“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1)
The context of 1 Timothy 4:1-3 tells us that the doctrines of devils refer to doctrines that condemn and lay guilt on other people, preached by sin-conscious people, such as teaching others not to marry, nor eat foods provided by God.
So, 1 Timothy 4:1 is telling us to think spiritually, because God wants us to not be carnally minded (condemnation minded and sin conscious) but be spiritually minded (grace minded and Christ conscious) because to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)
In a larger context, 1 Timothy 4:1-5 was written in the first century around AD62-66, and the apostle Paul used “latter times” to refer to the time when the Romans would destroy the temple in Jerusalem in AD70. The destruction of the Jewish temple would mark the end of the old covenant age, and ever since then, we all are living in the new covenant age. So the “latter times” in 1 Timothy 4 does not refer to our times. The “last days” is not referring to the end of the planet earth. It is referring to the end of the old covenant world (or old covenant age), also known as the end of the Jewish religious system.
Besides, the doctrines of devils are actually doctrines preached by self-righteous people, like the Pharisees and unbelieving Jews in those days. These people put heavy burdens on others, teaching them not to marry or abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. The self-righteous people had their conscience seared with a hot iron. The Greek meaning of the expression “seared with a hot iron” means “to have one’s consciousness perpetually conscious of sins”. Such people were hypocritical because they were actually condemning and forbidding others to do what they themselves felt condemned in themselves. They were not enjoying the freedom brought by the gospel of grace. Hence, the apostle Paul wanted Timothy to ensure people continue to be established in the gospel of grace, which proclaims everyone is righteous in Christ, and everyone has been reconciled to God through Christ.
Someone frowned upon the three beliefs stated below, but this could be an indication of the person’s own sin-consciousness and fear which is being projected to others:
1) Belief that the human consciousness is evolving to higher stages
2) Belief that thoughts, in some greater or lesser measure, determine reality.
3) Belief that spiritual understanding is available without allegiance to a specific religion or doctrine.
The following points seek to address the above misconceptions, and promote spiritual liberty for every individual.
1) “Belief that the human consciousness is evolving to higher stages.”
When a Christian is TRULY “strong in the Lord” they have evolved into higher stages of consciousness; whether they know it or not. Some people are just afraid of this unfamiliar wording. They don’t see the spiritual meaning behind the wording so they just can’t relate it to being “strong in the Lord.” Of course, “strong in the Lord” means different things to different people. For me, it would mean Love God, your neighbor as yourself, including your enemy. There are many Christians who truly live this in their daily life. They are of higher consciousness. They don’t get involved in the condemnation of other religions or the condemnation of the “New Age.” They just live and serve God. THEY live in the Kingdom of God on earth. THIS is higher consciousness. One doesn’t need to use fancy words; they just need to live love.
2) “Belief that thoughts, in some greater or lesser measure, determine reality.”
We “reap what we sow” (Galatians 6:7). Most Christians think that “we reap what we sow” is for actions. They don’t understand that our thoughts and feelings come before our actions and cause our actions. When this is explained, they have an opportunity to understand that our thoughts to determine our reality. Whether or not they take their opportunity or stay in their fear-based belief is up to them.
3) “Belief that spiritual understanding is available without allegiance to a specific religion or doctrine.”
To think that spiritual understanding is only available with allegiance to a specific religion or doctrine is to deny the existence of the soul/spirit in every human being. We are spiritual beings. We are all unique; even identical twins each have their own spiritual uniqueness. Spirituality is not limited to religion. Religion is limited to religion.
Indeed, christians living in the kingdom of God on earth are actually living in higher consciousness, whether they know it or not, as it’s only a matter of wording. For example, “Set your minds on things above” is nothing more than an exhortation to live life in a higher consciousness – being conscious of our true nature and original identity in Christ. 🙂
The Bible says, “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. We do determine reality with our thoughts – our perception determines our reality, so to separate science from spirituality only limits one’s own understanding of the reality we live in.
It’s true that we are spiritual beings and each of us is capable of developing spiritual understanding without having to align ourselves with a specific religion or doctrine. Even atheists and agnostics can develop spiritual understanding, as spirituality is not limited to religion.
(Adapted from Yahoo Answers)