For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:17, NKJV)
Religious hucksters who peddle the word of God hinder and harm the spread of God’s truth. The “prosperity gospel” that enriches its preachers while giving false hope to those captured by its promise of material wealth comes to mind. Then there are those who offer miracles and plead for your money so they can continue their curing crusade – all “in the name of Jesus.” (We speak as foolish people!) The apostles of Christ did not play on the covetous desires of their hearers, nor do we. They did not make merchandise of the word of God. Those who do so today deceive many, and help harden hearts against the truth. The apostles’ doctrine is about saving lost souls from sin, not lining the pockets of the peddlers of error (Acts 2:41-42). Paul said, “I do not seek yours, but you” (2 Cor. 12:14). He sought their salvation, not their material goods. Gospel preachers seek souls for Christ; False teachers seek souls for themselves. Beware those who handle the word of God deceitfully and adulterate the purity of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:2). How will you know the genuine gospel from the counterfeit, and the false teacher from the truth teacher? By their fruits you will know them (Matt. 7:15-20). Do they agree with the apostles of Christ? If not, they are not of God (read 1 Jno. 4:1, 6).