Obeying God’s Holy Spirit does.

2. Materialism, the “Health and Wealth” gospel. It is appealing but not taught in the Bible. The lukewarm church of Laodicea described in Rev. 3:14-22 also had this problem.

3. Feel good at the expense of Bible truth. This is a human tendency. I will worship God my way, not how the Bible says. Some Charismatics fall victim to this when they say, “I don’t care what the Bible says, “it” happened to me.” Satan is quite content for us to feel good as long as we are not obeying God. We must judge our doctrine by God’s word, not by our experience.

4. Fatalism - the five points of Calvinism carried to its logical conclusion. If the “elect” will be saved whether or not I tell them the Gospel, why witness? It is interesting to note that whenever someone faithfully starts presenting the gospel according to God’s command, that there seems to be a lot more “elect.”

These examples are just a sampling of prevalent errors. There are many more. We must build our doctrine on the truth of God’s word. Be wary of any doctrine that does not lead toward glorifying God by good works and bearing much fruit. Do not let Satan entice us from our goal.

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