To be on guard and alerted to issues and problems by the words be careful is a definite advantage, but implies possible loss, injury and/or severe danger or death by something or someone. That is very true in our natural world, as well as our spiritual world! Dangers are all around us. Be aware of them!
The following are various times Christians are forewarned to be careful about spiritual issues. The real Christian life is filled with troubles, dangers and tests (Mt. 6:34; 2 Cor. 11:26; 1 Thess. 2:4; etc.). Carefully examine each passage and take to heart the associated warnings and dangers. They are all there for an important reason. Of course, for the ones who think the Christian life is a cheerful, easy, no-concern, slide into heaven because God will do everything for us, these admonishments will seem very strange and misused somehow, though they are not! Such confusion reveals false teaching, but not from the scriptures. Please verify each point with your own bible.
Acts Of Righteousness
Be careful not to do your “acts of righteousness” before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. (Mat 6:1)
There exists the ever-present danger of possible loss of spiritual rewards by letting our acts of righteousness to be seen by others to be honored by them! NOTE: rewards are lost, NOT BY SINS OF ADULTERY, DRUNKENNESS, etc. (as Charles Stanley and others teach), but by wholesome good acts done with the wrong motive to be seen by others!
Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees
“Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” (Mark 8:15)
“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Mat 16:6)
The warning there was about the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Mat 16:12) That shows, among many other verses, that true disciples can become deceived by false doctrine and even depart from scripture alone for all teachings (2 Tim. 3:16,17), as the Pharisees and Sadducees did for their doctrines.
Heart Being Weighed Down
Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. (Luke 21:34)
This danger is specific, based on the context, to the last generation and related to Jesus’ return. The days before the return of the Lord Jesus will be tribulation unknown to man. The troubles and anxieties of life related to those problems have never been faced before! Verse 36 is the remedy:
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.
Do What Is Right in the Eyes of Everybody
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. (Rom 12:17)
What we do, even when evil people do evil things to us, has an influence on others. Even with that we must be careful. Example is very powerful and others are watching.
How You Spiritually Build
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. (1 Cor 3:10)
That verse is related to servants of God, such as Apollos, who were building on the foundation Paul laid. Fire will test the quality of each man’s work (v.13) and possible loss is a definite danger as fire will consume wood, hay and straw, unlike the other building materials. Hence, all Christians who give out the word through witnessing or teaching, especially people like pastors, need to be careful!
Don’t Become a Stumbling Block to the Weak
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. (1 Cor 8:9)
Christians have a definite freedom in Christ, but it surely is not freedom to sin or indulge the sinful nature. Our freedoms extend to the food we eat, since the dietary law was done away with (Mark 7:19), but our food freedoms can stumble others, who don’t have the knowledge we have. Hence, we must be careful with our food too. [See The Believer’s Conditional Security: Eternal Security Refuted, chapter 11 for much more information on our freedom in Christ.]
Not To Be Over-confident In Standing Firm
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (1 Cor 10:12)
The danger of thinking one is spiritually standing firm is very common in our day and has been caused by a prevalent heresy — eternal security. Eternal security (once saved always saved) will have the advocates thinking that Almighty God is holding and keeping them, can’t see their sins, and guarantees their safe entrance into his Paradise kingdom regardless if they backslide or not. Hence, such proponents are absolutely confident that they are standing firm in their salvation, which has a destructive effect leading to their own spiritual fall! Such unscriptural over-confidence is destructive, but is the bedrock foundation of that heresy, designed by the devil to destroy souls!
Devoted to Doing What Is Good
This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (Titus 3:8)
Paul magnified the importance of good deeds even to the point of being devoted to them. How strange this is in our day to read a scripture like that with so many church people thinking good works are not important! Paul taught the opposite under grace!
Fall Short of Entering God’s Rest
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. (Heb 4:1)
Again, as in many other areas, we are warned of potential loss. This time with the promise of entering God’s rest.