The majority of mankind will not spend eternity with their Creator. The majority will have been deceived into believing the lie concerning the reality of Christ. Christ is God in the flesh, Redeemer of mankind, and the only way to know God the Father. Any other representation of the person and mission of Christ is false, and anyone who embraces any lesser role of Christ has been deceived.
Therefore, the focus of the Bible is to present Christ as the only way to attain God’s required standard of righteousness. The Bible is also very clear to describe and define the works of the enemy; the father of lies and master deceiver.
Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. In fact they were the only created beings made in God’s image. In the Garden of Eden they had everything, including the appointed privilege of having dominion over all other living creatures on the earth.
But God’s arch enemy, who had fallen from grace due to his pride, had in his heart the goal to interfere in God’s plan for Adam and Eve by deception.
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” Genesis 3:1
Different translations use different words to describe the serpent’s stratagem and purpose. The NKJV uses ‘cunning’ while other translations use ‘subtle,’ ‘crafty,’ and ‘shrewd,’ along with several other synonymous descriptive words.
We all know the story. Eve was enticed to partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which God had specifically forbidden Adam. Eve was more concerned with present benefits than honoring God’s single command.
Her response when questioned about her disobedience:
“The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:13b
That was the beginning of the great deception. The word ‘deceived’ also has many synonyms including ensnare, beguile, entrap, entice, lie, delude, and mislead.
The sin of deception began in the Garden of Eden and will prevail, and in fact accelerate, until the great deceiver is ultimately defeated and cast into the everlasting lake of fire.
Thus deception is present from the early chapters of Genesis thru the final chapters of Revelation.
“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations…and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire…where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:7-10
Let’s review how deception has affected God’s people throughout history.
After Adam and Eve’s initial sin in the garden, all mankind was born without the Spirit of God. Recall God had breathed ‘life’ into Adam.
Therefore, all mankind was subsequently born innately evil. Such prevails even to this day. A person must be ‘born again’ to receive the Spirit of God to overcome his evil nature.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” Jeremiah 17:9
The wisest man in the world, Solomon, addressed the issue also.
“Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live…” Ecclesiastes 9:3
Solomon’s wisdom was similar to the wisdom expressed by Jeremiah the prophet. Both proclaimed that unredeemed mankind is inherently evil by nature. And it must be kept in mind that God’s chosen who receive wisdom to defeat ungodly natural tendencies, such as deceit and evil, are in the distinct minority.
Pride is also the cause of much deceit. For example, any nation that depends on their own strength for survival or victory has been deceived. God will personally bring them down in humility in His timing. Consider Edom’s judgment.
“The pride of your heart has deceived you…You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ ‘Though you ascend as high as the eagle…from there I will bring you down,’ says the LORD.” Obadiah 1:3
The challenge of innate deceit was/is and will be very active through the ages, especially in the present age of the church.
There will be a book signing for Walt’s latest book at FBC Claremore on Sunday, May 1, from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM.