The danger of deception is ever present. A seemingly legitimate email, requesting personal information, turns out to be a clever and efficient means of stealing your identity, and emptying your bank accounts. You just can’t be too careful. Likewise, spiritual deception, appearing innocently real, can rob you of spiritual vitality. Wise discernment is ever needed.
“Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.” (2 Thessalonians 2.1-2)
No deception is more dangerous than to be persuaded that the hope of the ages has come and gone, and you’ve missed out on it completely. Faith, hope, and Christian lifestyle would be shattered. Such deception would truly be fatal.
Dispelling this dangerous deception, the apostle Paul reminds us that two key things must precede that day, according to 2 Thessalonians 2.3-4: (1) a wholesale, deliberate falling away from and forsaking of truth, and; (2) the appearing of the deceiver and lawless one; the antichrist. His sober and urgent warning reminds us to be especially vigilant concerning the prospect of massive deceptive efforts as the time of the end approaches. He tells us, regarding the coming lawless one: “the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2.9-10) The only preventative measure that will be effective, in the face of extraordinary deceptive efforts, is passionate love for truth.
Deception has always been, and always will be, a threat to believers. It is alarmingly effective against all but the most prepared. A particular practice or truth is exaggerated and distorted. A method usurps the message. A philosophy masquerades as truth. The seed of deception is planted in the mind, and those having only a vague familiarity with truth lack the warning alarm that would halt deception before it could progress into lifestyle. Like the slow growth of cancer cells, it eventually is fatally effective.
The best way to avoid deception is to be as familiar with truth and the truth-giver as possible. Minimum standards are a recipe for disaster, but passion for the way, the truth, and the life are the best safeguards.
May love for, and the life of truth, wash over and through you today, and always.
©Steve Taylor, 2015 --Used by permission
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