The Spirit of Error…(Substitution)

They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.  We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.( I John 4:5-6)

Recently I have had several occasions in which I have had to contrast true christian teaching with varieties of heresy. This experience has brought me to some general conclusions about false teaching.

It doesn’t matter what the particular teaching is, all false teaching seems to spring from a common spiritual condition, a “spirit of error” as John puts it. The teachings do vary, but the underlying issues raised by the teachings remain the same in almost every case.

What does ‘Pelagianism’, the denial of ‘original sin’ have in common with  the Word of Faith heresy of Kenneth Hagin? How could there be a commonality of those who deny an eternal Hell with those who deny Penal Substitution?

All of the above are heresies and distortions of the biblical gospel that we have been having to deal with over the last year. What is the common ground between all of them? In other words, what is the Spirit of error?

In each of the above, either –

* Man is not as fallen as the gospel says he is-


* Jesus is not as sufficient as the gospel proclaims him to be –

The Spirit of error always either props man up, or diminishes Jesus, who is God come to us in the flesh. Usually, the spirit of error does both simultaneously.

Take Pelagianism , for an example, which is the denial of what theologians refer to as original sin. Pelagianists deny that man’s very nature was corrupted in the once and for all fall of man in the garden of Eden. Man is not as bad as those who teach the depravity of man insist.

They don’t see how it could be that when Adam fell, we all fell, and that we were born “in sin”, and have a fallen nature prone to sin. Because it doesn’t seem fair, or consistent with justice, Pelagians reject the teaching of Paul, that “by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,”.

In this way they diminish the sufficient work of the last Adam, Jesus Christ. After all, if one rejects the identification of all men into Adam for guilt, one must of necessity reject the identification of all saved men into Christ for Righteousness.

…So by the obedience of the one, shall the many be made righteous..

Because they don’t see how it could be so , they reject it, thus exalting their own ability to “see” above the revelation of the Lord’s apostles.

Likewise, spirit of error at the same time, diminishes Jesus and his work. I have been exposed to an error related to Pelagianism, that adamantly denies that Jesus died as a penal substitution for our sins.

Once again, it is their own vain reasoning that they exalt above Divine revelation. The apostles plainly tell us that “Christ died for sins, once and for all, the just for the unjust to bring us to God…”,(I Peter 3:18).

“But how could that be right for one man to pay the penalty of another? Would my cousin be able to stand in for my execution if I murdered a man ?”, one of them asked me. “What law court in any jurisdiction would ever allow for a penal substitution?” Thus they dismiss the testimony of apostles and Prophets, in favor of their own reason.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)

The Spirit of error always exalts man, and simultaneously diminishes Christ. Man is never as bad, fallen or lost as the apostles say he is, and Christ doesn’t do as much for us, to save us, as God’s apostles and prophets have testified that he did.

The recent public denial of an ultimate and eternal hell, by a supposedly evangelical minister accomplishes the same purpose for it is the same spirit of error. Remember Eden, where the serpent once hissed, “you shall not surely die…”.

After all, could man really be that bad, that his sin would damn him in torment forever? Or to put it another way, could God really be that all important, that sinning against him would merit eternal darkness and torment?

The spirit of error would have you believe that man couldn’t be that bad, and that God couldn’t be that good to merit final and fixed judgment. Likewise the cross itself needn’t be a penal substitution,(how demeaning !), rather Jesus died as some kind of an example. Do you hear the serpent’s hiss?

Finally the Spirit of error can be known clearly by heeding John’s apostolic caution, 6We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error”

Who is the “We” in this verse ? None less than the Apostles. Those who are of God accept the teaching of the apostles, those who aren’t always resort instead to vain reasonings, logic, the experts, or whatever else makes sense to them.

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9 Responses to The Spirit of Error…(Substitution)

  1. Joseph Levinson says:

    By just pressing the FB like button, and/or share button, I might lose an old and good friend. I could silently agree with this message or I could repost, because I believe the Word, and the words the apostles were given. So I was asking today that in my mixed up daily situations, how/when is my chance to spread the gospel, maybe this is it I don’t know. I believe the Bible though, and if God said I fell when Adam did well then I did. But if I didn’t I would have no need for Christ. So the upside is my need for Jesus. Lord I pray your’ Word gets out, in Jesus name.

    • billrandles says:

      Thanks Joe, Truth takes precedence over all else, for Jesus is the truth, and we are to love Truth even more than we love our closest and dearest. Standing for truth may cost us, but on the other hand it may be what it takes to get those whom we love to recieve it. God bless you brother- you encourage me-

  2. Its been said that the human soul has infinite value because an infinite price was paid for it at Golgotha.St Paul said “God is the savior of all men especially believers”. If the foregoing is fully correct is it not logically possible that hell is not forever since hell does give up its dead and maybe all human souls are written in the Book of Life?

  3. Theodore A Jones says:

    One’s name is only written in the Book of Life by the obedience of a law.
    “It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13
    If all persons have been named in the Book of Life there is no reason for Jesus’ crucifixion. The dead in Christ, that is those which have had to faith to obey God by an added law, are raised from the dead first. All others, even tho resurrected, I suspect, will hear the Way this added law must be obeyed to save themselves. But for both classes the criteria for one’s salvation is the obedience of a law. There are no exceptions.

    • billrandles says:

      Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

      29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.(john 6:28-29)

  4. Theodore;Perhaps its the death of Jesus that puts all men’s name in the book of life.Also how do you reconcile Rms 3;20{therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law….} with Rms2;13?

  5. Mark 12;9 gives The Divine response to your first question.However,this must be balanced off by Jesus’s own words when on the cross “Father forgive them….{Luke 23;34} HE forgave His killers even
    without them asking for it.John 16:8 deals with the ministry of The Holy Spirit to unbelievers.He does a fearless moral inventory on them to bring them to their senses.
    Specify what is this law that has been added after Jesus’s crucifixion.The written code of law can only give knowledge of sin which gives man a sense of quilt before God.It means practicing the law does not remove previous committed sins. Jesus’s death and resurrection does that.The paradox between Rms2:13 and Rms20 still remains.

  6. What is this law that has been added?

  7. How can the table of the Lord be snare and a trap?

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