Wolves in Sheepskin Coats

I recently bought a rather impressive sheepskin coat. Always mindful of expense, I bought it second-hand, but the coat was good as new. At a mere fifteen pounds plus a reasonable £4.95 package and posting, it may be described as a bargain. It looks good, but more importantly for winter, it is both warm and comfortable. In the seventh of Matthew, Jesus warns:

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

I smiled ironically to myself as we went through that passage some weeks ago that I was wearing sheep’s clothing. Was I also a ravenous wolf? The Lord’s admonition is followed by a standard by which people should be tested:

16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Crooked doctrines, evil lifestyles, wicked lies and misleading teachings all stem from ravenous wolves. Despising the God of truth, they have little desire to please Him with their living, so their lifestyles are as unpleasant as their dogma. Some are legalistic and severe, others lax and tolerant, but all flow from the wickedness of the heart.

Of such beware.