“Easy-Believism”

Scott Murray | October 5, 2017

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1 John 3:7–10

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

—1 John 3:7–10

There are people in the world who will tell you that you can keep on sinning against God—and because He is your loving Father He will keep loving you. And, yes, I am one of those people. But, if you are a true child of God, your heart will want to stop sinning because you are in Christ.

This section of Scripture says, “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.” I believe that John is talking about the false belief that grace is a license to sin.

Sometimes called “easy-believism,” this false doctrine implies that all one must do to be “right standing” with God is to believe the facts about Jesus, pray a prayer at some point, and then resume control of one’s life just as before—only now with the assurance of Heaven at the end.

Paul dealt with this thinking in Romans 6. In Matthew 7:21–23, Jesus warned that those adopting this doctrine did not know Him at all. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states that those who are “in Christ” become “new creatures.” That transformation, in response to a believer’s faith in Christ, changes the outward behaviors. To know and love Christ is to obey Him (Luke 6:46).

Satan has been confusing and perverting the Word of God since the Garden of Eden. There will be people who try to tell you something contrary to the Word of God, but they will be known by their fruits (Matthew 7:16). We must be aware how vulnerable we are to heresy, and make it our habit to do as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11: “They . . . examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

We must make it our goal to follow the lead of the first church. Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Such devotion, inside a community, will protect us and ensure that we are on the path Jesus set for us.

Questions for reflection and discussion: Have you been taught the false doctrine of easy-believism? Should we keep sinning, knowing that the grace of God will never run out? As Paul says in Romans 6, “May it never be!” This week, keep your eye and mind on the true teachings of Jesus. Do not let false doctrines have a foothold in your life.

 

This week's devotionals were written by Scott Murray, the Young Adults Pastor at Wheaton Bible Church. Married to Katie and father of four, Scott graduated from Phoenix Seminary with a Masters in Biblical Leadership.

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