Our Need for Discernment
Discernment is important because not everyone who claims to speak for God actually does. Jesus said they were wolves in sheep’s clothing. They appear harmless, but actually threaten your soul.
Outward appearances may cause us to underestimate the threat—if people proselytize door-to-door, how serious could the threat be as long as they’re clean cut and moral? Don’t fall for that destructive line of reasoning. Paul helps us discern the problem. Speaking of the Jews, he said:
I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:2-3).
Zeal does not change the fact that false teachers hide salvation from those facing eternal judgment. That can be seen in three ways.
1. False teachers destroy Christ’s revelation
Some groups deny that Jesus Christ is God. That is deadly. If Jesus is not God, the human race has not seen God. Jesus said:
He who has seen Me has seen the Father (John 14:9).
2. False teachers destroy Christ’s mediation
Teachers who deny the true nature of Christ leave men in sin. If Jesus is not truly God and man, we have no mediator with God. Paul said:
There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).
A bridge must contact both shore lines to get you safely to the other side. In the same way, there must be real contact with the nature of God and the nature of man for Christ to mediate for us.
3. False teachers destroy Christ’s illustration
If Jesus is not truly man, we have no example. We can’t imitate an angel. We need someone who shares our nature. Christ left us an example to follow (1 Peter 2:21). His example helps us because He is fully human, too.
False teachers block the way of salvation. We need discernment to know the truth, teach it to others, and thus fulfill our duty to Christ.