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A Plague of “Scratchers.”

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4

As I understand it, our physical body itches to warn us when something has irritated our skin. Whatever the irritation, it activates itch receptors of specialized nerve endings called C-fibers. C-fibers, which are are identical to the ones associated with pain, convey the itch sensations to the brain. Scratching arouses the C-fibers that are associated with pain and short-circuits the receptors sensing the itching. Oh, what a relief it is, but only temporarily.

Itching in the ear is a particularly annoying malady. Of course, we use a Q-tip in an effort to “scratch” the itch. “Itching” in our spiritual ears is quite a problem that cannot be resolved by mere scratching. The Apostle Paul identifies what causes the irritation that results in “itching” spiritual ears. The irritation is the sound doctrine that emanates from the truth. Sound doctrine makes people’s ears itch is because it conflicts with the way they wish to be and live. Their lives are not hidden with Christ in God, their flesh has not been mortified, and they remain autonomous and unsurrendered. 

No matter how religious and spiritual some professing Christians may appear, they are actually at odds with God and His revealed truth. Although they do not wish to obey God, they know that they should do so, which is a deadly sin (James 4:17). Someone preaching or teaching God’s truth spotlights their disobedience. That’s the great itch. Therefore, they must gravitate to teachers that repetitively explain why it is not a sin to live according to one’s desires. Since an itch can only be temporarily satiated by scratching, the “scratching” teachers must “scratch” repeatedly to avoid sensing conviction by the Holy Spirit. That can become addictive.

Their spiritual “itch” it makes it near impossible for such people to accept any preacher or teacher except one, the “scratcher.” He is the one that dilutes, alters, subtracts, or adds to the truth until “scratching” occurs. Such a man is often as a politician, proficient in public relations, a flatterer, laughs at all your bad jokes and never ever says anything considered negative or controversial. He is always positive, does not mention sin or its consequences, and majors on elucidating God’s blessings. What a guy! He is wanted by every church focused on numerical value and on a spot of significance in the social “eye.”

But can such a man compel people to surrender and fully live for God’s will? Or does he help them to feel wonderfully accepted by God although they “itch” with the misery of sin, and are wretched, poor, blind, naked, and lukewarm? As they edge toward a Judgment Throne meeting with God, Will he at any point challenge them to hold their lives up to the example of Christ? Or is he merely a highly compensated “scratcher?”

The fact is that many professing Christians have no desire to move beyond a mere profession. They are stuck in the mire of their decrepit spiritual condition, but will not reach out to the rope of truth thrown to them. Therefore, there are many open positions for “scratchers.” In fact, the “scratcher” is guaranteed to be very popular and respected in this last days itching epidemic.

Some professing Christians would consider what I just wrote is irrelevant because of their errant soteriology. They believe a one-time profession of faith in Christ seals them from any possibility of being rejected by God. Thus, they confess Christ as Lord but live autonomously. They attempt to use Him as a fire extinguisher rather than surrendering themselves to be used by Him. Other ones believe that God chose them before the foundation of the earth to be His children, so nothing they do can deny them a place in heaven. Then why do their ears itch when they hear or read that no such doctrines exist in God’s word.

Christ is coming for the called, chosen, and faithful—not the elite, sanctimonious, and faithless.  But I have no intention nor interest in discussing here the supposed merits of salvation by lip service. The individual with a changed life, one that has been born of the Spirit, that has transitioned from darkness to light, that is no longer a slave to sin, has submitted his or her life as a living sacrifice to God, that is the one that needs no “scratcher.” The matter of such submission to God is a heart surrender, not a mere confession. It is not a temporary commitment and then drifting back to the old way. It is an eternal commitment that is either reflected in one’s life, or it does not exist. One cannot enter God’s eternal kingdom by walking the path of the goats, eating goat food, speaking as a goat, living as a goat, aiming for the left side of God’s throne, and yet hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joys of the Lord.” The way is through Christ Jesus and only the surrendered heart will find it. Anyone that declares otherwise is a liar and a thief.

Christianity is in deep trouble today because of “scratchers” that have diluted and altered God’s word to appease carnal and non-submitted individuals and scratch their itching ears. It is polluted by those numerous “scratchers” that have pleased Satan by encouraging people to ride into eternal hell on a magic carpet of lies. Therefore, the enemy of righteousness has exalted them, promoted them, provided them wealth and fame, a TV presence, magazines, and books sales, and made them comfortable with false security. They call all those perks of “scratching” the benefits and blessing of God because they are elite and special. People agree because they are enamored with their stardom. Hell enlarges its mouth to greet them and their followers.

In this plague of “scratchers,” there are people who should surrender to their calling. They are called as Paul and John to speak and write God’s truth. They may never be paid, or wear a title, or even receive words of gratitude. But that’s not what such a calling is about. Instead, is about a voice crying out in this vast spiritual wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:23). The Pharisaical “scratchers” has turned God’s straight path into a crooked one. John’s cry was that Christ was coming and they had better make the path straight. Most of them ignored him and continued on the broad and crooked path. Consequently, they tried to judge Christ by their crooked path and were unable to recognize and refused to receive Him.

Throughout the ages there always came a man of God who spoke His heart. Notice that God never sent a committee nor ordered a conclave—He sent a man. Whether a wealthy and socially esteemed man, such as Paul or a destitute one, such as John, He sends a people whose words defying the words of the “scratchers” and turns them into a vapor.

Christ is coming again! Numerous “scratchers” have made the path crooked again to avoid an encounter with truth. We are in a period of great deception and apostasy that has generated demonic brutality in other nations. Our nation is rapidly ready the point to where intolerance for clear truth in the secular and religious realms is near critical mass. When that point is reached, the “itchers” must either accept and believe the anointed and surrendered people from God, or kill them—but they cannot be ignored.

I will plainly state that if anyone truly wants to recognize and receive Him he or she must reject the false gospel of the “scratchers.” They must be willing to give God complete control of their lives. He is still accepting cries to send His truth, love, deliverance, and Holy Spirit into their souls. He will not force His way in, nor force anyone to abandon their obsession with the voices of the “scratchers.” He calls and that is the only voice of truth that leads one’s soul out of the darkness and to an encounter with Him.

Of course, every time heaven comes down hell breaks out. This is not a stroll in a grassy meadow, but a war with a formidable evil entity. It is essential to make up his or her mind that they are the bought possession of God. Otherwise, he or she will stop short of a fully surrendered heart. Coming to God seeking a half-cup of His glory will result in emptiness. It is either all the way or no way. No one can make it to the finish line today by giving half to God and the other half to the flesh and world system.

This is a perilous time—a period when billions of souls have passed through the “valley of decision” and chose the darkness. Anyone in that valley ought to be grateful that he or she still has a choice. While the choice remains, choose now to be a member of God’s family. The “scratchers” wait along the way to explain that full surrender is a big fuss about nothing. But Christ is the is a light that shines in the darkness. It beams the truth that Jesus Christ is the only way, truth, light, and the only One that can set individuals free.

Flee every lying prophet, false christ, the ‘scratchers” and their false gospel! Run to that light!

2 Comments

  1. This is something that truly came to my mind today. But that is nothing unusual. I guess I have just seen so many professing Christians who are not living it. It boggles the mind as to how they can think that this is okay. They see no need to renounce the world, turn from sin, and put Jesus above their own lives. My thoughts jumped to evangelism efforts. It’s like if you are out in the park evangelizing and someone actually does respond and say ‘yes,’ they want to receive Christ and all of that, be saved from their sins, and so on… But then you say that they must be willing to turn from sin, renounce the world, be obedient, etc. Now I’m not saying that ‘saves’ us. What I’m saying is that we must be willing. Because Jesus gives us the power to obey Him once we are saved. Jesus saves us from a life of sin and the power of sin over us… in the future. He frees us from being slaves to sin and makes us victorious overcomers. But they must be willing. And that is the part that they can’t swallow. When they hear that condition, they’re out. If they get an easy believism gospel and go through a false conversion they won’t notice this. But without being willing to turn from your sin, there is no salvation apart from that, apart from true repentance. But when it’s done right, that’s what happens. I read up on this and this was what the early Christians did. They also had to renounce the devil, the works of the devil, the ‘pomp’ of the devil and the world and such things. That’s what happens when your heart truly turns to Jesus. But they don’t want to give Him their whole heart. They don’t want to give Him their life and let Him be the Lord of their life. They don’t want to make the full surrender. (And then they wonder why they never got the baptism of the Holy Spirit and then they write it all off as ‘not for today’ etc., etc.) But I can just imagine how such an encounter would go. It’s all about what they stand to gain from it. But that Jesus requires a commitment from them too?!?! This they can scarcely stomach! Oh sure, I want Jesus to save me from hell… and the penalty and guilt of my sins… but… but… you’re saying that I must renounce the world? I have to come out of the world and it’s ways, it’s culture? I have to crucify the flesh? I must turn from sin? I must obey God? I must give myself over so the Holy Spirit can sanctify me? And one of my favorites: I have to put God first when forced to choose between loyalty to God and something else? Gasp!!! Gulp!!!! And then their real response: Well then…. no deal! As they stomp off. They can’t give up blank sin, or blank indulgence, or some comfort and status even if what we stand to gain is much better. Like Esau, who followed the flesh rather than the Spirit, they chose the temporary carnal temptations over the inheritance of the Lord. Later, no amount of tears would undo it either.

    Another typical retort from the rebellious is that they cry ‘legalism!’ But not so. The Spirit, which we get by salvation by grace through faith in Christ, leads us unto obedience, not disobedience. Some wolves actually act as if by obedience we are robbing grace when the total opposite is true; by disobedience we are robbing grace! Grace is not a license to sin, but they preach licentiousness… that grace is a license to sin, a grave heresy! We see how the Bible explains all of this and Romans is a good place to go for that and here is a perfect nugget from there:
    “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” Romans 3; 31
    (Of course this is not about circumcision but things like abstaining from sin, as we see from the context.)

    Another thing to keep in mind and put things in context is this. We are in the world but not of the world. We live on earth and probably work someplace, etc. But we are not ‘of’ the world as we don’t follow its ways, its culture, which is the lost sinful fallen culture of post Eden life. We don’t compromise God’s ways, we don’t go along to get along, we don’t ‘do as the Romans do when in Rome,’ etc. And if that costs us our jobs, or whatever, then so be it. As Daniel’s 3 friends said, ‘if we perish, we perish!’ It’s sort of like that is the dividing line. Those willing to make a sacrifice to remain loyal to God, and those who deny Him when it’s not comfortable to confess Him any longer. And as we know, the pressure is on to ‘dim and then turn out the light’ that is ours as Christians. All those professing Christians in name only won’t be loyal to Him in return. It was, after all, just about “Bless me! Bless me!” …. and then goodbye when storm clouds appear and they are called upon to be loyal to the Lord in tough times. But as the Bible says, He will sort out the sheep from the goats and the wheat from the chaff, and it’s not a task accomplished without turning up the heat.

    Stay strong in Christ!

    • I believe that there are a lot of true Christians ‘out there’ who have never been taught the importance of studying God’s Word for themselves. They languish in second-rate lukewarmness, not realizing what is there (in the Bible) for them to appropriate, believe, and ‘rest’ in. Fundamentalism is taught to them as a naughty word by the “scratchers” in today’s assemblies. They have been fed a diet of milk for so long now that singing “Good Good Father” is a move of the Spirit for them. Are the weak Christians ‘totally’ to blame for their lethargy and apathy. I do not think they are. These are anemic times in Christianity, so called. I think the Apostle Paul confirmed this in Hebrews 6 as copied here, “9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. 10 For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” [Heb 6:9-12 KJV].

      This statement of encouragement follows the strongest rebuke in the New Testament concerning ‘falling away’. Here is what it says. “12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” [Heb 5:12-14 KJV] “1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit. 4 For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame. 7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers [is] rejected, and [is] nigh unto cursing; whose end [is] to be burned.” [Heb 6:1-8 KJV].

      Paul knew the value of the “stick” of truth contrasted with the “carrot” of reconciliation. Cut then apply the balm. He did not tell these Christians that they were on their way to hell. He just strongly admonished them to do better and study more – to show themselves approved and knowledgeable about the more deep things of God.

      I have heard these verses taught from liberal and from ultra- fundamental viewpoints. IMO neither of those ways is correct. I think we must teach the Scriptures as they read on the page not “liberalizing” them, at all. BUT, I never want to come across as one who condemns these “babes” and consigns them to hell, unless they repent.

      My witness is to the world of ‘lost’ (mostly) people, who for the most do not give God a second thought except possibly at Easter and Christmas. I do the Luke 14 project in the highways and hedges of everyday life where these lost folks live and play. Not many of them are “pretenders”; Sunday morning Christians(?). They are lost and need a friend who will tell them the truth of the Gospel, when they get ready to “hear” it.

      I agree with everything you say about ear ‘scratchers’, those who water down the ‘hard ‘ truths of Scriptures. My heart goes out to those who need this truth (even though they do not realize it). I have a ‘theory’ about the way the end times might work out. I guess it would be called a “partial” rapture scenario. Can I back that up with Scriptural evidence? I think I can. But I will not try to do that at this time. Those who read this and want to know what I mean by my above hint can ask and I will do my best to explain. I would take quite a bit of time and many pages of text.

      C.H., keep up the ‘good’ fight !!!

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