Deception & Truth

While reading the devotional reading for today in My Daily Bible app a couple verses had me very bewildered. It couldn’t possibly mean what the words were saying. I had to turn to commentaries to get to the root of its implications,

DailyPlan : one-year-tract : 2019-09-17 #Bible https://www.mydailybible.org/dp/esv/one-year-tract/2019-09-17.htm

Ezekiel 20:24-26 because they had not obeyed my rules, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their fathers’ idols. 25 Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life, 26 and I defiled them through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the Lord.

When I first became a “Born Again with God’s Spirit” Christian, I earnestly decided to read the Bible and pay attention to the “Words In RED.” I found things in it that made me think, Jesus could possibly relate to me because of things we had in common. Being a Cajun and a commercial shrimper, I really like fish and have ate my share. On Jesus’ resurrection day, what did he eat?

Luke 24:41-43 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

Then on His 3rd appearance after His resurrection, when Jesus taught Peter about agape versus phileo love, what did Jesus serve,

John 21:9-14 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.”

11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.

Knowing that some of the disciples (7 of the remaining 11, that day), now become apostles, were but lowly fishermen like myself was really putting me into a “comfort zone” until I got to these verses in Matthew.

Matthew 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one DECEIVES you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will DECEIVE many. 

 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and DECEIVE many. 

 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the Elect’s (His Chosen Ones) sake those days will be shortened.

23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For False christs and False prophets will rise and Show Great Signs and Wonders to DECEIVE, if Possible, EVEN The Elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.

That’s when I started praying, “Oh God, please don’t let me be deceived. I know I am way lower than the “very elect” (KJV), thinking it had to do with full comprehension of the Word of God. Later I realized that’s a mountain I will never finish climbing on this side of eternity. The fear of falling into deception of the enemy or anyone else has always been an issue for me. I think there were 2 things God anchored in my “Born Again” spirit, a fear of being deceived, it means being “lead astray,” and a belief that I would live to see the “Rapture” happen. The fear of missing the Rapture because of  becoming deceived only feed the fear of being deceived.

I know for 2,000 years now many have believed they too would live to see the Rapture happen, maybe as much or more than I do. Even knowing that, it’s a very real expectation I live with. If it happens while I’m sleeping, it will still happen and hopefully, I will be taken up with the rest of the saints.

If you read my testimony you’ll find out that fear of deception doesn’t equate with not falling into deception. One very Glorious Day I woke up from a self imposed deception I had allow myself to slip into. Through it all, (until I woke up) I thought I was OK and I wouldn’t miss the Rapture of the Church. The things in my life I considered petty sins were all under the Blood of Jesus and “His Grace Is Sufficient,” Right??? Today I truly believe I’d have been left behind unless Satan had got his way and cause me to die in my sins. Today I believe that dying in a life of willful, premeditated, sin is the polar opposite of “he who endures to the end.”

There’s a saying, “we are our own worst enemy”

Deception in my opinion is like sleep. When you’re asleep, you aren’t aware of it. Even if you are dreaming of dreaming in a dream, you think you are conscious but you aren’t, you’re asleep. Now when you Really awake from sleep, you can look at the clock and consciously say, “I slept 8 hours of restful sleep, Thank You Jesus!”

I’ve matured a lot as a Christian since then but in using “Elect” as a measure of my knowledge of God’s Word’s or fully understanding God’s Ways, I am still Very, Very, Very far from the “elect” level. Again, a side note in the NKJV Bible defines “the elect” as “the chosen ones.” Like sheep & goats, wheat & tares, not everyone are “the chosen ones,” children of God.

I recently started reading a book by Jessie Penn Lewis titled, “The War On The Saints” and it has totally lowered my estimation of what I thought I “knew” about the tactics of the enemy of our souls. It’s like I thought I could see the mountain peak but a cloud got out of the way and now the peak is almost out of sight again. She mentions passivity as a leading cause of the enemy making inroads into a christians life. Passivity that says,”I don’t have to do anything but trust in God and He will do the rest, no effort on my part is needed.” She gives the example of the verses that says,

Mark 13:11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

John 14:21 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

The passive Christian thinks they don’t even need to learn what the Bible has to say for themselves and when the need arises the Holy Spirit will miraculously drop chapter and verse into their mind so they can spew it out. How wonderful is that? Except it goes against the scripture that says,

2 Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Another area of deception the enemy of our soul takes advantage of is “giving him ground.” Giving ground is like giving an inch, but before you realize it the enemy has gained a mile. Or making a small crack in the door for the enemy to gain access when you realize too late that the door is wide open. These things are a description of the effects of sin in the heart of a believer. A coveted sin grows into a foothold and if not dealt with becomes a stronghold. You can call it an addiction or oppression that has power to effect your will but in reality you are in the bondage of sin.

When it comes down to it, often “we alone are our own worst enemy.” We drink, smoke, overeat, make bad choices, etc., and do ourselves harm. Being a “triune being” spirit, soul and body (the flesh) a struggle for control is constantly going on. Paul says,

Galatians 5:17-21 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The “L-Word” is the heart of many a Christians fall into uncontrollable depths of sin. An unbalanced understanding of God’s Grace and thinking “God’s Law” no longer matters to God or our relationship with Him invites the enemy and his storehouse of deceptive weapons.

Willful sin will bring about hardness of heart, spiritual blindness and inability to understand God’s Word correctly, with Spiritual understanding and application to our lives. These verses are but a few that express this.

2 Corinthians 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

John 3:19-20 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

John 12:39-40 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, “HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.”

Ephesians 4:17-19 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

Those verses clearly say that if we “willfully” choose what God’s Word clearly declares to be sin so as to gratify the desires of our “soulish nature” or the desires of our flesh we are opening ourselves up to spiritual blindness, deafness and a hardening of our heart. Our triune being has declared civil war, 2 (body & soul) against 1 (our Born Again Spirit) in itself.

Although the Spirit of God in us is outnumbered it is still of Divine origin and the Most Powerful even against the 2. Look at the verses from Ezekiel again,

Ezekiel 20:24-26 because they had not obeyed my rules, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their fathers’ idols. 25 Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life, 26 and I defiled them through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the Lord.

Now read what the commentaries about these verses say it means in light of the Gospel of God’s Grace in a New Testament setting,

Ellicott’s Commentary – But how can the Lord say that He gave these to them? In the same way that it is said in Isaiah 63:17, “O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from Thy ways, and hardened our heart from Thy fear?” So also St. Paul says of the heathen (Romans 1:21-28) that God “gave them up to uncleanness,” “unto vile affections,” “to a reprobate mind;” and of certain wicked persons (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12) “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believe not the truth.” And St. Stephen says of these very Israelites at this very time, “God gave them up to worship the host of heaven” (Acts 7:42).

Benson Commentary – … God, in a just judgment for their disobedience to his own laws, gave them up to a reprobate mind, and suffered them to walk after the idolatrous and impious customs of the heathen around them. And whereas, by obeying the laws and ordinances which he had given them, they might have lived happily, (Ezekiel 20:11,) they became slaves to the vile and cruel practices of the heathen idolatries, so as to offer up their very children in sacrifice to idols, to the utter destruction of themselves and their posterity, Ezekiel 20:26. This will appear to be the sense of the text, if we compare it with Ezekiel 20:39, and with Deuteronomy 4:28; Deuteronomy 28:36; Jeremiah 16:13; in which texts God threatens them, as a punishment for their neglect of his worship, to disperse them into the heathen countries, and thereby deprive them of an opportunity of serving him in public, and expose them to the peril of being seduced to idols. Just as David complains to Saul of the hardship of his exile, that it laid him open to the temptation of serving the heathen gods, 1 Samuel 26:19.”

Matthew Henry  CommentaryThe history of Israel in the wilderness is referred to in the new Testament as well as in the Old, for warning. God did great things for them. He gave them the law, and revived the ancient keeping of the sabbath day. Sabbaths are privileges; they are signs of our being his people. If we do the duty of the day, we shall find, to our comfort, it is the Lord that makes us holy, that is, truly happy, here; and prepares us to be happy, that is, perfectly holy, hereafter. The Israelites rebelled, and were left to the judgments they brought upon themselves. God sometimes makes sin to be its own punishment, yet he is not the Author of sin: there needs no more to make men miserable, than to give them up to their own evil desires and passions.

These 3 commentaries all agree that having the wrong attitude of sin from God’s point of view opens up any and everyone to the effects of that sin, more so to the believer and those to whom God has poured out abundant Blessing and Wonderful Grace and even the Precious Blood of His ONLY Son Jesus Christ. The book of Hebrews also warns of placing so little value of ALL God has done for those under the New Covenant,

Hebrews 10:26-31  For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Not many pastors or teachers will mention “Insulting the Spirit of Grace” and fewer still will speak of “falling short of God’s Amazing Grace” but it’s in the New Testament.

Hebrews 12:15-17 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

Some Christians have much too much of a flippant attitude about God’s Amazing Grace. “After I have enjoyed my thorn in the flesh sin I’ll just tell God I’m sorry for the hundredth time and He has to forgive me or set me free from it when I’m ready.”

God is Faithful to Honor His Word and to Perform it. We easily accept the blessings and claim the warnings, justice and curses somehow don’t apply to us. The commentaries paint a totally different picture. God Will give you your heart’s desire, even the bad ones if you reject the council of His Holy Spirit. True Faith in God’s Word is Believing Both the Blessing and the Curses. How many threats of punishment for bad behavior do you give your child before you have to follow through, for their own good?

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

There is another place in the New Testament where the Apostle Paul seeks to bring about a speedy end to the civil war going on in a believer that has fallen into the deep darkness of sin and who’s heart is so hardened that it seems unreachable through sound reasoning from others.

1 Corinthians 5:1-2, 5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even [a]named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.

5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Paul being a self proclaimed Pharisee knew the outcome of allowing this type of sin in the church and knew it must be dealt with or else it would spread like a cancer. “Turning someone over to Satan,” where in the world could Paul have gotten this idea from? But we know where he got it from. ALL Scripture is Inspired by the Holy Spirit, RIGHT!!! Did God not in past times allow those who had received abundant favor, blessing, protection, deliverance, and divine revelation to fall into the consequences of willful sin as an object lesson for others to see.

Being turned over to a “reprobate mind” by God’s leaves few options to a soul that has spurned the mercies He has bestowed upon them. From that point there are only 2 possibilities. God, in His Infinite Mercy can allow a beam of His Light to shine forth into the darkness of such a person’s heart and mind. Just maybe in that instant they can be like the prodigal son,

Luke 15:17-19 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”

God gives every person a “free will.” He let’s every person, even “Born Again with His Spirit” Christians decide how they will live there life. We don’t turn into robots for Christ. His Holy Spirit will lead and guide us into ALL Truth if we let Him but He Won’t Force us to.

The other option is that Father God let’s them die in their sins. Jesus declared that He IS the Light of the World and He IS the Light that shines in the hearts of all those who have asked Him in. But He said this,

John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Jesus and the Pharisees get into a verbal altercation, you’re a liar, who’s your daddy for a few verses then Jesus tells them this warning.

John 8:21-23  Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”

22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”

23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

In verse 21 Jesus said they would seek to go where He is going but they will die in their sin and Can NOT Go where He is going to (with the Father in Heaven). Two more times in verse 23 Jesus says “you will die in your sins.”

Now the Pharisees are getting more furious. After more debate on who Jesus is He tells them who their daddy is, Satan, the devil. They are so mad they attempt to stone Jesus but their sin gives way to blindness.

