Excerpt from “Satan, Deceive and Use Me…NEVER!!” by Herbert W Armstrong
One is walking along in a thickly wooded forest on a moonless pitch-dark night. But just ahead of him is an experienced guide with a lighted lantern. If he follows that lighted lantern, he will be led safely out of the woods. But if he turns aside a step or two and hesitates, the light continues on out of his sight. Then he isreally lost. If one turns aside from God’s truth on just one point, or one doctrine, and does not quickly repent, the light of God’s truth moves on. In his self-centered effort to find the light of truth, he now walks blindly in wrong directions. He takes more and more steps in the wrong direction. That is, he proceeds into more and more error, all the while losing more and more of what truth he had.
God’s Word, the Holy Bible, is “a lamp unto our feet” to guide us out of the darkness of error and into the daylight brightness of TRUTH. The oil that produces the light in the lamp or lantern, causing it to light up to our understanding, is the Holy Spirit (of Psalms 119:105, Matthew 25:1-13).
So comprehend the illustration. We all were lost in the dark woods of sin. On first realization of it, with repentance and belief, we received the first portion of God’s Holy Spirit. The Bible begins to light up. It is as many as are led by the Spirit of God that are the begotten sons of God . (Romans 8:14) The Spirit of God, by lighting up the Bible leads us a step at a time, into more and more truth. And a step at a time out of error and sin. But if and when you reject one point of truth, it is like stepping aside in the dark woods. You are no longer being led bythe Spirit of God opening the Bible to right understanding. The light – the Spirit of God – leaves you. God’s TRUTH marches on! It leaves you behind. You are in darkness again. Lost again in the darkness of sin! You stumble around in the thick dark woods trying to find the lighted lantern. But every step you now take is taking you farther away from the lighted lantern proceeding on the SURE path out of the woods.
In other words, if you reject one point of truth, or take one step aside into one point of error – unless you repentimmediately and get back to the light – you will take more and more steps into erroneous beliefs, and one by one give up the points of TRUTH you had seen and accepted.
Take the example of some ministers who left God’s Church. Some tried to incorporate new “churches” of their own. But they were not GOD’S churches. These men had all rejected one or more points of truth, or Church doctrine. They almost immediately began to add new points of false doctrine of their own – not of God. Soon they began rejecting points of TRUTH. Perhaps it was tithing. Perhaps healing. Perhaps voting in this world’s governments. Perhaps it was God’s Government in the Church. Soon they were rejecting God’s annual Holy Days and Feasts. Soon they were rejecting more and more of GOD’S TRUTH and turning to more and more FALSE doctrines and errors. THEY, PROFESSING TO FOLLOW CHRIST in their new way, WERE GOING FARTHER and FARTHER AWAY FROM HIM. They were going closer and closer to Satan and Satan‘s WAY.
Now HOW DID IT ALL START?
It started, in every case, by taking one step in Satan’s direction – compromising – becoming “liberal” – or resenting and rebelling against GOD’S GOVERNMENT in His Church – or letting a spirit of SELF enter in – it could be self- righteousness or self-centeredness in COVETING POWER. More than one has been led into spiritual darkness by coveting POWER in God’s Church. Unfortunately, conferring on leading ministers such rank or titles as “Evangelist,” or “Vice-President,” went to some heads, sparking a coveting of POWER in the Church. It almost seems strange – it was NOT in these men a lust or greed for more money – it was a coveting of POWER – of the TOP SEAT – of AUTHORITY – or of the resentment of authority over them.