The wolf resembles a German Shepherd dog in appearance and such a wild animal is mentioned throughout the New Testament, but never in a good way! How could such a popular wild animal, which some are enamored by in our day, be described in such a spiritual manner? The answer is simple if one knows a child of God (a Christian) is likened unto a sheep (Jn. 10:27; etc.). Since wolves kill sheep, then such spiritual wolves can be fatally dangerous to Christians! So who or what should Christians be aware of in this sense? Jesus warned:
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them …. (Mt. 7:15,16)
False prophets are D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S camouflaged hungry killer wolves. They are camouflaged to hide their true identity and to deceive. They are ferocious spiritual wolves, which come to Christians! They are aggressive and deadly, as they present themselves as Christians and try to extend their influence to them. They can use Biblical terminology, speak of holiness, eternal life, etc.! Just like hungry wolves in the natural which are looking for a meal will go to sheep in a field, spiritual wolves (false prophets) will go to Christians for their own benefit!
They prey off of Christians! Jesus’ description shows that false prophets are not harmless!We need to know who they are because they can potentially destroy a Christian’s spiritual life. We must be able to spot them to be protected from their lethal influence.
Savage Spiritual Wolves Were Coming After Paul Leaves
Paul warned the elders at Ephesus:
I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. (Acts 20:29)
Just like the Lord Jesus said, Paul stated spiritual wolves are dangerous by the usage of the term savage. They were also going to come to the sheep! They are looking for and hunting sheep! So just as the devil prowls around looking for sheep to devour (1 Pet. 5:8,9), the false prophets do the same! Paul’s warning, though disturbing, was important. It would help keep Christians be on their guard.
False Prophets Are Spiritual Wolves
We can identify false prophets by their fruit. Since false prophets claim to be Christians, but are not, they will lack the common fruit which accompanies a Christian. Among other things their gospel is different. See 1 Cor. 15:1-4 cf. Gal. 1:8,9. The following is also what true prophets teach:
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. (Acts 10:43)
What that means and doesn’t mean is revealed in other Scriptures and by comparing them. In brief, it excludes water baptism for the forgiveness of sins, Mary as a mediator, confessing sins to a priest, etc. The focus is on JESUS and not another. Grace is related to holy living (Titus 2:12), not a license to sin (Jude 3,4). Acts 10 shows Cornelius and the others were saved instantly and weren’t even led through the sinner’s prayer by Peter, nor given the Romans Road nor did he ask Cornelius if he thought he was a good person!
Spiritual Wolves Are Addicted To Sin
Since spiritual wolves are not Christians, like all other unsaved people, they too are addicted to sin. That is one of the clearest ways to know them by their fruit. So if a teacher says a Christian sins all the time, then he just admitted that he is addicted to sin too. A true Christian is described here:
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Rom 6:22)
Spiritual wolves are not, in the present time, walking free from sin addictions! That is part of their bad fruit by which we can identify them. Jesus also mentioned wolves in a different way:
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. (Mat 10:16)
Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. (Luke 10:3)
The physical danger reflected from those verses is explicit. Serving God will bring trouble and persecution. For some it was an early death. To spiritually survive, the Christian must be both shrewd and innocent. That includes avoiding spiritual wolves, while continuing to follow Jesus. We must endure to the end to be saved (Mt. 10:22). Reaping eternal life (Gal. 6:8,9) doesn’t come easy or apart from the Christian exerting effort (Lk. 13:24) to hold on to what he has (Rev. 3:11) and to keep himself from idols (1 John 5:21). We must run our spiritual race with perseverance as we watch for the spiritual wolves, and other dangers, to come.