Isa 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Three Realms Of Deception

There is the realm of the ungodly, there is the realm of the religious and there is the realm of the spiritual.

In every one of these realms the Deceiver works projecting his deceptions, but he adapts his deceptions to suit the realm.

We touch lightly upon the first and the second in order to come to the third more specifically.

1. The Ungodly: The deceiving work among the ungodly, for “the whole world lieth in the Wicked One”, and “the god of this age hath blinded the minds of them that believe not”, they are in the “kingdom of darkness”, they are utterly deceived though they know it not.

So utterly deceived that this letter to the Corinthians in its earlier passages tells us that in its very wisdom, at the very height of its wisdom, it slew the Lord of Glory, it killed the Prince of Life, so blind was it.

Saul of Tarsus was an excellent specimen of the wisdom of this world in setting his hand against the Lord, and the Lord’s own, to hound them to death, and when the light came and he was undeceived, how completely he saw the blindness in which he had been;

But the ungodly are even more deceived than that. Many of them before they close their earthly course wake up to the fact that they have been deceived, and you find in the end of their life so frequently they realize that they have been out full stretch in quest for something to make life complete, to make it full, to satisfy themselves...

And now, well, in some cases disaster has overtaken them, calamity has befallen them and all that they set their hearts upon has been lost, and they have nothing left of time or ability or strength or any kind of resource to begin again, and life has gone and now laughs back at them.

Everything was put out to reach an end which has eluded them, which they have missed, and the only thing that they can honestly say is, that they have been deceived.

On the other hand many reach their goal, accumulate wealth and possessions, position, influence, power and still heart-hungry they end their lives.

Well, we have had many instances of late. We have read of one who took his own life, not because things had gone wrong, he had accumulated his wealth, he turned his hand upon himself because he had nothing more to live for, and if that is not deception what is?

Oh, yes, beloved, the ungodly are in the grip of a mighty deception and in the end the Deceiver is going to laugh at them whether they succeed or whether they fail in what they set their hands to in this life.

In the end they are going to discover that the thing for which they were given a being has been missed and life has been just one delusion.

That is the meaning of the commission given to the Apostle Paul. He had had his eyes opened and the Lord said to him “Thou shalt stand before kings and rulers, and nations to whom I send thee to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.”

Turning from the power of Satan unto God, from darkness to light, is the result of having eyes opened; thus becoming disillusioned, undeluded by having eyes opened.

They are blind and the blindness is the work of one who has got them in his grip.

Kings, rulers and people, yes, many of them repudiating any such suggestion that they are blinded or deluded, but the Lord knows “to open their eyes”.

That is what we meant when we said that the Gospel in a sense is peculiarly for delivering men from deception, universally. So much for the ungodly.

2. The Religious: A word about the religious, for the same thing holds good here adapted by the Deceiver to the realm in which he is working, the type of people with whom he is dealing, the religious.

Yes, religiously deceived, to put it in another way, deceived by their very religiousness, and that is a strong and a mighty delusion.

There is power in that delusion that seems so often to defy every kind of attempt to deal with it.

Deceived by religiousness. What more can be expected than the recognition of the fact of God and the giving to God of reverence, acknowledgment, and recognition:

Of taking active interest in things which relate to God, attending religious services, and being very busy in religious activities and interests, and finding your chief interest in religious things and the religious realm?

What more can be expected? What is the matter with that? Be patient, bear with me if I say with very great emphasis: that may be one colossal delusion.

So often that very thing obscures one fundamental thing, a true and living relationship with God. “Ye must be born again”, and religion very often obscures that issue.

Oh, religion is no argument for salvation. Religion can be found in the darkest places of the earth.

Universally there is religion; depraved and very low in many places, but universally there is the consciousness of standing in relationship to some supreme object of worship, demanding worship; and then men's minds or imaginations get to work to give some kind of expression to that consciousness, of that supreme object of worship...

And the imagination produces that sometimes out of a tree, a stone, or in the heavenly bodies; somehow it is expressed, but it is the thing that is there, behind all the forms of expression which is universal.

All the highly civilized forms of that brought into the realm of Christendom are only the same thing developed. It does not say that Christendom’s more intelligent, civilized, educated interpretation of God, even though it gets its ideas from the Bible, is salvation.

It may be a mighty delusion and very often is.

I have asked people if they have been born again, and they have said “It is not necessary; I have been confirmed.”

Such may be an extreme case, and I do not take it up for criticism but by way of illustration. You may take on religion because you have got a religious temperament and that does not mean that you are saved.

