Understanding Deception – for Non-Dummies
Recently, I wrote a piece titled Understanding the End Times — for Non-Dummies (playing off the wildly popular For Dummies series of books). This second article deals with the dangers of deception that Jesus warned would be the primary sign of His eminent return.
No genuine Christian has the luxury of taking this subject lightly. How a person spends this life and where he or she will spend eternity depends on being discerning at the end of the age. We’ve got to learn to discern, because, as Charles Spurgeon once said: “Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.”
Satan is a master at deceiving people, especially in obfuscating the beautiful and simple message of the gospel. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).
Examples of Deception
Recently, NFL superstar Aaron Rodgers had a catastrophic injury on the fourth play of the season for his team, the New York Jets. I prayed for this 38-year-old “Christian.” When I researched a recent interview, he shared about his wonderful Christian experience as a young man — missions trips and a commitment to Christ. Then he pivoted to say he now sees “religion as a crutch,” doesn’t believe in people being saved or unsaved, or in heaven and hell, and he likes the Dalai Lama. Sad and scary.
I was privileged to serve as a teacher in the longest-running revival in America’s history, the Brownsville Revival, where a young teenage girl, passionate for Jesus, sang before each invitation as scores streamed forward to get right with God. Last week she posted a statement describing her turning away from Christianity to some newfound spiritual experience. Multitudes across America were shocked. Sad and scary.
Waiting to pick up my order of Thai food last week, I engaged with a mother sitting at the counter with her 10-year-old daughter. She brimmed with enthusiasm for her daughter’s project at school, showing me artwork depicting some fantasy land where there is no religion, because all we need is “the inner light within and the positive focus of connecting with cosmic consciousness.” Before leaving, I gave her my personal testimony tract, and prayed. Sad and scary.
Vivek Ramaswamy, 38-year-old Republican candidate for president, was interviewed and asked about Jesus Christ. His response: “Jesus was a son of God, but not the Son of God.” Deception with chilling consequences.
Deception is rampant today, and our only hope is a Third Great Awakening ignited by humble intercession, national repentance and courageous truth tellers who can discern deception and counter the lies.
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” (George Orwell, 1984).
Amidst the craziness of “woke” deception and widespread religious apostasy, the Bible warns us to be prepared.
- Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared … ” (1 Timothy 4:1–2).
- Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction … (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
- For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths (2 Timothy 4:3–4).
- If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth … (1 Timothy 6:3–5). Be careful on the Internet!
- Stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit: When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth … (John 16:13).
- Stay in a biblically grounded church with leaders of strong character: … so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes (Ephesians 4:14).
- Stay humble and teachable. Invite input and correction: But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). C.S. Lewis said: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
- Stay in Scripture: Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers (1 Timothy 4:16).
Here’s the deal: Years ago, I had a “divine appointment” with Billy Graham. I’ll never forget what he told me as he pointed to his Bible: “Stay in the Book. Stay in the Book.” Amen.
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Larry Tomczak is a cultural commentator of 46 years, an IFA board member, a bestselling author, and a public-policy adviser with Liberty Counsel. His innovative video/book, BULLSEYE, develops informed influencers in 30 days (see www.bullseyechallenge.com). Hear his weekly podcast here. Photo Credit: photobyphotoboy/Canva.
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