These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you (1 John 2:26, NKJV).
The possibility of being deceived about spiritual matters is just as real today as when the apostle John wrote to the children of God. As then, many are still against Christ yet pose as if they are for Christ; Hence, the warning against being deceived (1 John 2:18-19). John emphatically directs us, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). How? By using the truth with which Christ has endowed (anointed) us: “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth” (1 John 2:20-21). The truth Jesus Christ gave us through His apostles (1) Identifies the deceptions of false teachings (1 John 4:6), and (2) Assures our fellowship with the Father and the Son (John 14:21-24), and (3) Leads us to His promise of eternal life (1 Pet. 1:3-9). John says these are among the reasons we let His word abide in us (1 John 2:24-27; John 8:31-32). Use God’s word to verify your faith. Rejoice in your fellowship with God and be comforted in Christ’s promise of eternal life. Rest assured, God’s word of truth will not deceive you.
These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; (Jude 12, NKJV)
Some believe it matters not what you teach, believe, and do to serve God, as long as you are sincere. Jesus taught differently (read Matt. 7:21-23). So did Jude in today’s verse. Jude warned Christians against false teachers, whose error corrupts the grace and destines them to destruction (Jude 4-11). Jude explains: 1) False teachers are spots (hidden reefs) in your love feasts. They are like unseen dangers lurching beneath the surface, ready to tear and to destroy those who venture into their waters (2 Pet. 2:1-2); 2) False teachers are deceptive. They often appear beautiful, attracting unsuspecting souls to take a closer look at their false ways. But, their beauty is deadly as they devour innocent souls (Matt. 7:15; 23:28; 2 Pet. 2:3). 3) False teachers are self-serving instead of fearful of God and sin (Phil. 3:18-19). Like empty clouds, they give no spiritual refreshment to the soul. They are fruitless and lifeless. Ignoring a false teacher and his false teaching is even more dangerous than a ship’s captain who ignores the reefs and rocks in the ocean. Hidden rocks can take a seaman to his death. When false teachers are hidden among us they take souls with them to eternal destruction (2 Pet. 2:1-3, 18-19). Oh yes, it matters what you teach, believe, and do in service to God (Heb. 12:28-29).
My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. (Proverbs 1:10, NKJV)
The godly must have clear eyes to see when sinners are enticing them to do evil. Under the guise of what is good and beneficial, the innocent and the gullible are deceived into following sinners into all sorts of destructive behavior. Just as the serpent deceived Eve, our minds can be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3). Deception and lies are the hallmark of the devil and his cohorts (see John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Many loving parents have warned their children against following the path of sinners (Proverbs 1:15-19). Such instruction, when followed, beautifies one’s life with grace (Proverbs 1:8-9). But, to refuse such warnings to resist and turn away from evil people and their enticements is foolish indeed (Proverbs 1:20-27). When a parent, a friend or a fellow Christian warns you of spiritual danger, accept their counsel and follow the wisdom of divine truth. God’s word turns you away from lusts while urging you to “pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). Do not be enticed by sinners. Instead, flee sin and expose it for the evil that it is (Ephesians 5:11).
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9–12, NKJV)
Those who believe they have had a vision from God should consider this simple, scriptural fact: there are “lying wonders” that deceive those who do not love and believe the truth. Could it be you have been deceived into thinking your experience was from God? There is a way to find out. Test it against the Scriptures. You see, Scripture says God speaks to us now by His Son, through His apostles – not by visions and dreams (Hebrews 1:1-2; 2:3-4; John 13:20). Therefore, to accept an experience as a divine message contradicts the Scriptures (which, by the way, completely equip us for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:16-17). When we want to believe a lie, the Lord will let us (2:11). Please know that God speaks to us all in the Scriptures, not through experiences, feelings, dreams, and visions. Love the truth. Believe the truth. Be saved by the truth. Or, perish by the deception of error. This is the choice each of us must make.
Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. (Psalm 19:12, NKJV)
Sin is deceptive. Sin deceives us. It is so deceptive that often we do not know our own “secret faults,” even though others can see them clearly. The faults of which David wrote are sins that he did not understand were in him. So, David prayed that he would be able to know his errors and be cleansed of them by God. And, even though you may not see your sin, there are many who do. Of course, God knows your sins: “You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance” (Psa. 90:8). Everything is laid bare before the Lord God (Heb. 4:13). Your parents know your sins. Parents know the reality of sin and the dangers it presents to their children. Listen to your parents when they warn you of sin. Other Christians know your sins. They hear your words and see your actions that reveal the presence of sin. So, how can you understand your errors? By implanting God’s word in your heart and being “doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (Jas. 1:21-22). Look into God’s word, the “perfect law of liberty,” and be a “doer of the work” (Jas. 1:25). God’s word exposes sin so that we can know our errors and obtain God’s cleansing and salvation.
9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:9-10)
A lie is a falsehood, an untruth, a deception. Every day we face many temptations to lie, from fudging our taxes to calling into work “sick” when that is not at all the case. Christians deliberately choose not to be deceptive – even if it costs them. And, it will. But, Christians choose to follow the example of Christ – and there was never deceit in His mouth (1 Pet. 2:21-22). Make up your mind that you will be a person of truth, honesty and integrity every day. By doing so you will “put off the old man with his deeds” and “put on the new man” who is conformed to the image of Christ. Be like Christ – not like sinners.