“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). The Bible is simple, yet profound. If it is light and good, it is of God. If something has the tiniest bit of darkness, stay away from it; it is not of God.
However, sometimes we can be fooled into thinking something is “light” when it is not, if we are not careful to measure everything against His Word. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 warns that there are “false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as the apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. Therefore, it is not surprising if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness ….” The key is aligning ourselves with the Scriptures and examining carefully whether a person, doctrine, or word we receive is also aligned with them. The only way we can effectively do this is by immersing ourselves in the Bible, reading it with reverence daily, knowing what it says from Genesis through Revelation.
John gives us a simple formula for staying in the truth: “Therefore, let that which you have heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, you will also continue in the Son, and in the Father” (1 John 2:24). Paul warns, “Evil men and seducers will grow worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them” (2 Timothy 3:13, 14). He also instructs us not to receive those who preach a different Jesus, nor to receive a different spirit or gospel from what the first apostles preached, so that our minds do not become corrupted from the simplicity of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3, 4). He exhorts the Church to grow up into maturity, into “the measure of the fullness of Christ, so that we are no longer children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in ambush to deceive” (Ephesians 4:13, 14).
So, the number one antidote to deception is living in the teaching of the Bible, and when new teachings come along, measure them by the Bible. Since false teachers can twist the words of Scripture to make their ideas sound biblical, we must also ask ourselves whether “new” teaching lines up with the accepted teaching of the Church over the last two thousand years. This is what John and Paul meant by abiding and continuing in what we have heard from the beginning – basic, core, doctrinal beliefs that the true Church never compromises on.
God’s Word washes and cleanses us (John 15:3), and renews our minds (Romans 12:2). Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31, 32).
The Word is our first line of defense against deception, but there are some others. We’ll discuss them next time.
Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual