“They claim to know God, but their works repudiate it. They are abhorrent and disobedient and are worthless for any good work.”
These words are the direct opposite of what Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which speaks of the Scriptures as that which will prepare us for every good work. Here, Paul writes that the sinful, legalistic mindsets of these legalists and Judaizers is such that robs you of every good work.
And notice again, Paul is not focusing on the pagans outside of the church so much as he is focusing on the false teachers that are wolves in sheep’s clothing, which creep into the church. Here, they profess that they know God, but their lives contradict their profession. How often we find that within the church…even within the lives of church leaders. They put on a good face, they say all of the right things, but deep down they are empty, hollow, and filled with death — white-washed tombs that reek of hell. And their dead works testify only that they are dead souls.
And thus, once again, we find the scriptures insisting that we choose our leaders well…and that those who teach us must be grounded in the living Word and not in the dead myths of men and tradition. Yet, how will we do that unless we all commit ourselves to the study of the Word. Too many people entrust their theology to their teachers and preachers, never taking ownership of it themselves. Such is largely the state of the church in America today…and the wolves abound.