We live in a world today that is full of deceivers. The only way we can avoid being misled by them is by paying attention to the advice of Christ. He stated in advance what signs will arrive before His coming. The first would be an increase in false prophets and false Christs. “…He said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them” (Luke 21:8). The first warning that Jesus gave to the apostles was to watch out for deception. They were to remain on the alert all the time because many would rise up to deceive people. “…Jesus…said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5). But we should also be aware that not everyone who deceives started out intending to be deceptive.
We might hear some declare things like, “I am the Christ and it’s almost time for you to be delivered by me from all your enemies.” Words like these are used by those who seduce people. To deceive or seduce means to “lead astray.” Many Christians who now are experiencing prosperity that is false will not be enthusiastic about leaving this earth to go to heaven. Those Christians who have had “demons cast out of them” have been offered a misleading solution which does not benefit them at all. The amount of deception being promoted by those who claim to be Christian leaders is one major indication of how very near the coming of Christ is. Those whose relationship with Christ is false are very likely to hear these four dreadful words someday: “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23).
There is no way to teach sound doctrine and train people in righteousness without also warning about what is false. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears…” (2 Timothy 4:3). How much better it is to speak the truth even if it wounds and then heals, than to speak what is false and comforting that will only kill. Many false prophets know how to properly preach the Gospel, which they actually do sometimes. But this only contributes more to the perplexing confusion they create. Therefore, let’s “…henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive…” (Ephesians 4:14)
Only one person has ever been totally trustworthy and truthful, and He is Jesus Christ. All who someday go to heaven will be there because of this truth: He died for their sake, and they thereby know that they can trust Him. But those who trust and believe in anyone or anything other than Christ will ultimately die lost, because they were deceived. Many times we blunder through all of this because we don’t believe. But this doesn’t have to keep us from holding fast to the truth that victory will ultimately be ours, because we are willing to cry out, “Jesus, I will continue to trust you until victory is mine!”
It is possible that we have not correctly judged someone who is without Christ, or we might not correctly judge someone who has given their life to Christ at times. But if we stay where people are worldly, or where they obey religious rituals, or are unfaithful to God, we help the unsaved around us to be deceived by our very presence among what is false and misleading. We thereby give them the impression that these things are correct. But “…evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). A deceitful heart of sin can lead us into bondage, which we no longer wrestle with after we struggle with it for a while. Then we become a slave of sin without even realizing it. The false and deceitful teaching of Christless people is filled with boasting and is useless. “They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak” (Psalm 12:2). But when this kind of teaching becomes widely accepted, wickedness prevails. We should take note that Christ treated those who are deceived with gentleness. But He also warned that a very convincing kind of deceit would be a plague of the last days right before He comes back.
The same deception that Eve originally fell for is claiming multitudes of people today. A ferocious battle is going on between God’s truth and the lies of Satan for the souls of men. It is impossible to believe both the truth and a lie at the same time. But wouldn’t it be better to have people hate us for telling them the truth, than to have them love us for telling them a lie? Too many today pay no attention to the difference between truth and lies, so much so that the truth doesn’t seem to make much difference anymore.
Now “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7). There isn’t anyone who has trusted God’s Word and been deceived because of it. Every time they are put to the test, God and His Word have always been proven to be as pure as gold and most worthy of trust. Don’t be deceived—trust God above all men!