I can’t be deceived because I’m a Christian!
The Bible speaks of a certain time at the end of the age where deceivers will become commonplace and there will be so much confusion that truth will become rare, few will speak it because few know it.
Matt 24:4-5 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you."For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.”
Jesus spoke several times in his discourse on deception.
To those who believe. Luke 21:8 And He said: "Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time has drawn near.' Therefore do not go after them .
The word he is not in the original translation. So we have Jesus warning of men saying they are Christ (or christed- anointed) and men saying “I am”, saying they are God (i.e. we find this among the new age and word faith teachers). There is no question this is taking place.
Paul writes to the Corinthian church “ But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted-- you may well put up with it! (2 Cor. 11:3-4)
How did the Devil deceive Eve? By his words. This is why Paul speaks about protecting the mind. But he also came to Eve as an angel of light of which he says to the church as “ Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:14-15)
He did so with Eve and his anointed workers do so today to those who listen to them. In other words expect it from those who love the world, and those who are opportunists wanting power.
Eph. 5:6 “ Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
These are Words that have no spiritual meaning, that do not help you, but trick you. In our modern vernacular we call them fluff. They mislead and take one captive.
Paul further writes, Rom. 16:18 “For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.
II Thess. 2:3 “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition”
Apart from the discussion on the various views of this verse, we are told not to be deceived into thinking this day has already taken place, something must take place first. I personally believe it is about holding to the faith before Christ comes.
In the meantime we are told in 2 Tim. 3:13-14 “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them”
Here Paul explains the pattern of duplication that reaches its zenith point in the end days. Imposters, those who know what they are doing and those who they deceive, who do not know what they are doing. It was Eve who was deceived by the angel of light to disobey, however Adam knew what he was doing when he disobeyed. Both types are included in this Scripture that admonishes us on whom we have learned from.
All of this activity is part of the falling away in the last days, the removal from the faith. As Paul tells us “faith comes by hearing , and hearing by the word of God." (Rom 10:17). Without it being taught correctly we can be misled.
We can deceive ourselves
There are numerous ways and categories of deception with various degrees. Some think they are immune to deception and do not have their guard up. As the Bible teaches anyone of us can be deceived, misled.
First, we deceive ourselves by denying that we have sin in our life.
I Jn. 1:8 “ If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us .”
The “we” is the church. Thinking oneself as holy and perfect as movements in the church have taught previously and today removes us from reality that we must continually be cleansed.
We can deceive ourselves by our pride, in what we know or do that is not right. This is why we are told to be humble, receive the word in meekness.
James 1:21-23 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
By not trying to put the word into action and only listening nothing changes in us and we deceive ourselves. We must try to live it out for our sanctification.
1 Cor.3:18 “Let no one deceive himself . If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.”
Intelligence can foster pride if it is not under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Gal. 6:3-5 “ For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself . But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load .”
Notice here Paul says to examine the work we do, not just our doctrine (that he says elsewhere). Both are important but the works we do is what will be judged for our rewards, we should not boast if God is using us in a great capacity, nor compare ourselves to others in this matter.
James 1:26 “ If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless .”
We are told the heart is deceitful above all things. Jesus said out of the heart come the issues of life. When one does not have control of the tongue and speaks nonsense, tells stories, exaggerations, embellishments or lies, than he is not a doer of the word. If he cannot control his words towards others and is belittling them that is not the fruit of the Spirit. James explains one of the ways of practicing true religion is by helping the needy (examples of visiting widows or orphans, those ostracized) and to keep the influences of the world out of their lives, which can mean a number of things. In context with the tongue it would be boasting and using trickery to get ahead or have themselves noticed (Jms.1:9). These are called opportunists that climb the ladder in the church just as they do in the world.
Gal. 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked ; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
(Paul is speaking of rewards in the future, though one can certainly receive what they sowed in this life)
The point is that God knows all, nothing is hidden from him, He will repay by being perfectly just.
1 Cor. 6:9-10 “ Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God .”
Paul speaks of the unrighteous, in Gal. 5:21 Paul calls these sins of the flesh, the fallen man’s nature that are being practiced. that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Notice he also includes thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners. Much of this is taking place in the church today, it is not isolated as it were among the Corinthian church. In fact thievery, coveting, revilers and extortion teachings are found in the pulpits disguised as a spiritual teaching called seed faith.
