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Be Not Deceived

Be Not Deceived

       The word “deception” cannot be found in the King James Bible. This does not mean there are not warnings against it in God’s Word.   In fact, the phrase “Be not deceived” occurs five times, the term “deceiver(s)”, five times and the word deceive or deceived, a total of sixty-one times. This is in addition to other words that convey the same idea, such as beguile.  
       Upon even a casual perusal of the Bible, and the history of man, one can see that deception entered man’s life early on. In Genesis 3:13, after the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden, we have a question from God and the answer provided by the woman. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.  You may have noticed that the deception (lying) on the part of the serpent did not excuse the transgression, as the six verses that follow lay out their punishment for disobeying God.
      This is why we have the repeated warnings of God throughout His Word so that we can avoid being deceived. If we are ignorant of God’s Word, or even if we allow one to deceive us, we have no excuse. It is certain from Romans 1:19-21 that all mankind bears the full responsibility for allowing themselves to be deceived. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
         Many, for whatever reason, seem to think they cannot be deceived. All should consider the warning the Holy Spirit provided through the pen of the apostle Paul in 1Corithinians 10:12.   When we think we stand is when we let down our guard.   Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.   In the verse following, Christians find the inspired guarantee that every temptation, (even those where deception is involved) can be overcome, if we avail ourselves of the divine assistance offered. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1Corinthians 10:13)
       In an earlier portion of the same epistle, the Spirit had Paul enumerate a number of sins in which they had previously been involved, but not before warning them: “Be not deceived”.   Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1Corinthians 6:9-10)   In a wonderful show of God’s mercy and grace, these were told that they hadn’t remained in such a pitiful and lost condition.   Upon obedience to the gospel, they had been cleansed from their sins and were no longer (at that time) deceived.   1Corinthians 6:11 shows this. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
       When the gospel (the truth) is preached, the purpose is not to deceive, but to proclaim the message of Christ as 1Corinthians 2:1-2 declares.   And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Then, as verse 4 shows, Paul’s declaration of truth to them did not originate with man, but was provided by the Spirit and was then confirmed by the signs that followed the preaching in the absence of the Written Word. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
      This is of utmost importance as man’s words and man’s thoughts often can deceive or beguile others. The fact that this can occur is why we have the numerous warnings in God’s Word. Colossians 2:4 is just one of these. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. Another passage that proves the possibility of being deceived is Galatians 3:1. As Paul wrote to the congregations in this area, they were asked: O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?   Keep in mind that these were already Christians.
       Does it not stand to reason that those of the world are already deceived? All that is not of God is of the world.   Those who read and follow God’s Word as they should, won’t be deceived. The world will. 2Timothy 3:13 tells us: But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.  What shall they reap? God’s Word says it will be what they have sown. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.- Galatians 6:7. What will you reap? That’s up to you.
       Don’t be deceived. Who will you follow, God’s Word or man? Read God’s Word, obey the gospel, and prepare for eternity before it is everlastingly too late.   Then remain faithful in study and service to God.   Don’t be deceived!

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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