Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.
Paul wrote this letter to Timothy his dear son in the faith while Timothy was pastoring a church in Ephesus. This letter contains practical instructions and guidance on pastoring a body of believers, as well as encouraging Timothy in the faith. Chapter four deals with false teachers in general. These first few verses begin with the characteristics of false teachers and the origins of their doctrine. The period spoken of here as “later times” differs from the term “latter days” and it encompasses the period of time from the ascension of Jesus to His second coming. A period when apostasy will increase; however, reaching its climax shortly before the return of Christ. During this time false teachers and false doctrine will increase. As this happens more and more people will fall away from the Christian faith as false religions become more popular and grow in number. The word used here for depart carries the meaning of moving from a previously stated position.
It speaks of those who claimed a relationship with God, who then moved to a position of rebellion against God. Those spoken of here as departing from the faith were people who were once professing Christians, but not necessarily followers of Christ. In other words, those who called themselves Christian; but have not truly accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This group is made up of people who do not have a personal relationship with Christ. As they depart from the faith their conscience becomes insensitive to the things of God and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. When this occurs, they become more susceptible to the doctrine of demons. False doctrine has always targeted our pride and our egos, while encouraging salvation through works. Thriving not on the things of God, but rather on human achievement and material gain. However, for us who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior and believe the Bible’s promises, we are secure in the arms of Christ. We know trials and suffering will come, however, our destiny is secure in Christ Jesus our Lord. Remembering as the Bible tells us, it’s not for us to determine the wheat from the tares, but to share Christ with all we meet.