Deception 6

There are many people in both evangelical and reformed churches today who are self-deceived. This self-deception is at the deepest level and in the most important area of life—their eternal soul. The people I am talking about are not the open hypocrites, but those who seem to be very religious. They may be church members, some of the most regular attendees, elders, and even pastors. These are people who, by outward appearance, seem to be godly, but they are not genuinely converted. They have never been deeply convicted of their sins or humbled in any way; their pride has not been broken, nor have they submitted to the true demands of the gospel. Quite simply, they are religious people who are on their way to hell and they do not realize it (Self-Deception by Jacob Helffenstein, from the Intro by William C. Nichols)

The most deceived man of all is he whose mind is influenced by the Evil Spirit and yet he believes that he is besought by the Good Spirit (Sermons by the Devil, W.S. Harris)

1 Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,

1 John 2:26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.

Ephesians 4:22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught us that there would be many on the broad road and but few would enter the narrow gate and be on the narrow road. This should teach us that perhaps the road of religious duties and morality which are obtained by self-effort and can be done simply by the pride of the heart may not in fact be the way that leads to life. If there are so many on that broad road and they believe that they are on the road to life, then that alone should teach us that many, many religious people are deceived. Their minds are on what they think are heavenly things and yet it is coming from the evil one by way of their own fleshly desires of the flesh and mind.

If this analysis is correct, and I am not sure how it can be far from wrong if we take in the biblical witness, then the professing churches are full of professing believers who are on the broad path to destruction. It appears that professing preachers (even conservative ones) are more interested in getting people to make professions, get them baptized, and then on the church rolls than they are true conversions. It may be that the professing preachers are deceived themselves as to what true conversion is, but the end result is the same. People are talked into making a profession and joining the church and by that they think they are converted.

Jesus said that a person must be born from above to enter the kingdom. Professing preachers tell us that people must make a wise choice or walk the aisle or sign a card to enter the kingdom. There is a huge confusion between the visible church and the nature of the true Church. It seems to be an underlying thought, whether one states that as a belief or not, that joining a local church makes one a member of the true Church (the body of Christ). While people may accept it as true that one is not necessarily a true believer if one is a member of a local church, they still have that concept in their hearts. Church membership can be a dangerous thing unless it is approached and practiced with great care, and we can see that if we take the above quotes, verses, and the Sermon on the Mount seriously.

We simply must take these things to heart. The devil himself uses religion to deceive people regarding their eternal destinies. The devil himself will use preaching to soothe people into staying on the broad road that leads to destruction. The devil himself will use an orthodox creed to deceive people into thinking that they believe in Christ and His truth. The devil himself will use religious rites (even if true) to deceive people into thinking that they have Christ. The devil can use strict moralism to deceive people into thinking that they are holy. The devil can use outwardly good things to convince people that they have true love in their hearts. The devil is the master of deception and he can and does use anything to keep people from Christ. He will even use the truths of Christ to deceive people into thinking that they have Christ. There are many, many conservative Christian people in name who are deceived and on their way to hell and they are clueless to that.

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