Do not be deceived, hardened or seduced out of the light is a warning not to unbelievers but to believers. And it can be found from the beginning of the bible to the end. If it were not possible to be deceived as Christians, it wouldn’t be in the bible. A warning is always given because what is being warned about has the possibility of it happening or being prevented otherwise the warning is useless and a waste of time.
God does not waste time neither does He waste words or speak useless words. Hence, in warning His beloved children to avoid being shipwrecked or hardened by the deceitfulness of the Antichrist (sin or the man of sin), He has given us the history of the devil and how his awful end will be in order to deter us from yielding to him (sin) Hebrews 3:13, James 4:7. He has given us the names of those who were deceived and got shipwrecked. It is clearly written in the bible starting from Adam and Eve to the five foolish virgins as well as those who escaped being deceived ranging from Abraham to the five wise virgins. So, the two are possibilities.
The Antichrist is at work walking to and fro the whole earth seeking to perfect his dual function of blinding and shipwrecking. The devil is happy for us to be ignorant of this! However, it is more important not to lose sight of the truth that, God’s eyes runs through the earth drawing and keeping those whose hearts and minds are stayed on Christ by grace, faith and patience John 6:44, 65, Titus 2:11, Revelation 3:10.
When we are ignorant of the antichrist’s scheme, we become slothful in making disciples of all men Matthew 28:19. It becomes meaningless to us and at the same time, we increasingly grow wise in our own eyes, careless and disrespectful of God while falling back on “we are the children of Abraham” (we’re born again) and God understands Proverbs 14:16. So, whether God likes it or not, He is at our mercy because we have once received His Son. The Antichrist loves for many of us to hold tightly to this kind of delusion Revelation 3:15-22.
Because it is possible for one’s faith to be shipwrecked, Paul wrote that the devil made ‘shipwreck of the faith of some’ 1 Timothy 5:15, 1 Timothy 1:19. The Holy Spirit brought a word from Christ to Peter to remind the saints that faith in Him has an end which is, the salvation of our souls John 16:13, I Peter 1:9.
No one who has looked away from God, turned away from Christ, disregarded and or blasphemed the Holy Spirit has survived the antichrist’s power. Jesus said, “The devil is a strong man”—that is, a strong blinder as prince of the power of the air and as the father of lies or deceiver who wrecks the faith of saints that look away from Christ. Adam and Eve looked away and could not stand to walk with a gracious Father. Hiding became preferable to them.
Because the only Person who can stop the Antichrist in his tracks is Christ, Paul wrote to warn the Corinthian Church with whom he had spent considerable time in fellowship thus, ‘guard your soft, sincere or pure mind’ 2 Corinthians 11:3, Proverbs 4:23, Philippians 4:8-9, 6. This means, fight to retain your heart of love, faith and hope Jude 1:3. All who are in Christ are bestowed with this gift of a sprinkled mind (a mind amiable to the discipline of the Lord).
With the gift of love, faith and hope (sprinkled mind), no one can be admitted into hell. Therefore, the antichrist’s resources are hugely invested towards luring you away from this precious gift but he can’t unless you submit to him. This is why he lays seduction before our eyes and flesh and sets pride in front of our hearts. In the same manner, God lays before us His precious promises that we may rather choose to continue submitting to His Son, the Way (Christ) 2 Peter 1:4.
Therefore, our response to the Lord’s discipline should be positive not negative. What is being said here? Clearly, we can accept or endure (submit) to God. Or refuse—that is, treat His discipline lightly and continue in our own ways (our old dead self or un-renewed mind) by which the Antichrist lived his life through us in time past. If we refuse to endure God’s discipline (it is possible because we’re not conscripts but beloved children), we put ourselves in harm’s way 1 Peter 2:11. God has warned that, “all who set their minds on the flesh (enmity against God) will not inherit His Kingdom” Romans 8: 7, Galatians 5:19-21. Therefore, God’s discipline is intended for us to participate or share in His holiness Hebrews 12:5-10, 1 John 1:6, 1 Corinthians 11:32.
So, the Antichrist will keep offering us his own gift of unbelief, hard heart and wickedness to replace the heart of faith, love and hope Christ has offered us—which we willingly and gladly accepted or received. The reason the Antichrist offers his own gift is because, without we receiving it, he can’t live his lifestyle through us nor will we be admitted into his awful abode, hell. To this end, Christ’s dimensions— apostles, prophets, teachers, shepherds, evangelists and all His gifts to the saints have been blowing the trumpet saying to the world, “repent (accept or receive Christ into your lives) and to the gathering of His people (Church) “endure, remain, abide, persevere and keep looking unto Christ to the end by the power of the Holy Spirit in you. Don’t now leave the relationship you have with Christ and turn to the Antichrist through religion no matter what name is attached to it.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
The Antichrist will not come through any other religion other than the “Christian religion”. While, it may be painful and provoking, it is true. It’s not a ridiculous statement. The angel known as the Antichrist or Satan was initially an angel of light. Selah!
By his evil example of rebelling against God, Satan succeeded in derailing some angels. He was one of them—it’s not like he came from nowhere and just made them choose to fall with him. Interestingly, some chose to remain with God. The fact that the angels were clothed with immortality meant they couldn’t ever repent. Thankful to our loving, omniscience and gracious eternal Father, man (Adam and Eve) were not clothed with immortality when Eve was deceived and both of them sinned.
Now, Christ did not come down to earth as Jesus to establish His religion. He is not interested in man searching for Him no, not at all. He came that He may dwell in man and man in Him referenced as Christians (disciples or followers of Christ’s life) John 14:20, Acts 11:26. God wants His tabernacle to be with men on earth as He originally intended.
But, the Antichrist has quickly set up “religion and attached the word Christian to it” to counter God’s intent. “Christian religion” is a counterfeit of “the way” —that is, Christ’s relationship or operation in mortal men. “You will seek Me and find Me…Jeremiah 29:13” simply means to accept Him in the heart and not, crisis crossing the world searching for the God who is Omnipresent.
The Antichrist does not come to deceive (blind) just the world; if that is his only task, his work is easy and done because the whole world is already blinded. But there is a body of people in the world that is not of the world—that is, the Church (those in Christ Jesus). He also wants to deceive them—this is the hard task he has. It is the main reason he masquerades as an angel of light through his set up (Christian religion and others).
The world does not love light. The people interested in the light or the way is God’s children. For him to deceive the world, he does not need to masquerade.
Dual function of the Antichrist
Blinding: So, his first function is to keep those outside Christ in their blindness since man is born blind into the world. This is meant to stop them from seeing and accepting Jesus Christ who laid down His life for mankind’s redemption 2 Corinthians 4:4, 1 John 2:2. Hardly, any Christian denies the devil is still carrying out this duty and truth be told, he is succeeding largely, which accounts for why many are still on the broad or blind way.
Shipwrecking: His second function is what Christians are in denial of. And it is not too hard to figure out why. While through blinding he keeps those who have not received Christ from doing so, he uses blinding to shipwreck the faith of those who have once accepted Jesus Christ 2 Peter 1:9-11. Frankly, it’s regrettable and painful many of us Christians are in denial that the Antichrist is active and sadly also succeeding in this. The denial only serves to accentuate the falling away (turning to the broad or fake way). Zion Awake!
Because God gives His children light they are able to love the light Psalm 119:105. Therefore, on one hand, believers are exhorted to continue to love the light and on the other hand are admonished thus, “if you be in the light (love the light), walk in the light”. Jesus said it in many different ways, “abide in me”, and ‘if you love me (light) obey my commands—not ten commandments on a tablet of stone.
Close to the admonition to believers to ‘abide in Christ, to continue to love and walk in the light’ is, “Do not be deceived”. Meaning, don’t look back or down having put your hands on the plow. Rather, keep looking up where Christ Jesus is seated as our High Priest Hebrews 12:2, 6:20. Remember Adam and Eve, Lots wife, Demas, Judas and the strayed widows who failed because they stooped looking — abiding or obeying Christ 1 Corinthians 10:11. They stopped living by faith and drew back forgetting that God’s righteousness runs its full course—from faith to faith Romans 1:17, Hebrews 10:38.
