In very broad terms, the Bible is God’s revelation to man of the eternal and absolute truths about love and hate, righteousness and evil, life and death. And in direction opposition to these truths, there is deception.
Unfortunately, deception is a reality of life; we have all been lied to. Any deception is wrong. But because there are eternal consequences, deception about the truth of God’s Word is particularly malicious and destructive. Spiritual and human entities are hard at work to blind anyone they can to God’s eternal truths. And, although demonic spiritual powers are deliberately misleading whomever they can, their human accomplices are often unwitting partners that have already fallen victim to the lies of Satan – many people are completely deluded about the truth. However, there are also truly evil individuals who clearly understand the truth and have knowingly and willingly chosen to stand on the side of wickedness.
This devotion provides a very general overview of the basic truths about spiritual deception as presented in the Bible. Far from comprehensive, the intention of this ‘lesson’ is to ensure that those who read it have at least a basic awareness of the battle over truth and the everlasting consequences of deception.
The Reality of Deception
The Bible clearly indicates that there are many who would deceive us.
- Genesis 3:13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
- Matthew 24:4-5 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
- 1 Corinthians 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.
- Titus 1:1-2 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,
The Risk of Deception
Being deceived leads to corrupted thinking and dreadful decisions.
Attributing the Goodness of God to Luck or to Other People/Powers
- James 1:16-17 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Denial of God’s Righteous Judgement
- Ephesians 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.
Contradictions and/or Confusion Over the Fulfillment of God’s Plans
- 2 Thessalonians 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,
Turning Away from God
- Deuteronomy 11:16 “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them,
The Result of Deception
The spiritual blindness that results from deception leads to contempt for the truth of God’s Word.
- John 3:19-20 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
The Release from Deception
Salvation in Jesus Christ saves us from the fate of the deceived.
- Titus 3:3-5 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
To deny or disregard the truth about deception
will ensure that you become a victim of it.
You can’t get truth from someone who is already deceived.
- Luke 6:39 And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?
The Holy Word of God is the only reliable source of absolute truth.
- Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
- John 8:31-32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The first line of defense against spiritual deception is to surrender your life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit will help you discern truth. After that, the only lasting and reliable protection against being spiritually deceived is to grow daily in a personal relationship with God through Christ. There are no shortcuts or substitutes; this is only achieved through Bible study, prayer, worship, fellowship with other Christians, regular church attendance, using the spiritual gifts God has given you to serve, sharing the truth about Christ with those who are deceived, etc.
- 2 Peter 3:17-18 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Truthful and faithful Father, I pray that Your Word and Your Spirit will protect and preserve those who have trusted Your truth. Please make a way for those who have ignored, rejected, misunderstood or never heard Your truth about salvation in Jesus to hear and surrender their lives to it. May Your sovereign and perfect will be done. I humbly ask this in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Amen.