Fantasy vs. Reality
April 23, 2014 • By Ed Wrather
As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. - 1 Timothy 1:3-4.
The Message translates 1 Timothy 1:3-4 as: “On my way to the province of Macedonia, I advised you to stay in Ephesus. Well, I haven’t changed my mind. Stay right there on top of things so that the teaching stays on track. Apparently some people have been introducing FANTASY stories and fanciful family trees that digress into silliness instead of pulling the people back into the center, deepening faith and obedience.”
In France and across the world there has been an ongoing search for two-year-old Chayson Basinio who reportedly disappeared from a store parking lot. After the boy’s great-aunt reported the missing boy the police worked hard at finding any clue and even dredged a lake trying to find him. As police officials prepared to break the bad news to the family that the boy had not been found they came to a realization. That realization was that Chayson and his father were only real on facebook. Public prosecutor Eric Mazaud says about their search, “It was long and complicated, but we can now say that the young Chayson has never existed and nor have his father or mother.” The “great aunt” who is also not a real “great aunt” is in jail for inventing a crime. Others involved who helped to create the false facebook profile are also being questioned and may be charged. (theguardian 04.17.14; and many other news venues)
Fake profiles on facebook are abundant although facebook has become more vigilant in trying to remove the fakes. It is strange that someone would report a crime and go to all of the trouble to invent fake people to make it believable when there is no apparent motive for doing so. But then people have been making up things for a long, long time.
From what we see in 1 Timothy and other New Testament passages people have been inventing spiritual fantasies since the beginning of Christianity. Some of the older ones have fallen into disfavor, but there always seem to be new ones that are being invented. Let’s look at some of the more popular Christian fantasies of today.
The Fantasy: There are many paths to God. I hardly go a day without reading or hearing that it doesn’t matter whether you believe in Jesus or Budda or Islam's Allah because there are many paths to God.
The Reality: Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
The Fantasy: If you do more good deeds, good things, than bad deeds or things you will go to Heaven when you die.
The Reality: Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
The Fantasy: If you are a member of a church that will assure your entrance into Heaven.
The Reality: John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
The Fantasy: If you sin after believing and being “born again” you will lose your salvation.
The Reality: Believing in this theological position means that you can never know for sure whether you are lost or saved. This is in direct contradiction of 1 John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone (includes you) snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”
There are many spiritual fantasies that some believe and teach today. How can we know what is real and what is just a fantasy that someone has made up? By searching the Scriptures until, the truth is revealed (Acts 17:11). If you have been deceived and have believed a fantasy, give it up. Sometimes, like the police searching for a missing boy who was never lost, we need to admit we were deceived and look for the truth.