The Problem of Moral Deception

We are living in a world drifting further and further away from God’s moral principles. Nations once claiming to be Christian are now promoting ideals completely contrary to the Scriptures. American public life once stood reliant on the state to endorse long-standing Christian values that had proven themselves over time. It made sense that laws affirmed a biblical worldview and were a reflection of Christian morals. For the most part, even if only for appearances sake, America was perceived to be a virtuous people. But, in time, more and more people began to see Christian morality as standing in the way of a new morality of self-fulfillment. Leaders who were open about their testimonies of a genuine faith began to be seen as unfashionable and at times, criticized until pushed out of public life. Throwing off seemingly burdensome traditional behaviors and social mores, people began to pursue life without God and without consideration of long-term consequences. The problem of moral deception has crept into the church and too many Christians have substituted comfortable living for a life changed by the gospel. 

The morality of self-fulfillment that has taken hold of the hearts and minds of many practicing Christians exposes an area of dangerous weakness: We simply cannot rely on our own two eyes to make wise decisions, because the greatest deception of sin itself is the lies we tell ourselves to justify our actions and attitudes. Whether swayed by the public or when viewing our private lives, we are subtly convinced that sin is fine. Paul was familiar with the danger of deception and its overall destruction: A false gospel produces false Christians. Paul was shocked that the Galatians were departing from the gospel he preached to them. Do we risk ignoring the problems addressed in the Pauline epistles? Even after we become believers, we are prone to wander from God and the good news and if we aren’t careful, the church at large will have abandoned authority of the Scriptures altogether.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ga 1:6–8). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Our own ability to think biblically about every issue in life is gained through the knowledge of the Scriptures. Barna’s 2021 report in conjunction with the American Bible Society noted that one in six U.S. adults reads the Bible most days during the week, yet in some of the largest congregations in America it has become common to replace expositional preaching of the Bible. Satan’s deception is prevalent today in “churches” who present a false gospel when congregant’s minds are filled with words more palatable, words reflecting our cultural norms being learned and reinforced. Has the church become nothing more than a social construct appeasing the masses while removing the gospel from its rightful place? Have evangelicals forgotten that it is the nature of the gospel to make sinners uncomfortable while confronting sin as an offense against a holy God? Our hope is not self-fulfillment. Hope lies outside ourselves.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Heb 4:12–13). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 15:4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Equally disturbing is the fact that when we do not hear biblical truths clearly established from our pulpits, we begin to have trouble measuring truth and determining error. The measuring stick for absolute truth is God’s Word and with routine Bible intake, we become better able to discern. To the contrary, a slow fade from scripture in life matters leads to bondage in cultural ideals. God gives people the freedom to believe whatever they want, but those beliefs always affect society.

but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. 

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Th 5:21–22). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 8:31–32). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

God’s good creation has been marred by sin and it seeps into each and every area: society, the church, and the hearts of individuals. In Genesis, God told the serpent that the day would come when a Son would be born through Eve, and even though the serpent would strike His heel, the Son of Eve would crush the serpent’s head. The serpent will be defeated. Make no mistake, only God can save us from our sin and its consequences and empower us to battle sin as we live in His kingdom.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Pe 1:3–4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.