59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Try to make a Christian today believe they are blinded to see the truth of God’s Word because of sin. They’ll rebuke you so fast with the “L-word” it’ll make your head spin. The Pharisees were in His physical presence and couldn’t see Jesus because of sin.

Too many Christians have been told or believe the Old Testament is no longer relevant, and Jesus’ statements to “die in your sin” probably doesn’t mean much. They’ll sure claim every blessing though. We are under Grace, our sin is covered by The Blood of Christ. But what about all the admonitions in the New Testament that “he that endures to the end shall be saved, Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:13, Mark 13:13, Luke 21:36, John 6:27, James 1:12, Hebrews 6:15, 2 Timothy 2:12.

To the Scribes and Pharisees, Jesus’ mention of dying in their sins” would have been recognized as a “Remez,” a hint of scriptures they would have know very well and a declaration of eternal death by Father God for “SIN.” Jesus taught this in the New Testament. Jesus is who me and you will stand before and give account for what we did with the abundant Grace He gave to us individually, as members of the New Testament church. To whom much is given much will be required. The “remez” teaching comes from only two chapters earlier in the book of Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 18:21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?

24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.

25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. 28 Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?

30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

Repentance from sin, receiving a New Heart and a New Spirit was very much preached by none other than our Heavenly Father. He is NOT Schizophrenic. Everything in the Bible is a type or shadow of something to be fulfilled. As far as “covenants” go there were many covenants made between God and His chosen people throughout the Bible. We are called to keep covenant with God on an individual basis, every day. 300 times in scripture, Covenant (‘s, ed, breakers) is mentioned. Israel renewed it’s covenant with God on many occasions.

If you have truly been “Born Again with God’s Spirit” you don’t look at sin as “Breaking God’s Law” it’s much worse than that, you are “Breaking God’s Heart.”

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth (controls ESV) us;

There are things I’ve done in my life knowing it was in full view of God’s Eyes, that I could have NEVER done in the view of my mother’s eyes. Genuine Love is what made the difference. Many say they love God but is it even the phileo type of love? Who are they fooling? Maybe themselves, Surely NOT God!!!

It’s only through repeatedly disregarding the Holy Spirit in you to not sin that a dulling or the senses to perceive God is lost and a hardening of the heart happens. At that point, grieving God is no big deal anymore. Trampling the Precious Blood of Christ is no big deal anymore. The most severe sermon against sin doesn’t prick your heart anymore. As I once saw myself from God’s eyes you are like a walking Lazarus, bound in death, rotting away from the effects of sin. Like the effects of leprosy, the rotten flesh is falling off but there’s no pain because the nerves have long been dead.

On more than one occasion Jesus told people to go and sin no more but two times he added this warning.

John 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”

Luke 11:24-26 When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”

Jesus taught these lessons for a reason. Jesus is the Word of God. The words in Ezekiel and throughout the Bible are His Words, Inspired by the Holy Spirit for men to record.

Writing all this is not theory or speculation to me. I’ve been there. I smelled the rot. I tasted the vomit. When a glimmer of God’s Light shined into my darkness, I grabbed hold of it. For months I held on to it for dear life begging and pleading with God to set me free from my self imposed bondage.

Jesus warned us that we can’t serve two masters, He can’t lie.

Matthew 6:22-24  “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Colossians 3:4-7 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.

Over time I’ve come to realize that just because Jesus likes fish and that He chose to call some lowly fishermen to His ministry of reconciliation, bringing lost children back to the Father, He IS Still LORD, Yahweh. He’s not my pal or my buddy. He won’t cut me any slack just because we have a couple things in common. Like the prodigal son, I’d be more than happy to only be His servant, but at times He reveals to me a Love I that’s hard to comprehend.

As for Satan, he is much more cunning than most people give him credit. He and his demons know the Bible and can quote it better than any Christian. They are supernatural and have had thousands of years to find ways to pervert it to a believers weaknesses.  My Bishop Drew says, “He’s a good devil, at doing what a devil does.”

 

 

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