Today’s world is filled with deception that seems to take on new forms with each passing day. It’s easy to get caught up and many times we forget that real is rare. There’s nothing new about deception. Deception has taken on forms of lies, hoaxes, and fraud throughout history. Satan would be the most clever at wrapping sin in counterfeit light and his deception began in the garden. Fact is that we cannot rely solely on our own eyes to make distinction of truth. What you see isn’t always what you get.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 3:1–5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Perhaps the greatest deception of sin is the lies we tell ourselves to justify our actions and attitudes. We are subtly convinced our sin is fine as long as we don’t get caught. Sin cunningly whispers Go ahead, you’re safe. Many times, even Christians are guilty of weighing our small sins against the bigger sins of others. Every sin has the same effect of separation from a holy God. Satan’s deception is prevalent in our world and when he lies, it is consistent with his character. He is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). Paul Tripp rightly says “The scary deception of sin is that at the point of sinning, sin doesn’t look all that sinful.”
We are living in a world that is drifting further and further away from God’s moral principals. Once claiming to be a Christian nation, our country now promotes ideals contrary to scripture and is rapidly changing cultural norms. Leaders who are openly declaring Christian faith are seen as unfashionable, unloving, and many times are criticized until pushed out of public life. But then there are those individuals who capitalize on their said “faith.” Sadly, even many evangelical pastors have admittedly deceived their flock with lies, scandal, and cover up. If we are to be wise in discerning truth, God’s truth, we must look beyond what sounds and feels right. Charles Spurgeon said that discernment is the skill of seeing what is right from almost right. Clear discernment recognizes truth when putting against near-truth and falsehood.
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Co 11:3–4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
The apostle Paul was familiar with a hostile society, and his focus on the dangers of deception (a counterfeit gospel) insures us that there is nothing new under the sun. It is shameful that the liberal influence of today’s political leaders and celebrities has made its way into our mainstream churches. It appears that every denomination is struggling to stay biblical and no group is being left unscathed. Denying biblical doctrine and the divine inspiration of God’s Word compromises Truth. And then, in many churches, we find entertainment and motivational speeches that have taken the place of expositional preaching. It’s a sad fact that a false gospel produces false Christians. What we save them with is what we save them to.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Pe 2:1–3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Truth is rooted in Jesus Christ and will be recognized and understood more clearly through the knowledge of him who called us. In his Word, God teaches us that we are to use discernment in testing the spirits but how can we apply this? Our own ability to think biblically and discern truth about every issue in life is gained in our study of the Scriptures coupled with faithful preaching.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Jn 4:1). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
When writing on the subject of truth, John Stott penned “But our emotions are a fluctuating, unreliable guide to truth and must not be exalted to the place of supreme authority in determining it…My question must be – and is – not what does my heart tell me, but what does God’s word say?” We have a feelings-based society where existentialism and relativism have become priority in the common person’s thinking. We are all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good. Though we live in a fallen world, let us not be among those who give in to Satan’s crafty schemes. Even the DNA of today’s culture is sin, yet God’s grace is available through the blood of Jesus Christ. If you’ve given in to temptation’s trap, our Savior calls for repentance. Our Savior will come and the serpent will be defeated.
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Co 11:14–15). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.