A recently read report from the American Association of Poison Control stated that on average, their poison control centers handle one poison exposure every thirteen seconds. According to their records, most poisonings involve everyday household items such as medicines, cleaning supplies, cosmetics and such. One figure that really stood out however was that almost eighty four percent of poison exposures are unintentional. The fact of the matter however is that no matter whether the poison was taken intentionally or unintentionally, the end result will be the same. Now a word of caution might be well here; be very careful with those items that are poisonous so that neither you nor your children accidentally ingest them. But, now let us get to our point for this article.
False teaching is poisonous to the soul of man! It takes the unadulterated gospel of Christ to save the souls of man. Paul told Titus to “speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Tit. 2:1). The word translated “sound” can be defined as “healthy, or that which will make one healthy”. It is the nourishment that one needs to grow strong and have a home in heaven. Peter said that one needed to “desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (I Pet. 2:2). Paul said that the gospel was “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). James said that one should receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). But, according to Peter, false teaching will bring swift destruction (II Pet. 2:1). One has only to read the account of the temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden to see the end result of false teaching. God had told Adam that to eat of the fruit of a certain tree would result in death (Gen. 2:17). The serpent told Eve that she would not die (Gen. 3:4). Eating resulted in both Adam and Even dying spiritually that very day and as a result of being removed from access to the tree of life, physical death later.
On most every product that man purchases, it is clearly marked if it is poisonous. This is not so with the most deadly poison of all, false doctrine. Those who teach false doctrine do not herald the dangers of following their teachings. Some may know that what they teach is false, while others may simply be misled themselves. Jesus spoke of “false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). They are undercover agents of Satan himself. Paul wrote, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (II Cor. 11:13-14). Yet, many are as Jesus described, “they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matt. 15:14). Jeremiah spoke of the false teachers of Israel saying, “For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:13-14). What they said made the people feel good for a time, but it was poisonous in the long run.
Another important thing about poison that needs to be considered is that it doesn’t take much poison to make the entire contents of the container deadly. Most rat poisons are made up of less than one percent actual poison and the remainder fillers that would harm neither man nor rat. Yet, that small percentage of poison renders the entire contents of the box poisonous. There is an old saying that “even a stopped clock is right twice a day”. All false teaching is surrounded by at least some truth. It is not the part that is truth that will harm one, but the part that is false. It is therefore all important that one be extremely careful about the teachings they follow.
There is only one way to be safe from unintentional poisoning. One must know all the ingredients found in that which they are ingesting. This requires effort. One must compare each and every ingredient to the list of ingredients found in the formula for health that God has provided. Any doctrine or practice not found in the pages of the New Testament cannot be considered to be a healthy or even harmless ingredient when taken. When Jesus was tempted by the false teachings of Satan, he used this very means of determining those things to be false. With each temptation, Jesus responded with, “it is written”. He consulted the list of ingredients that God had provided for the dispensation in which He lived and determined if that which was being fed to Him was healthy doctrine or poison. One quote in particular that Jesus used was, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Notice every word is important. None can be left out and none can be added. The formula that God has given is the only one that will provide good spiritual health. The apostle Paul told Timothy to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thess. 5:21). This is still good advice.
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