Are you and I deceived, by sin? Do we know others who are? (PART 1)
by David Leach
We may be a Christian, yes, and we have been born again, yes, we may even have been filled with the Holy Spirit for a season, but the question is, are we now deceived by sin?
Heb 3:13 (Written to Christians) But exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
As Christians, when we make allowance for sin in our lives, the above scripture warns us that sin is very deceitful. This means we are probably now under some form of deception, that our thinking is probably wrong in some areas relative to God and that we probably don’t know it. The very fact that we are casual about sin, or excuse or justify it, or assume there it can’t be overcome, or there’s no consequence to it, or that a few good deeds will offset it, is evidence enough that we are deceived, isn’t it? Why is this so plainly the case?
Because even though we may wink at sin, the truth is God can’t tolerate the slightest sin:
Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
Ezek 18:20 The soul who sins shall die (to God)…(and needs to be made alive again)
Ps 5:4 NLT O God…you cannot tolerate the slightest sin (so why are we tolerating it?)
This is why the whole ministry of Jesus Christ was directed toward this sin issue, and to make provision for delivering each one of us from the penalty and the power of sin; and, thereby from the inevitable deceptions that cloud our thinking when we still tolerate sin:
Matt 1:21 …You shall call His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins.
John 1:29 …Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
1 John 3:5 And you know that He (Jesus) was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever lives in Him (Christ) does not sin…
We are only acceptable to God when we are living in Christ, the beloved. And whoever is living in Christ does not sin. And yet many of us Christians, we’re not talking about the world here who don’t yet know any better, are turning a blind eye to both our own sin and to the sins of other Christians. How much more deceived, by sin, could we be?
Eph 1:6 ...He (God) made us accepted in the Beloved (living “in Christ” not sinning).
What are some of the most common deceptions of sin evident among us Christians?
1. The Christian, maybe religious but not currently walking with God, who thinks: “I’m basically a ‘good person’ I’m not aware of any glaring sin in my life such as murder and the like”. Is that so? The deception here is that we invent our own definition of what we think sin is and which bears no resemblance to what God says in fact it is:
(i) 1 Jo 3:4 …Sin is the transgression (breaking) of the law… Christians not being led by
the Holy Spirit are under the Law (Gal 5:18). Do we know the 10 command-
-ments? What are the first three? Do we know where to find them in our Bibles?
Gal 5:18 If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (if not, you are).
(ii) Rom 14:23 …For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin;whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful. AMP
(iii) Ro 6:16 …You are that one's slaves whom you obey whether of sin (disobed-ience to God) with death (to God), or of obedience (to God) with righteousness.
Are we submitted to God, led by God’s Spirit, and obeying God in everything, or is self-will still the Lord of our life and not Christ? Are we born-again but living in sin?
(iv) 1 Jo 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin…Are all our words and actions righteous? Jesus said all His decisions were righteous because He sought God’s will (Jo 5:30).
(v) Jam 4:17 …To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Here is the deception of sin, despite these five definitions by God of sin, many Christians while violating them all, cling to our own self-serving definition and falsely think we’re OK.
2. The Christian who says “Well, you know God forgives sin and the Bible says His mercy endures forever. So how can I be in trouble?” Yes, Jesus died both for our sins to purchase our pardon, and to our sin nature to free us from sin’s power. But those who are deceived overlook God’s specific requirements to receive His mercy:
Prov 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, whoever confesses them (admits them sorrowfully to God) and forsakes them will have mercy.
Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.
Ps 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him… Do we live in constant reverence, love and obedience toward God in all that we do? So He can have mercy on us?
There is no forgiveness without repentance and forsaking of sin. There is no mercy if we don’t intend to live henceforth in submission to God. All else is just deception.
3. The Christian who thinks to himself “Well, most of the people I know are living pretty much the same as I do, or worse, and none of us has been struck dead yet. Surely a God of love won’t send any of us to hell because we don’t quite measure up.” When we are deceived we will try and take false comfort in the fact that most others are like us. But that simply means that they too are as deceived as we are:
1 Jo 5:19 …The whole world lies under the influence of the wicked one.
Rev 12:9 …Called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world…
2 Cor 11:3 But I fear, lest…as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.