1 Cor. 15:33-34 “Do not be deceived: " Evil company corrupts good habits." Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame .”
Paul is warning about those who become friends those who live by the fallen nature, those we are not to have fellowship with, unrepentant brothers are also included (1 Cor.5:11; 1 Cor.6:6; 2 Thess.3:6; Jd.4)
We should recognize those who speak for God correctly and act accordingly from those who do not, otherwise it is to our shame. Clearly one can believe all the right things and still act fleshly, harshly, uncompassionate to others when they are hurting or need help. Our goal should be to reach the person not just prove we are right (Gods Word is right) by what we say.
2 Tim. 2:23-26 “ avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
We are to correct those in opposition but not by calling them names and ad hominem attacks that are directed against a person to try to humiliate them. To not quarrel one must be in control of both their heart and their tongue. Again our goal is to win the person back with the truth and renew themselves to do God’s will.
Further admonishments to not be deceived.
John the apostle who was known for his love warns the church
I Jn. 2:26 “These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.”
I Jn. 3:7 “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.”
John the apostle who loved and was especially loved by Jesus speaks directly about liars who deny Jesus, and “ that no lie is of the truth”; and what is righteousness and what is lawlessness.
II Thess. 2:9-10 “ The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved .”
Our age is becoming known for lawlessness, we see it all around us. In V.7 Paul explains “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way .”
What is lawlessness? “ Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness ” (I Jn. 3:4.) Sin is doing the opposite of what God commands or expects, we all have a conscience and have a inner knowing to a certain extent of what is good and what is evil.
The restraint of lawlessness, evil, rebellion will be here in some form until it is completely removed. For the time being lawlessness is rising like the flood waters did in Noah’s day.
Matt 24:11-12 " Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many . " And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
In time of lawlessness a lack of love will occur. A love that is supposed to be evident primarily by the church.
Gal 5:22 the fruit of the Spirit is love. James 3:18-4:1 the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” We are to preach the gospel of peace (Rom.10:15)
Jesus spoke about testing the prophets for fruit (Mt.7:17; Eph. 5:9 for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), do they have the gospel as their priority, do they counter what is false by what is true?
Jesus speaks of those who were deceived and deceiving others, “ Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' " And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness !” (Matt 7:22-23)
The false representatives of the Lord, these false Christs (anointed ones) will be addressed for their boasting of power: who prophesied falsely, who claimed to do miracles but were instead practicing thievery, coveting, reviling and extorted the people as they were ravenous wolves. As Peter conveys, “for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” (2 Peter 2:3)
Our example is from when Jesus addressed the religious leaders of his day that everyone respected "Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matt. 23:28.) Men look at the outside but God knows the inner man. The fruit shows a changed nature of the fallen man, there are different gradations but all who are born again are being changed.
When Jesus returns His angels will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 13:41.) The Millennium will begin with only the righteous entering.
Our Time is one of testing
Col. 2:3-4 Referring to Christ “ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.”
Paul spoke of being ripped off “ Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Col 2:8) Philosophy, science can agree or disagree with God’s word, depending on how it is used. One of the traditions Paul mentions 1 Cor. 15:32-34 "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!" Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."
This can be a result of those we associate with. Being around worldly people who live for today and have pleasure as their focus spoils our good habits we have been trained in by the word and godly examples.
And we come to one of the more stern warnings of the last days. 1 Tim 4:1 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons”
This is the main way deceit is let into the church, by other spirits, not the Holy Spirit who speaks and explains to us the Word of God.
Col. 3:8-10 “ But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him”
It is because we live by the new man created in us that we are receiving suffering, persecution from the world. Because we are being changed, becoming Christ like, allowing His nature to control us and our actions to others we become targets of the enemy. If you find there is no resistance to what you are doing then you may not be doing God’s will.
Remembering that we are accepted because of Christ, and nothing of ourselves. We are to continue in humility, doing the work of the Lord and fulfill His will in this present evil age we live in. May we all have an abundant entry, and not be ashamed as the days become darker and the light becomes brighter.