What Are The Great Deceptions?

What Are The Great Deceptions?
By Heath C. Goodman

Great and terrible deceptions have crept into our churches. They are great because so many souls are already under their persuasion and they are terrible because the same souls will be lost for eternity unless their deceived minds are enlightened to the truth.

I beg you, dear reader, to examine your thinking on the subject of your salvation. Examine your heart and examine your beliefs. If you are deceived then surely you do not know it. Those who are so strongly deceived are so strongly convinced that they are right. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:25) It is hard to persuade an opinionated man. The pride of his soul will not allow him to question his own thinking. He would rather go to his grave stiff-necked and believing a lie than to surrender his mind and will to truth. “Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:7)

Dear reader, do not blind your heart to God’s Word by relying on mere traditional or popular opinion. Remember, it was traditional and popular opinion that crucified the Lord Jesus.

So what are the great deceptions which are damning the souls of men? They are the false concepts of:

1. Salvation without Repentance

2. Faith without Obedience

3. Commitment without Holiness

These three concepts are preached, taught, and believed in a majority of our churches. Many preachers powder-puff the gospel so that it appeals to sin-filled hearts who wish to be flattered with false securities of heaven. Don’t just take your preacher’s word for it. Search the Scriptures yourself. How foolish it is to believe that you can live a sinful, selfish and worldly life and expect the Holy God of eternity to welcome you into Heaven’s holy ground. The Blood of Jesus was not shed so you could live any way you please and still go to Heaven. His blood was shed so you could be forgiven and delivered from your sins. Many people want to be forgiven from sin (removes guilt) but do not want to be delivered from sin (removes sin itself). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful.and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (I John 1:9)

Salvation without repentance is a heresy that is preached more by silence than by blatant declaration. Repentance is usually not blasted from the pulpit as an evil doctrine. It is usually just not emphasized. In which case becomes a much more subtle deception. If the Deceiver can just get us to ignore a foundational truth, he counts it much more in his favor than if he has cluttered our minds with trivial falsehoods.

However, Repentance is the very foundation to salvation. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3,5)

Jesus preached it. “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of God is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) John the Baptist preached it. “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” (Matthew 3:8) Peter preached it. “Then Peter said unto them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.'” (Acts 2:38) Paul preached it. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at- but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” (Acts 17:30) You can not be saved without repentance!

Repentance defined:

1. Sorrow and regret for every sin committed in your life. If you have not grieved over your past sins you are still unconverted. “For Godly sorrow worketh repentance not to be repented of.” (II Corinthians 7:10)

2. Change in attitude toward sin. What sin you once loved to commit now you hate. If you find yourself still taking pleasure in sin then know for certain that you have not fully renounced and repented of your sins. “Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols and turn away your faces from all your abominations.” (Ezekiel 14:6)

3. Victory and freedom from sin. By God’s Grace you are overcoming sin. If you find yourself constantly defeated and enslaved to sin then you are in need of true repentance.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey in its lusts thereof. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:12,14)

True repentance is not done for the promise of Heaven or even the threat of Hell but because you have truly offended the loving and holy God who created you. Your repentance is due to a personal revelation of the Lord Jesus’ sacrificial gift on the Cross. “The goodness of God leadeth to repentance.” (Romans 2:4)

Faith without obedience is another damnable doctrine in many churches. A common delusion in the minds of countless churchgoers is the idea that faith without works is permissible. They are quick to assume that
an intellectual belief in the Bible is all that is needed to be saved. However, just “believing the facts of the Bible will not give you eternal life”. “Thou believest there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, oh vain man, that faith without works is dead.” (James 2:19,20)

Many preachers will scream from their pulpits “legalism” and “Your trying to work your way to Heaven”. They quote out of context “By grace alone are you saved!” They presume that obedience is good but
only optional. However, God’s Word plainly teaches that obedience is a necessary part of true faith and true salvation. This obedience is not derived from a bondage to fulfill the law but from a heart of love to please our Loving Heavenly Father. We do not obey God as a way of earning our salvation but obedience is the acid test to whether we have truly been saved! “And being made perfect, he became the author of
eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” (Hebrews 5:9 )” LET NO, MAN DECEIVE YOU WITH VAIN WORDS: For because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE.”  (Ephesians 5:6)

If you are not in obedience to the Lord Jesus at this moment, then know for certain that you are still unconverted or at best a backslidden Christian. Either way, I would fall on my face, dear friend, in sincere repentance to God. Do not play religious games but fear this holy God of all creation who will one day judge your soul to Hell or Heaven! “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; That every one may receive6 the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5:10)

Commitment without holiness is the last of these hell bent doctrines in the church. A person who professes to be a committed follower of Jesus and lives contrary to true holiness is a hypocrite and a liar. To be a Christian is more than just claiming to be one. To be a Christian originally meant to be like Christ (Christian). As true Christians we strive to be like our Lord Jesus. We constantly fight against the fiery darts of the devil to maintain the true life of holiness. We change any bad attitudes to reflect Christ. We filter incoming thoughts to maintain sureness-of mind. We examine our daily motives and actions to keep our consciences clear of offense toward God and man. Our characters are transformed more and more into the image of Christ. IF we should stumble in an area of our life, we are quick to repent, trusting in Jesus to forgive us and we immediately get back up and fight the good fight.

We have committed all of our life to the perfecting of our character. “And every man who hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as He is pure.” (I John 3:3) This is what holiness really is. This is what it means to be a Christian. “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” (I Thessalonians 4:7)

If you dare live a casual life of religion on one hand while living for sinful pleasures on the other, thinking that you will be accepted into Heaven’s holy ground, you will no doubt be condemned on that final day. “Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)

In conclusion, we must declare with all authority that these false concepts should not be taken as light infractions to sound doctrine but are most assuredly sending countless thousands to an eternity they’re not expecting. If you, dear reader, are believing any of these deceptions, humble yourself and submit to God’s Holy Word. If you are a preacher of these deceptions then you are also obligated to renounce them publicly and to preach the Word that is according to Godliness

Remember, don’t take my word for it, seek the Scriptures to see if these things be so… And take His Word for it!

This article is from: The Fire and the Hammer, June, 1993.

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