Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
Paul cautions the Christian to beware of three things. The Christian is to beware of dogs, he is to beware of evil workers, and he is to beware of the concision. All three of these things are worthy of understanding if we are to avoid compromise. Let me explain each of these so you will know what to beware of.
To beware of dogs is to beware of false preachers. The Christian is to watch out for those who do not believe the doctrines of God’s Word. A preacher who preaches any doctrine differently from God’s Word is considered a dog that the Christian should beware of.
To beware of evil workers is to beware of anyone who tries to destroy others. Being an evil worker has nothing to do with being saved or lost; it has to do with people who are out to destroy others. It is interesting that God does not say that the evil worker is one who only tries to destroy the believer who is living right; the evil worker is one who tries to destroy any believer, whether they are a fallen believer or a believer who has not fallen. You are to beware of any person who tries to destroy God’s people because they are evil workers.
To beware of the concision is to beware of those who try to add works to salvation. In other words, avoid anyone who attempts to make any part of salvation works-based. Those who believe you must work to keep your salvation are just as wrong as those who believe you must have works to get saved. Beware of anyone who tries to add works to salvation. Salvation is an act of Christ’s payment for all of one’s sins, and to add works to any part of salvation is an attack against the power of Christ’s blood to atone for sin. Now, there are four things I do to beware of these areas.
First, I pay attention to truth. Fall in love with truth and you will fall out of love with those who peddle lies. Pay close attention to truth and learn it, hide it in your heart, and base everything you do on truth, and you will avoid those who would try to pull you away from the truth that you love and the truth that God commands us to live by.
Second, I stay away from that which is dangerous. Anything or anyone who would pull me away from truth is dangerous. Reading false doctrine to learn about it is like playing with a poisonous snake; it will bite you one day. The best way to keep false doctrine from entering your mind is never to read it, hear it, or spend time with those who peddle it.
Third, I am careful about making any changes. Don't be quick to change what you have been taught. Never change for expediency’s sake, but only change because you were wrong. Certainly, there is no person who does not need to grow in doctrine, and if you find that you are wrong in one area, be slow to change. Only change after much prayer, much study of God’s Word, and wise counsel from older preachers who are doctrinally and directionally right.
Fourth, I take heed to direction. When I see someone change direction of what they used to believe, I always distance myself from them. When someone’s directionally wrong, they will eventually be positionally wrong; therefore, the best action is to beware of them and distance yourself from them.