To deceive is to cheat or ensnare by using falsehoods to cause someone to believe something that is not true. The Apostle Paul was so concerned about the Corinthian brethren being deceived. He told them, "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3). Then, later on, in this same epistle, he warned: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:13-14).

We human beings are not perfect. And, surely, we can all reflect back to certain incidents in life when we were deceived by someone or something. For instance, there can be times when we are deceived when purchasing some item. Later on we find out that it does not do what we thought it would do. This kind of deception usually occurs when we are not as careful as we should be.

As in the case of the Corinthians, it is very easy to be deceived in life as it pertains to spiritual or religious matters. Thus, it is essential that we remain informed, alert, careful and watchful. The Word of God warns many times against the danger of being deceived. Let us take note of the following:
Riches deceive. (Matt. 13:22; Mk. 4:19)
Unrighteousness deceives. (1 Cor. 6:9-10)
Evil company deceives. (1 Cor. 15:33)
Thinking we can mock God concerning His laws of sowing and reaping deceives. (Gal. 6:7)
Evil men will deceive and be deceived. (2 Tim. 3:13)
The disobedient are deceived. (Titus 3:3)
The person who is filled with pride is deceived. (Gal. 6:3)
A deceived heart is the result of an unbridled tongue. (Jas. 1:26)
"Hearers only" of the Word of God deceives self. (Jas. 1:22)
The Devil is the great deceiver. (Rev. 20:10)
We must constantly take heed unto the Word of God and unto ourselves concerning the matters listed above. In our search for truth, we need to be like the Bereans: "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

With regard to false teachers, we must take note of the warning given by the Apostle John: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 Jn. 4:1). The Apostle Peter stated: "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction" (2 Pet. 2:2). While here on earth, Jesus warned: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves" (Matt. 7:15).

Even with regard to our own selves, we must heed the words of the Apostle Paul: "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?---unless indeed you are disqualified" (2 Cor. 13:5).

Therefore, brethren, DON'T BE DECEIVED!

by R.J. Evans

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