When you are a new creation, God cleans everythingout and cleans everything up (2 Corinthians 5:17). False teachers do not only need to confess their sin of false teaching, they must include their sin of licentious living.
I thought I had heard and seen the most horrific sins of licentiousness in the world of false teaching until I met a man we’ll call, “Chris.” He was a gracious and kind brother who picked me up from the airport when I arrived in a southern state for a ministry trip in the US almost ten years ago now. After a warm welcome and some small talk, “Chris” began to share his testimony. He had been active in the inner circle of a major prosperity gospel ministry and climbed the ladder of leadership. One day, upon being invited into one of the highest levels of leadership he was given the pre-requisites. To join the highest levels of leadership and thrive in the inner circle, he would be required to share his wife with other men, engage in homosexuality, and be a loyal leader at all costs.
For “Chris,” the cost was too high. He was not willing to engage in that type of lifestyle to be in leadership. Just like that, after years of building relationships, trusting his leaders, and nearing the moment when he would become one of them, he was out. Worst of all, this falling out caused major division in his marriage because his wife was unwilling to leave the church at that time. When he concluded the story during that car ride, all was not reconciled and there was deep heartache. Still, “Chris” was optimistic because Christ had saved him from the filthiness of what false teaching breeds. He was owned by Jesus now, no longer a slave to sin (Romans 6:1-7).
This story may be shocking for some of you, but it is all too common in the world of false teaching. This story is precisely why we can say that false teachers are not merely an abomination to Christ because they smear His message. They are also an abomination because they mock Him with their lifestyles of sin. In this article, I want to lay out some biblical truths to remind you that false teaching presents a variety of shady deceptions, namely, sins of licentiousness.
False teachers don’t only need to repent of their teaching, but their lifestyles of sin as well.
False Teachers and Licentiousness
In Jude 4 we read a sobering description of not merely sinful teaching, but the sinful lifestyles of false teachers. Jude writes, “For certain people have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into indecent behavior and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
The word for licentiousness he uses also translates as “sensuality” and means “lack of self-constraint which involves one in conduct that violates all bounds of what is socially acceptable.”(1) False teachers don’t only go too far with their doctrine, they always go too far with their deeds. They are marked by sins of “self-love” which is precisely why Paul warns Timothy that in the last days, men will be “lovers of self” (2 Timothy 3:2).