The hour in which we live is fraught with spiritual dangers. The Bible tells us that there will be seducing spirits in these last days (1 Tim. 4:1). They will deceive the very elect if they can (Mark 13:22). Seducing spirits find entrance where there is sin in the life.
We are urged by Scripture to let “no man deceive you” (Matt. 24:4; Mark 13:5; Eph. 5:6; 2 Thes. 2:3; 1 John 3:7). And we are cautioned not to deceive ourselves (1 Cor. 3:18; 1 John 1:8).
It often happens that when God uses a man greatly, Christians begin to admire the individual and to exalt him. This can easily lead to pride in that leader, and pride goes before destruction (Prov. 16:18). These proud leaders may be led into deception, and the devoted followers fall into the same deception.
Leaders who have large followings but do not live righteous lives are not from God. There must be holy living, and holiness must be preached to the people. God will have a church without spot and without wrinkle (Eph. 5:27). Judgment must begin at the house of the Lord (1 Pet. 4:17). The way is narrow (Matt. 7:14). Beware of those who preach an easy, compromising Gospel.
There will be deceivers who will come preaching truth. Then after a following is gained, they will begin to teach doctrines that are not Scriptural. Christians would not follow one who came ministering error. But the unwatchful can be led gradually off into error by one whom they have come to admire. They remember the truths he first taught, and though they do not find what he later teaches in the Scriptures, admiring his person, they accept his teachings regardless.
We Must Be Watchful
The life of the minister of righteousness must agree with what he speaks. And what he speaks must agree wholly with Scripture. When there is a mixture, we must beware.
If we live righteously and hold the Word in our hearts and minds, we need not fear, for God will give us of His Spirit to keep us in the Truth. We must judge our own lives and purge out any sin lest it become a snare to us. “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (1 Cor. 11:31).
These days are of intensifying temptation. As God moves in His people preparatory to the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ, Satan will intensify his efforts to lead God’s people into deception. Satan will seek to lead God’s people away from holiness and into the flesh-pleasing life.
Temptation need not overcome us. “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16).
We need not be those who fall into darkness. We can be among those who finish the course with victory. But we must set our face like a flint now. We must be strong in purpose. Dangers will beset on every hand, but God has promised that His grace is sufficient for those who will seek Him for it (2 Cor. 12:9).
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon