Deception is the fruit of a lie. The deceiver presents information that is not true in order to trick the recipient into believing a falsehood. They do not know that they have been deceived. The deception may not be discovered until it is too late.
The first example in history of deception is in the Garden of Eden. The serpent was the deceiver and Eve was deceived. She believed what the serpent said and offered the forbidden fruit to Adam in hopes that they would become like God. Although they had been warned to not eat of the fruit of that tree, they chose to believe the serpent. It was then that they discovered they had been deceived, but it was too late. Their actions could not be undone.
The serpent’s deception was based on a lie and the recipients found the offer desirable. If Adam and Eve had chosen to obey God, they would not have been deceived.
There are other examples where the one being deceived did not have sufficient information. Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done as you told me. Get up, please, sit and eat of my game, that you may bless me.” Jacob lied and did everything possible to deceive his father into giving the blessing that was intended for the firstborn. When Isaac realized the deception, he trembled uncontrollably. The blessing given to Jacob could not be revoked.
Jesus warned that many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many.” Therefore, it is important to recognize a lie before it is believed. Becoming familiar with God’s Word and voice will prevent us from falling into deception concerning Jesus, salvation, and faith in God.
The apostle Paul warned, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Many philosophies around us teach that there is no God, that only humanity can save itself, and that the world’s existence is dependent on human action alone. This is nothing more than further deception from the serpent.
Self-deception may be the worst form of lie. In the First book of John we read, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” A person who believes their own lies cannot recognize their deception without help from someone else. Paul warned Timothy, “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” In this way, the deception of one is passed on to another.
James offers a means to avoid and recognize deception. “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” The Bible, the standard of truth, must be believed as absolute truth. Titus wrote, “For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, He saved us…”
“Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head—Christ.” God desires to rescue us from deception and its bondage.
May you accept rescue from deception before it’s too late.