Falling Away – II Corinthians 11:3-4

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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A young man from my youth group came from a solid Christian family. His parents were very active in this doctrinally fundamental church and sacrificially sent all their children to a Christian school to bolster their faith. For four years, this young man attended a Christian college that stood for “fundamental doctrine.” He heard a pure gospel hundreds, if not thousands, of times. While I never considered this young man to be very genuine or spiritually minded, I was surprised to learn from his father that he had become an Episcopal priest. When I asked, “How can this be? That church does not preach a gospel that will save anyone,” his father just shrugged his shoulders.

When the Apostle Paul addressed the saints at Corinth, he expressed concern that they too might become spiritual casualties. He told them, “I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Corinthians 11:3). As they do today, false teachers abounded at Corinth. Paul told them that he feared they “might well bear with him” [or them] (vs. 4). So he warns them of three doctrinal dangers. They must not accept “another Jesus, whom we have not preached” (vs. 4). Through fulfilled prophecies and dynamic miracles, the Lord Jesus Christ proved He is the Messiah of Israel and the only Savior of the world. The Corinthians must not listen to those denying Christ or promising another Jesus. Paul warned them not to receive “another spirit” (vs. 4). The word “spirit” can mean a principle, mental disposition, an angel, or the Holy Spirit. These believers had already received the indwelling Holy Spirit to seal them in Christ, to comfort and to guide into spiritual truth. There was an ongoing danger of accepting false teaching from demonic influences delivered by human false teachers. They must stand firm in Paul’s teaching. Paul also feared they might endorse “another gospel, which ye have not received” (vs. 4). False teachers were promoting a false gospel of grace mixed with the Mosaic Law, or works, as they do today. The Corinthians, having trusted in Paul’s gospel of grace apart from all works, were not to waver from this pure gospel, which is the only one that saves lost souls today.

Don’t become a spiritual casualty by listening to false teachers, who proclaim a different gospel, savior or spirit of influence. Stay grounded in the doctrines delivered to us by the Apostle Paul.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."