Hence, we need to be watchful and careful as we remember those who in the last few centuries, recent decades and now, went/have gone from believing in the resurrection to being Sadducees, from believing in life after death to annihilation, from believing in marriage between man and woman, to man and man, or woman and woman.
Also, from believing that God’s grace persuades and enables His people to live godly and righteously in this present world by faith, to believing that His blood and gracewaits on us hand and foot to ensure that as we continue in sin God remains handicapped to spit us out of His mouth.
Furthermore, from believing there is hell to believing in ultimate reconciliation or universalism and from believing in Acts 4:11-12, to subtle inclusivism.
Lively and rich exhortation from T. Austin-Sparks of blessed Memory
Brother I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. (Ephesians 1:18 NIV)
“The eyes of yourheart enlightened…” discerning love. Love is as far removed from blindness as heaven from earth. “Love is blind”? No – not true love. The fact is that true love sees everything, but transcends everything. The love of Christ for His disciples was not blind love that did not know His men, love that was duped, deceived, misled, but eventually found out that they were not the men He thought they were. No, “He… knew what was in man” (John 2:24). His love saw everything and could tell them beforehand exactly what they would do; but love persisted in face of it all. Love is a great seeing thing.
If you are consumed with a burning love for the Lord, you will be very quick of scent as to what is doubtful and questionable. You will not need to be frequently and continuously told when a thing is not right. No, love for the Lord will bring you quickly to see and to sense there is something that needs to be adjusted. You may not know what it is at the time, but you have a sense that all is not well. Love will do it. All the instruction in the world will not bring you to it. You may have the Word of God brought to you on all such points, and you might even say, “All right, because you say so, because it is in the Bible, I will do it, I will be obedient.” Do you think that is good enough? Such a thing has never come to you through the eyes of your heart. But, mark you, if this love, this discerning love, has really filled your heart by all the intelligence of the Holy Spirit indwelling you, you will sense it without being told; or if it should be brought to you from the Word, that within you will say, “Yes, I know that is right, the Lord tells me that is right.” Do you not think that is the kind of Christian that is needed, and what the Lord needs at the end? That is what He has had in mind from the beginning and He calls that first love that is quick of scent to see what needs to be cut off or added, what adjustments are necessary, and does accordingly. You do not have to follow round and say, “Please do this; have you never taken note that you might be helpful in this way?” You do not have to do that where there is devotion, love watchful all the time, aliveness, alertness, perception, readiness to do without being all the time told to do it. Real devotion to the Lord is something that far outreaches legality. First love is discerning love.
All knowledge both temporal and spiritual has something inherent in it to catalyst pride. Despite this truth, God still gives both temporal and spiritual knowledge to man. Through His gift of temporal knowledge, man has discovered and invented a lot of temporal things that help us live well while we are on the earth. Man owes thanks to God; may He be praised in all the earth!
God has distributed temporal knowledge to all men such that, no one man has better knowledge of all the temporal things more than anyone else. A professor of aeronautic engineering or law may have less knowledge and be lectured about fishing, farming or hunting by persons skilled in such fields. All humans have areas they are illiterate. This is meant to curtail pride in man. But does it? No, not in this fallen world we live in where the fittest set the norms, ethos and structure such to benefit them.
As a result, man considers that some things are superior and more valuable than others. This factor accentuates pride in man and makes God’s intent of equality enshrined in complementation a strange and difficult concept for man to comprehend. The difficulty is not limited to temporal knowledge but is the same also with His gift of spiritual knowledge. This assertion is authenticated as we read in the scriptures, “… even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud” 2 Corinthians 12:7NLT.
For Christians, we learn from Christ’s dealings in Paul’s life that, we need to be humble and God’s ways are mysteriously active to so help us. It is important to point out that the situation was not unique to Paul. It is an ordination for all who will inherit eternal life through Christ and in Christ. Therefore, we like Paul and other saints of God, must face contradictions, perplexities, crushing etc and meet it all with patient endurance or perseverance. That is what His grace is supplied for. And, that is the only way we will glory with Him—through His grace in overcoming by faith and patience like other saints who have gone to be with Him. Faith and patience are the only evidence that God is and is becoming Lord over our spirit, soul and body. The result is ultimately a humble walk with God and men. The person(s) in whom God has worked and is walking through their spirit, soul and body has/have become a highway of God’s city.
