This article is about deception.  Webster defines deception as “The act of being deceived”.  He adds it has to do with fraud, subterfuge, trickery, chicanery, dishonesty and the intent to mislead. Looking around us, we see there is much deception in the world.  The media carries reports of “con-men” duping citizens out of large sums of money. It seems that being a good, trusting and sincere person makes one more susceptive to being deceived by such people.

The Bible has a lot to say about deception. Though the word “deception” is not in the King James Version, some form of it is found 126 times. It is interesting to note that much of what the Bible says about deception is in the form of warning against being deceived. In Matthew 24:4, 5 Jesus warned against our being deceived by others. The Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 3:18, warned against self-deception, as did James in James 1:22. In this article, we will notice how deception can occur and by doing so see the need to be warned.

ONE IS DECEIVED IF HE IS A HEARER OF THE WORD AND NOT A DOER – JAMES 1:22-25 – The words of Jesus seen in Matthew 7:26, 27 reveal the tragedy of this deception. As powerful as God’s Word is (Romans 1:16; Hebrews 4:12), it becomes “powerless” when we do nothing with it but let it “go in one ear and out the other.”

ONE IS DECEIVED IF HE SAYS HE HAS NO SIN – 1 JOHN 1:8-10 – The tragedy of this deception is we call God a liar.  The reason for this is, He says, “All have sinned.” (Romans 3:10, 23).  We, also, are deceived into believing that since we have no sin, there is nothing we need to do in order to be saved from sin. As such, we continue to live alienated from God.

ONE IS DECEIVED IF HE THINKS HE IS SOMETHING WHEN HE IS NOTHING – GALATIANS 6:1-3 – The tragedy here is that one thinks he is invincible and cannot be overtaken in the fault of his brother. However, the New Testament teaches the contrary (1 Corinthians 10:12). Caution must always be exercised in our lives in this area.

ONE IS DECEIVED IF HE THINKS HE IS AS WISE AS GOD – 1 CORINTHIANS 3:18, 19 – The problem here is man’s wisdom “is foolishness with God” (Isaiah 55:8, 9). Like the “gibberish” of a one-year olds speech to an adult, our “wisdom” falls far short of that possessed by God.  There are many “unauthorized” things men have made a part of religion.  For example,

The means of raising money for the church in contradiction to

1 Corinthians 16:1, 2.

The use of Mechanical Instrumental music in worship to God

(Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16, 17).

The teaching that one is saved by “faith only” in contradiction

to such passages as James 2:24.

The so-called “Sinner’s prayer” in pursuit of salvation, in

contradiction to numerous New Testament passages of Scripture

such as Acts 9:6, 11 and 22:16.

The practice of sprinkling as a “mode” of baptism even though

the New Testament is clear on what baptism involves (Romans 6:4).

The Lord’s Supper having taken on some regularity other than that

which is authorized by the New Testament (Acts 20:7).

Such things as these leave us deceived and our worship vain (Matthew 15:9; Hebrews 5:9). There is no doubt, that “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

ONE IS DECEIVED WHEN HE SEEMS TO BE RELIGIOUS AND DOES NOT CONTROL HIS TONGUE – JAMES 1:26 – The Bible is replete with warnings against misuse of the tongue (James 3:1-10; Matthew 12:37). In view of these, we need to be cautioned to use our tongues for the glory of God (Philippians 2:11).

ONE IS DECEIVED IF HE THINKS HE WILL NOT REAP WHAT HE SOWS – GALATIANS  6:7, 8 – At judgment we will “receive the things done in our body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

ONE IS DECEIVED IF HE THINKS EVIL CONPANIONS WILL NOT CORRUPT GOOD MORALS – 1 CORINTHIANS 15:33 – We need to select our close associates carefully, realizing the affect they have on us (Proverbs 1:10-16).

ONE IS DECEIVED IF HE THINKS THE UNRIGHTEOUS WILL INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD – 1 CORINTHIANS 6:9, 10 – The simple facts are, without holiness, no man shall see God (Hebrews 12:14; Revelation 22:15).

Being deceived in these and other areas is not something we need to allow to happen to us. We can overcome the deceiver, and thus overcome being deceived (1 John 2:13, 14). The choice is ours (Joshua 24:15).