1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teaching of demons”.
There is a warning here that we all need to pay close attention to. “In the later times some will depart from the faith”. The later times is the period between the 1st coming of Christ and the 2ndcoming. During this time, we will have some people that will depart from the faith. These people at one time understood the gospel and outwardly embraced the Christian faith. But over time, they deliberately turned their back on the faith.
What happened to these people that they abandoned their faith?
The verse goes on to say “by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teaching of demons”. These people got introduced to a teaching that its origin was demonic. It probably came through an agency of human beings. These demons work through individuals who may appear religious, nice and very intelligent. But the origin of their teaching is demonic. Any teaching that contradicts the plain teaching of the scriptures is demonic in its origin. The role that seducing spirits play is to convince us of this false teaching. In John 16:13 we read that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all the truth. On the contrary, these seducing spirits will try to guide us away from the truth. These spirits will try to convince us to accept the demonic teaching. These teaching may have a certain appeal. In the case of Eve, Satan said to her, when you eat the fruit of this tree your eyes will be opened and you will be like God (Genesis 3:4). When Peter rebuked Christ for saying he must go to Jerusalem … and be killed. Jesus turned to peter and said to him “get behind me Satan…” (Matthew 16:21-24). The seduction may lay in the appearance of some benefit to us, but it will either take us away from God or contradict his word. This is one way for us to detect that maybe you are being deceived by a seducing spirit.
But why do people abandon their faith?
In my judgement, one of the reasons may be the attitude of their heart. In the gospel of Matthew chapter 13 Jesus teaches the parable of the sower. He also gives the explanation of the parable. In that parable we see some, who hear the word but do not understand it. It seems like they don’t really care whether they understand it or not. The second group hears the word, but the word does not take root in their heart and as a result the word does not have much value to them. if they see themselves getting into trouble because of the word they will abandon the word. The third group hears the word but they have so many other interests and pursuits that after a while the word gets chocked in their heart.
This abandoning of faith happened even in Old Testament times. In 2 Chronicles 25 we are introduced to king Amaziah. He ruled in Jerusalem for twenty nine years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart. After he came back from striking down the Edomites, he brought the gods of men of Seir (Edomites god) and set them up as his gods and worshiped them. Here we see a king who did what was right for a while, but because he did not follow the Lord with his whole heart he ultimately fell away. When we pursue God halfheartedly sooner or later something will come into our lives that we will value more. And eventually we become cold toward God and the things of God. Maybe most of us can identify with this king in our own walk. He serves as an example of what could happen when we follow the Lord halfheartedly.
May the Lord be with you all.