By Larry Ray Hafley
From Maryland: “Can one teach the truth so as to be eternally lost?”
It is a certainty, as our querist readily realizes, that (1) all who refuse to teach will be lost along with those (2) who teach error ( 2 Tim. 2:2; Heb. 5:12-14; Gal. 1:8, 9; 2 Jn. 9). However, this question is not related to either of these. Read it again.
Of course, if I were a Baptist or a Presbyterian, or some other who believes it is impossible to fall from grace, I would have to answer “no” without any further consideration or deliberation. Whether the question was about fornication, drunkenness, or any other sin, I would be forced to say “no” if I believed it is impossible to be lost after once being saved. Let all who believe that doctrine ponder its consequences with respect to a question of this nature. But I digress. Back to the question.
One cannot teach the truth without several factors being inherently involved and entwined. His attitude toward the truth and his hearers cannot be divorced from his teaching. One may preach the truth without love for it or for its audience. You tell me, could such an one be saved (2 Thess. 2:10; 1 Jn. 3:15)? When Paul said, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; Continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:16),,it appears that he recognized the above principle. One may teach the truth, but if he does it in hidden malice and contempt, out of an impure heart and a convicted conscience laden with feigned faith, he cannot be saved (Cf. 1 Tim. 1:5). “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves” (2 Tim. 2:24, 25).
Bitterness, brought on by slights and persecutions received from brethren, may lead one to teach the truth so as to be lost. He does not abandon the truth, but he misuses it to reek vengeance upon his enemies. Without being specific, one may resort to ridiculing and slandering those whom he detests by impugning their motives and casting aspersions in secret and subtle innuendo. What he says may all be the truth, but his polluted heart may hide a poison pen or tongue behind a vague shield of generality. If I “go after” a Protestant preacher with Mark 16:16 or Acts 2:38 because I want to destroy him in some fiendish, carnal way, then will I not be lost even though I have taught the truth? Well did the Wiseman say, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23).
From Arkansas: “Will an unmarried man commit adultery if he marries a woman who put away her husband for the cause of fornication?”
Questions on marriage are characteristically difficult and heart rending, but it appears this question can be succinctly answered by the words of Jesus, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matt. 19:9). The Lord’s words describe a man putting away his wife, but they are, of course, equally applicable to the situation above where a woman has put away her husband “for fornication.”
If there be no “unknowns,” the unmarried man will not commit adultery if he marries a woman who put away her husband for the cause of fornication and neither will the woman commit adultery by marrying again.
Parents, are you listening? Now is the time to teach and train your children concerning God’s marriage laws! Show them the bliss and blessedness of marriage in your life before them. , Instruct them in the rights and responsibilities of the marriage relationship. Much sin and sorrow could be avoided if children were informed about both the sweetness and the seriousness of marriage.
Truth Magazine XIX: 14, p. 210
February 13, 1975