I felt inspired when I read a few scriptures in my Sunday School class this morning. It stayed with me all day and I knew I had to write about it. I want to go in depth with these scriptures and write about how we can easily be deceived. This is something we all need to evaluate within ourselves.
Deception has been a tool used by Satan since the beginning of creation. He was the serpent that deceived Eve with the fruit from the forbidden tree. Satan has been using deception ever since, and that is why he is called the father of lies.
Deception is when something is so close to the truth, but yet it's not the truth. Those are the hardest to distinguish, but by the spirit of God, we can have discernment. By the Word of God, we will know what's right and what's not. God equips us to escape Satan's traps.
1. Are you being deceived by religion?
Many people are involved in religion but they don't know God. They are not saved. We can do the entire enchilada: Be a faithful member of church, tithe our money, be involved in the ministry, or bringing the best fried chicken at the potluck, yadda, you name it, it won't save you. None of these things will get you to heaven.
Church will not save you. People will not save you. Religion will not save you. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can save you. There's a terrible false belief of universalism that says there are many ways to heaven, but that is bunk. Without Jesus Christ, nobody can enter heaven. If any other thing could get us to heaven, then why would Jesus die on the cross? That's because he knew it would be the only way.
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6
2. Are you being deceived by your zeal?
"Wow, look at all those people.. they're doing community services, feeding the hungry, visiting the widows, donating to charities, saving the spotted owls and all of the good deeds there are out there! They're so good.. they're definitely going to heaven!" Does that sound like you?
Do good people go to heaven? No. Does giving back to the world and doing community service redeem you? No. That's not your redemption. It doesn't matter how good you are or what you do, because it's not your works that save you. That won't even get you inside the lobby room of Heaven.
It's grace. God left his kingdom and his throne to come on Earth as a man to bear the sins of the world. Jesus never sinned once, but took our place of punishment and death so that we may take his place as heirs to God's kingdom. He traded with us! Why? Because he loved us that much.
Now it's all wrapped nicely as a gift for everyone, including you. It's up to you to receive it or to reject it. That's all there is to it and it's your choice. Nobody can make that choice for you but YOU alone.
3. Are you being deceived by yourself?
Do you say: "I am a good person."
God's answer: "but we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our inquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6
Do you have your own opinions on what is right and wrong and think you're just as good as the next guy?
God's answer: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 14:12.
Did you know our own ways lead to death? The only way we can go to Heaven is if we do it God's way. He's there already, wants you to go there too, and made a road map for you in the Bible. It's impossible for us, a sinful being, to enter the perfection of Heaven that knows no sin. So God made a plan to get us there with him, and it is so easy. Isn't that nice?
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." Romans 3:23-25.
4. Are you being deceived by the world?
Sin has it's pleasures, but they are only for a short time. None of these things will last and the end will bring forth death. It's like the story of how a trapper will catch a wolf. They put a knife inside an ice block and cover it in blood. The wolf continues to lick the blood until the ice melts and the knife gets them at the end. That's sin.
"Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." Hebrews 11:25
Are you fighting away an emptiness inside and looking to fulfill it in the world? Maybe you are searching for fulfillment in alcohol, drugs, narcotics, anything to get you feeling something. Maybe you're searching for it in promiscuous relationships, one night stands, looking for love in the wrong places. Maybe you're finding yourself on shopping sprees, buying things that only seem to satisfy you for a short time, and then you must have something bigger, better and more expensive.
You need the Saviour. That hole was meant to be filled by him and him alone. You'll never find it anywhere in the World. The World sure promises us with happiness but they are only temporary. Happiness comes and goes depending on the circumstances. With Jesus Christ, you can have joy and it will be abiding no matter what the circumstances are.
If you died in some freak accident today, where would you go? Would you go to Heaven, or would you go to hell? Now hell is a very real place. We don't die into some kind of eternal sleep or blackness. Unfortunately, I have to tell you the truth about hell but the good news is that you don't have to go there.
The Bible says that anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. If you believe that Jesus Christ is God's son who was sent to die on the cross for our sins, and that he rose three days later, you shall be saved. If you confess with your mouth that he is Lord and want him to be your Saviour, then kneel down and ask God to forgive your sins and ask him to be your Saviour today. I urge you not to put this off. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13
And if you have already done so, welcome to the family! Life just changes when we know what happens at the end. Suddenly all our problems just seem so minor and petty in light of eternity. This is all just temporary. What a day of rejoicing that will be when we finally see our Saviour face to face at last!