Deception 12

II Cor 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

False teachers do in their hearts dignify, and in their words magnify, extol, and exhort with legal arguments a preposterous sanctification, repentance, mortification, grace, and graces, popishly and falsely understood; new life, holy and righteous walking, universal obedience to all God’s commandments, sincerity, humiliation, uprightness, fastings, regeneration, popishly also and falsely understood; and such like works exhorted with legal arguments, or a hope of rewards and blessings well, if we do them; and with fear of punishments and blessings ill, if we possess them not; which how much the more they are thus preposterously exacted and legally exhorted, so much the more under terms and titles of the Gospel, such preachers teach but the light of nature, the pride of works, and the vain glory of man; and so do withdraw people from Christ to hang upon their own works and doings; by resting upon the popish rotten pillar that God accepts {whereby their own sincerity is trusted to instead of Christ} the will for the deed, and so do drown Christ’s glory, free justification; do destroy faith, waste and consume the Church of Christ, teach a false bastard sanctification, and are those dangerous seducers of souls, that the faithful are commanded {as they will continue chaste virgins to Christ, and not to be beguiled with Eve by the subtlety of the serpent, and seduced from the simplicity of their faith that is in Christ} to discern and take notice of, as they are described; {II Cor.11:13-15;} where the Apostle fore-warns and thereby sufficiently fore-arms all the children of wisdom by thus plainly describing these seducers.

They profess themselves apostles; that is, sent forth of God; but they are false apostles, and they are great workers, but deceitful workers. How deceitful? Transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ; that is, as if they were the true ministers of Christ, and taught the true Gospel of Christ; and no marvel for Satan himself is transformed into a messenger of light, and therefore it is no great thing if his ministers transform themselves, as though they were the ministers of righteousness; that is, calling earnestly for all works of righteousness, and their end shall be according to their works and righteousness; that is, though they seem to be the principal men that shall be saved, yet the same Apostle threatens to them certain destruction; which he warns on purpose that we may not believe every spirit, but rather try the spirits whether they be of God. {I Jn.4:1}

Seeing these are the wolves whereof Paul gave warning, {Acts 20:29, 30,} that should arise up out of the very midst of them, and should teach not seeming false things, but only preposterous things, or true things out of order, setting the cart before the horse; that is, caring more to call for works and a good life, than they care whether the people have assurance of the sound faith of their free and perfect justification; whereby, although the people bear them record, and applaud them, that they have the zeal of God; yet it is not according to the knowledge of free justification in Christ, because {by a carnal understanding of justification} they being ignorant of the righteousness of God, must needs go about to establish and set up the golden calf of their own and the people’s own righteousness, of their supposed sanctification, works, and well doings; and by thinking secretly in their heart with the Papist that justification is easily learned and is ready to open the gate to the people to live wickedly and loosely, they seldom and slightly preach justification, and thereby show that they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God (Rom.10:2,3). (John Eaton, Discovery of a most Dangerous Dead Faith, 1641)

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