And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
–1 John 5:20-21
But if any man love God, the same is known of him.
–1 Corinthians 8:3
It is clear that God has granted His children the power to know Him through His gospel–and therefore, no believer can claim a lack of understanding as a justification for believing a false gospel–as we are without excuse.
Why then do some professing believers later begin to struggle with various tenets of the gospel message?
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
–1 Corinthians 2:9-16
Every form of false gospel exists on the basis of one or both of the following:
An unregenerate mind [false conversion].
An appeal to the natural mind [which is a refusal to accept the Lord’s words as they are clearly written and revealed by the Holy Spirit], as opposed to trusting in the mind of Christ.
In either case, it’s an issue that an ekklesia must address for these reasons:
A false gospel is always associated with a false spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4).
The little foxes spoil the vine (Songs 2:15) [what seems like a small thing can cause much destruction, so that no fruit will bear]: “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright,” (Hebrews 12:15-16).
We do not want to become partakers of the sin [and its destructive influence in the lives of many].
The inevitable consequence of continued double-mindedness is destruction:If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea drivenwith the wind and tossed,” (James 1:5-6).
God gives men a space to repent (Revelation 2:21): therefore, believers who are struggling with unbelief may continue with the brethren under the condition that they do not teach others to sin or insist upon interfering with the work and leadership of the Holy Spirit (Titus 1:10-11). In the end, they will make a choice: “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon,” (Luke 16:13).