The devil may be holding you just as firmly, tightly, in the grip of an unsaved state by your religion as he does the worldly by his pleasures.

He does not mind how he holds you. By the most aesthetic religious activities, self-denials and such like, so long as he can keep you from the main thing. 

Now one could pursue that for a long time, there is so much more, but it is merely indicated. It is the deception that we are getting at.

There is a vast difference, beloved, between vital union with God in Jesus Christ and religious formalism, and as we said at the outset, there is a very great need for a ministry by which deception, even amongst religious people, shall be shattered and broken and the fact of an essential, vital union with God by new birth shall be brought home to religious people.

Along that line the enemy is destroying the whole testimony of the Church by packing it full of active, energetic, unconverted people.

That is where he is sapping the strength of the Testimony of God.

3. The Spiritual: Now we come to the third, the spiritual people, and we are now dealing with the truly born anew children of God, the spiritual people.

The enemy will adapt his work of deception to this realm as cleverly and even more cleverly and ingeniously than to any other realm, but he does not give up the children of God as incapable of being deceived, for it is here that we find delusion and deception in its finest, its most acute forms.

It is here that so often dear children of God have been utterly led off into error by something which bore all the semblance of absolute Gospel truth.

It is in this realm, amongst the Lord’s own children, that the deceptions of today are most rampant and active.

What is the mark, the peculiar mark of the Deceiver’s deceiving work for the Lord’s own people? It is the counterfeit of all that is of God. The counterfeit system which includes anything that is of God. 

Now if you will get down with your Bible you will be able to trace that counterfeit system as it moves into every connection with God.

First of all you will see that there is a counterfeiting of the very Godhead. That is saying a terrific thing, but it is true.

A counterfeiting of the very Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The counterfeiting of the first Person in the Trinity, God.

What does the Scripture have to say: “The god of this age hath blinded...” The god of this age, and Satan is seen in the Word of God to set himself up all the way through as the supreme object of worship to draw away from God Himself.

You have not to go very far into the Bible to see that. It is implied in his very first act. “Hath God said?”

Well, “I am a greater authority than He is.” That is what is implied in that. “You listen to me,” and so by subtle insinuation he captured God’s place of reverence, of fear, of acknowledgment, in the heart of man and in so doing became man’s god, you see, getting worship.

His subtle insinuation by which he did it was, “God knows if you do that, you will be as God knowing good and evil, and God forbidding you to do that is simply robbing you of something which, being yours, would make your life fuller and larger and greater; and so God after all is not favorable to you, and is keeping something back.

He is making life smaller and narrower than it need be, and if you will only do as I tell you, you will have a life higher than that.

Yes - become a Christian, give your life to God, and life will become a narrow, mean thing, and you will have to give up this and that.

That is always the insinuation of the enemy, he never lets you know what you are going to gain by going on with God, and the deception works, that instead of gaining you lose, when you give heed to the enemy. “The god of this age hath blinded.”

When Israel came out of Egypt, the supreme object of their coming out was not the coming into the land or the wilderness, but that they should come out to the Lord, belong to the Lord, be His people. 

Let my son go; that was the word: coming out to, belonging to, the Lord.

They had not been in the wilderness very long before Moses went up into the mountain for a period with the Lord, and the enemy broke into the company. What was God saying to Moses in the mount? 

Let them bring me gold and silver and brass and precious stones and fine linen, and let them make me a sanctuary.

The enemy broke in at that time and said in effect: “Not if I can help it,” and he provoked the people to bring their gold for a molten image, taking the gold away from God.

What is gold? That which is representative and typical of God Himself - the Divine nature. 

This thing runs all the way through. Same principle back of things: the god of this age is seeking to get the worship due to God, and he simulates the first Person of the Trinity, imitates, counterfeits along the line of religion to get worship.

Then the second Person of the Trinity (you realize that we cannot stay to thoroughly exhaust each one of these) is the Lord Jesus, God Incarnate in the Son.

We read: “Many shall come in my name saying I am Christ and shall deceive many.” Antichrist is the simulation of God Incarnate. Taking the place of god amongst men in human form to capture the worship of men’s hearts. Sitting in the temple of God giving out that he is God.

Christs many, “there shall come false Christs.” The Deceiver is out to counterfeit Christ, simulate Him even to the point of incarnation, the devil incarnate, Antichrist. As far as possible he takes all the semblance of Christ.

~T. Austin Sparks~

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