I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every false way
For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for those who are mature, who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Today I want to speak in regards to the topic of False Pretenses
First of all, just so we can begin on the same page, let me define what false pretenses are according to the Bible:
Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten, and waste your compliments.
In this context, we learn of a man who encourages his company to enjoy the abundance of food he has, all the while despising him in his heart. It also teaches us, that because we have ingested this man’s delicacies that he begrudgingly shared with us, we will not be able to keep it down anyway.
We can sometimes sense that hesitation in others such as family, friends, and yes, even other believers while still growing in grace and a knowledge of the truth.
A parallel context could just as easily be applied to someone who offers their service to some ministry halfheartedly.
Or even to a person who promises to contribute financially to an endeavor but does so begrudgingly.
Scripture tells us in various places:
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver
2 Corinthians 9:7
The Holy Spirit searches out the deep things and knows as well as makes known the truth of our hearts to us.
If you walk closely with the Spirit, you will also be able to discern whether someone’s heart is truly with you and for you, or if they harbor hatred and malice towards you, but also, he will reveal your true intentions and motives and feelings towards others as well.
There are those who rejoice at the failure and shortcomings of others.
But Scripture tells us that we all have faults and failures of our own and are in need of the Savior just as much as anyone else.
Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them
This isn’t saying to avoid harboring hatred so the Lord can punish another. That would be a perverse way that some have actually interpreted what this verse means. But, the true heart of this verse is instead speaking to keep you from becoming like your enemies who harbor hatred in their hearts and rejoice when others stumble.
This is why it goes on to tell us:
Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked, for there will be no future for the evil man; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
The wicked man who rejects the Savior and the Word of truth will surely be cut off for all eternity. There is no question about it. But if we are filled with the Spirit of God and the love of God as we profess, then that should cause us to be very concern for the eternal salvation of all including even those who despise us and despitefully use us, which is why our Lord Jesus corrected and admonished His followers saying:
You have heard that it was said, “you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
If you only greet your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even pagans do the same?
Since the Lord has paid the punishment that we all deserved for every wicked motive, thought, word, and deed we’ve done, and has perfected us in the sight of God by His grace through what He alone has accomplished, He then calls us to walk into that new identity as newly created people worthy of such grace in the last verse where he instructs his followers:
Therefore you are to be perfect, just as your Heavenly Father is perfect.
Perfection in this context is not sinless or without fault, but it means someone who has committed to the sanctification process who is continually recognizing their shortcomings and willing to both address them and repent from those ways.
In our own strength, surely this would be an impossible task, but if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then His indwelling Spirit will give you the strength and wisdom necessary to carry out the righteous life that is pleasing to God. And He will place different people around you in every season of your life who are willing to walk with you and help you to grow in this these areas more and more each day.
Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners,” to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of his visitation.
1 Peter 2:11-12