Jesus loves His children very much, and therefore He warns them against deceit. For example, in Matthew 24, regarding the end times, of which the first signs are already visible. The work of the antichrist will increase as these times draw near. “And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist” (1 John 4:3).
Jesus warns His disciples against those who claim that they are the Christ (Matthew 24:5), and against false christs and false prophets who will perform great signs and wonders (Matthew 24:24). In His great love for us, He tells us how to protect ourselves against every kind of deceit.
The only way to escape deceit, is to know and apply the truth of God’s Word. In John 17:17, Jesus prays to the Father and says: “Your word is truth.” And in Psalm 119:89 we read: “Forever, O Lord, Your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.”
Knowing the Bible is of crucial importance, so that we can refer to and apply it whenever we are attacked in any way. That is what Jesus did when He was being tempted in the desert by Satan. Every time He answered: “It is written…”, and then recited a fitting passage of Scripture (Matthew 4:4-10, Luke 4:4-11).
Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 that we should not let ourselves be led astray by the works of Satan, that are accompanied by “all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” If people become lawless, this is due to them willingly rejecting God’s truth (Romans 1:18). To such people God will send a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false (2 Thessalonians 2:11). They are condemned this way since they don’t believe the truth and are thus deceived. That is a very penetrating and severe warning!
Follow your heart???
Many people claim: you should follow your heart – if something feels right, it is right. But that is a deception, for we should not trust our own hearts. They are not trustworthy with respect to knowing the truth. “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26), for “the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). There is only one reliable source of truth: God’s eternal Word, the Bible.
An example: love
We could, for example, be deceived by our own ideas about love, if those don’t agree with God’s Word. This happens when we take our own emotions and opinions about what is good, and use them as a compass.
The Bible uses the Greek word agapè as an expression for deep love. How is this love expressed? By obedience. Jesus told His disciples: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). In 1 John 5:3, we read: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” And: “Whoever says: I know Him, but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). Every form of love that distracts us from obedience to God’s Word, is false love.
We humans can’t love like God does. The perfect love of God in our hearts can only be effective by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we need to be full of the love of God, poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) – “the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him” (Acts 5:32). In so far as we obey God, we will be vessels of His love.
If we are disobedient, God’s love will show in reproof and discipline (Revelation 3:19, Psalm 94:12-13). If we wander away from His path, if we are disobedient, He calls us like a loving Father to repent and to lend an ear to His appeal “that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).
Love for God’s Word
Develop love for the Bible, the Word of God. Get to know it with the help of the Holy Spirit, who is joined to the Word. In it are to be found real truth and ultimate protection against deceit.