“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith,” 1 Timothy 4:1.
It’s likely true that one cannot depart from the faith, if they never were in the faith to begin with. So who is the Spirit talking to in this text?
He is talking to the Church; we the people of God. We are seeing many things that are unfolding now, right before our eyes. Let’s not talk about the world, let’s reason together about the church. The real Body of Christ.
There was a term we once used, they are “under conviction.” What did that mean and why is it that we don’t hear that much anymore? It has been declared even here by one of our elders in particular, that it was the preaching of the Word that brought conviction to the people.
It was the Holy Ghost who convicted them and made them to see that they needed Him. It was the most powerful tool we had. It was the Spirit that drew us to Him as it did with so many others.
Conviction: To bring to a realization of one’s guilt. Meaning, he was convicted by his own conscience.
There seems to be exceptions to all rules, but the written Word states that within each of us there is a conscience. God put it there. Within men and women there is an inborn awareness of something much greater than ourselves. If we are genuinely honest, one cannot live in this world and not see the awesome presentation of God’s creation. It cannot be disproved.
Conscience: Knowledge, feeling, sense, moral sense; a feeling of right or wrong, with a compulsion to do right.
This is not a physical characteristic, it’s a spiritual one. It is true that many things can affect our conscience, such as culture, religion, family direction and the desires of our flesh and mind. But I believe without doubt, that there is something within us all that seeks to know the truth. Many of us can attest that no matter what, we have a sense of our own.
Something occurred recently that made me realize more and more that we need to sit down and talk to one another. We are spiritual beings who are eternal and will last forever and ever.
Even in our religious culture and upbringings there were many of us who just did not feel right about some things. The true Holy Spirit of God did not cause us to put unbearable burdens of men on others. We had a sense of our own that some things did not seem completely right.
“Giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils……” Let us be reminded here, that this was written to the Church, those who were once in the faith but departed from it.
Our problem is that we knew that people in the true church of the living God were not to act in certain ways. In reality, they were to practice what they preached. We most often equate these seducing spirits, as something sexual. That’s also true. But there is much more to this than that. In many cases it is human spirits that are seducing people – for self benefit.
Speaking lies in hypocrisy, our conscience can become seared. It may be helpful to think about flesh that is seared with a hot iron. It’s damaged and scarred; it cannot function in totality.
It’s so with our spirit, our conscience. We did know better, but now we don’t. We don’t even think about it anymore.
We can point our fingers at any certain group we want, but this is the church we’re talking about. All of it. Where is the conviction today.
What we are seeing today are the latter times. The Holy Ghost must be our conscience.
~ Robert Blackburn