Those who increase in God’s knowledge must be prepared to increase in His dealings unless we want to end up like Demas, Judas, the Pharisees, the widows that strayed after Satan 1 Timothy 5:15 etc.
While there is joy to enjoy as we increase in the knowledge of God, there are pains to bear, one’s weaknesses to discover and overcome, ambush to overcome, betrayals, insults, accusations and crafty and diabolical lies told against us that must be ignored—all for Christ’s sake—and for the glory that is in Him.
Therefore, our admonition is, ‘if we want to glory, boast or be proud, let it be only in the cross of Christ. Showing we have tasted bitter waters and He made it sweet in our bellies (souls). And we have His mark in our bodies’. Galatians 6:14. That is maturity!
Maturity is not assumption. It is not by popular opinion held about us that we are a loving, humble and good people and therefore, are accepted, loved, supported, given opportunities and positions. It is rather, having the signs of His mark in our bodies.
Signs of His Mark: Soul and Hand
We don’t speak when He doesn’t want us to speak though it may portray us as idiotic, senseless, unwise and lacking understanding, dumb, fearful and weak.
We speak when He wants us to though it makes us appear stupid, trouble makers, unwise and assumed arrogant.
We endure rather than act when He wants us to endure though everyone or almost everyone thinks it is time to act and vice versa
We lose when He says, “lose” though it may show us as utterly irresponsible and lazy
We fight with no restraint or care for our lives when He says, “fight” the course though it may confirm us as indeed stubborn, divisive, individualist, proud, unwise, suicidal and ungodly.
We stand up straight again after even the devil knocks us down and refuse to be consumed or discouraged by what people and devils think
We grow in leaps and bounds in spirit and truth giving us a steady lifestyle of glorifying Christ both in abounding and debasing situations though many people dream otherwise for us.
We leave “this and that opportunity” when God says so though, it may make one seem dull, not able to detect and seize opportunities.
All knowledge (spiritual and temporal) has the potential to puff up but, maturity humbles. Though increased knowledge is not maturity, maturity is not without increase in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ that gives increase in grace.
The five wise virgins—that is, the sons of God brought to glory by Christ, knew the difference between having knowledge and maturity. So, their actions appeared “wicked, unloving, and not humble” so to speak when they refused to share their oil with the five foolish virgins Matthew 25:7-9. Knowing when to apply knowledge is maturity. They did not allow the knowledge of, “It is written give to everyone who asks of you” to be used to confuse them from obeying the voice of the Spirit. Saleh!
Maturity reminded them that they did not have enough to spare. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” Romans 8:14.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Strong insight for humble walk with God is inevitable for us all. The exhortation below by T. Austine-Sparks is most timely for the season the Church is at. The excerpt is taken from “The shool of Christ”.
To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. (Revelation 2:17)
God always keeps the revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations. You and I can never get revelation other than in connection with some necessity. We cannot get it simply as a matter of information. That is information, that is not revelation. We cannot get it by studying. When the Lord gave the manna in the wilderness (a type of Christ as the Bread from heaven), He stipulated very strongly that not one fragment more than the day’s need was to be gathered, and that if they went beyond the measure of immediate need, disease and death would break out and overtake them. The principle, the law, of the manna, is that God keeps revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations of necessity, and we are not going to have revelation as mere teaching, doctrine, interpretation, theory, or anything as a thing, which means that God is going to put you and me into situations where only the revelation of Christ can help us and save us….
Now then, that is why the Lord would keep us in situations which are acute, real. The Lord is against our getting out on theoretical lines with truth, out on technical lines. Oh, let us shun technique as a thing in itself and recognize this, that, although the New Testament has in it a technique, we cannot merely extract the technique and apply it. We have to come into New Testament situations to get a revelation of Christ to meet that situation. So that the Holy Spirit’s way with us is to bring us into living, actual conditions and situations, and needs, in which only some fresh knowledge of the Lord Jesus can be our deliverance, our salvation, our life, and then to give us, not a revelation of truth, but a revelation of the Person, new knowledge of the Person, that we come to see Christ in some way that just meets our need. We are not drawing upon an “it,” but upon a “Him.”