Do not be deceived!
There are many warnings about deception in the Scriptures.
What is deception?
One is led to believe something that is not true or not to believe
something that is true.
We must avoid deceivers.
Paul wrote: Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions
and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and
avoid them (Romans 16:17). For there are many
insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those
of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped (Titus
We may not deceive others!
You shall not bear false witness (Matthew 19:18).
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and
being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13).
We must be careful not to spread the lies of others, either by
mouth or by keyboard. Brainwashing and propaganda are
powerful tools of deception used by the devil. Especially via the
Internet, false ideas and slogans quickly spread to millions
because people pass them on without checking whether they
are true. Christians should be careful not to be virtual liars. Do
not forward something without checking to be sure it is true.
Test all things; hold fast what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
In churches of Christ we are careful to avoid deception in religious
matters. I assumed that Christians would be cautious in other
areas as well. In recent months, however, I have been
disappointed that many Christians have forwarded false
statements without checking whether they are true!
Alertness is required!
Let no one deceive you by any means (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Many
deceivers have gone out into the world (2 John 7).
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and
being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you
have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you
have learned them, and that from childhood you have known
the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for
salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy
Know the Scriptures!
To avoid being deceived, we must know the truth revealed in the
Jesus prayed for His followers: Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word
is truth (John 17:17). In Psalm 119 we read: The entirety of
Your word is truth (verse 160). The Scriptures give warnings
about deceivers: These things I have written to you
concerning those who try to deceive you (1 John 2:26).
Do not mislead yourself!
Let no one deceive himself! (1 Corinthians 3:18). If we say that we
have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us
(1 John 1:8). If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and
does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this
one's religion is useless (James 1:26). But be doers of the
word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (James
Don't be fooled by pride.
The pride of your heart has deceived you (Obadiah 1:3). For if
anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he
deceives himself (Galatians 6:3).
Don't be fooled by associating with bad people!
Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits (1 Corinthians
Don't be fooled by liars!
Lies abound, especially in the fields of religion and politics. Beware of
people who repeatedly say things that are not true! There is a
name for them: Liars!
God said about Israel in Jeremiah's day: Everyone will deceive his
neighbor, and will not speak the truth; They have taught their
tongue to speak lies (Jeremiah 9:5).
Why do people lie?
Some lie to harm others. A girl lied to the fiancé of her girl friend
because she was jealous, and caused them to break up.
Secret services spread misinformation in an enemy country to harm its
people and government.
People can die because of misinformation about an illness. Politicians
spread lies about their opponents. People lie to hide something
they have done wrong. People lie to hide a previous lie. Many
lies are spread for financial gain. Some people are habitual
liars; they lie their way through life.
Some lie for the fun of it. For ten years a false story has been spread on
the Internet about a dog named Daisy who supposedly saved a
thousand lives on 9/11. People like the story and forward it.
The person who wrote the false story is probably proud that
people are still being fooled by it!
Don't be fooled by the majority!
Just because many people believe something, does not make it true.
Ten of the spies who went to see the promised land were
wrong. Only two were right (Numbers 13:1-33).
"You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute
so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice" (Exodus
The power of propaganda is that repeating a lie over and over,
especially in the form of a slogan, causes many people to think
it is true!
Don't be fooled by the smooth words of people who depart from the original gospel!
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses,
contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but
their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech
deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:17, 18).
Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words
(Colossians 2:4). Beware lest anyone cheat you through
philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men,
according to the basic principles of the world, and not according
to Christ (Colossians 2:8).
Don't be fooled by false prophets!
For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your
prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you,
nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed
Jesus warned: Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive
many (Matthew 24:11).
John warned: 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 John 4:1).
Don't be fooled by signs and wonders!
Jesus predicted: For false christs and false prophets will rise and show
great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect
Don't be fooled by people who say, The time is near!
Jesus warned: "Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come
in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time has drawn near.'
Therefore do not go after them (Luke 21:8).
Don't be fooled by unrighteousness!
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices
is righteous, just as He is righteous (1 John 3:7).
But exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today,' lest any of you
be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13).
For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous
man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of
Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for
because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons
of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness
and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in
unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).
What have we learned?
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren (James 1:16).
There are many deceivers. Alertness is required. To avoid being deceive,
we must know the truth revealed in the Scriptures. Don't be
fooled by pride. Don't deceive yourself. Don't be fooled by
associating with evil people. Beware of liars. Don't be deceived
by blindly following the majority. Don't be fooled by the smooth
words of people who depart from the original gospel. Don't be
fooled by false prophets! Don't be fooled by signs and wonders.
Don't be fooled by people who say, The time is near! Don't be
deceived by unrighteousness.
The Bible contains many warnings that can help us distinguish between
what is true and what is false. Do not be deceived!
The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Published in The Old Paths Archive