Safety in the Age of Deception

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Only two things are needed to obtain freedom from whatever holds you bondage: truth and faith, and the two go hand-in-hand. Both of these can be found in the pages of your Bible. I once addressed a group of Chinese pastors, and after my teaching, one of them told me that what I said was too simple for him to accept. He was looking for something more intellectual and philosophical. But the power and beauty of the gospel is in its simplicity, for it is within reach of everyone who hears it — everyone can benefit from its great wisdom and power to break the chains of bondage.

Listen to the words of Jesus:

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31,32

The gospel is simple, straight-forward, and capable to set every captive free, and Jesus told us how to take advantage of it: abide in the Word. There is only one way to discover the truth that can set you free, and that is to “abide” in the Word of God. When you abide in the Word, it will abide in you, and that is where faith is grown. It is only faith in the truth that has this liberating power — not faith in religion, in a system, in mental capabilities, or any such thing.

Paul wrote about this faith in his letter to the church at Rome:

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

Luke tells the story of the large group of disciples Jesus sent to preach the gospel, and to “heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” (Luke 10:9) They came back, astounded, telling Him that, “even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (Luke 10:17) Look at Jesus’ response:

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. Luke 10:21

Those disciples saw the power that flows from the Word. God’s instructions are always easy to understand. You take it on face value, do it in faith, and its truth does the work. The best part is you don’t have to understand it, for God’s Word makes little sense to our intellect. His thoughts are higher than ours, so we can only apply them in faith.

We live at a time when my truth has become a thing of importance, leaving the door wide open to colour God’s truth to make it more palatable. That kind of truth brings nothing but bondage! There is only one way to accept it, and it is the way it is written.

Paul encountered the same attitude back in his day. Some people went around, visiting churches to teach their perception of God’s Word, twisting it to fit their understanding. It was nothing but an old trick in a new format. Remember how the serpent sowed doubt in Eve’s mind? He showed her the forbidden fruit, and she “saw that it was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise…” — after he asked the question, “has God indeed said…” (Genesis 3:1-6) Doubt arises when private interpretations redefine truth, for faith only grows on the unadulterated Word. This is how Paul looked at it:

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradi-tion of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily… Colossians 2:8

God’s Word is what it is. To philosophize the Word may satisfy your intellect, but it will cheat you out of its benefits. Traditional views bring the supernatural nature of the Word down to the human level, robbing it of its power

The words that Jesus spoke to those Jewish believers in John chapter 8, quoted above, form one of the unshakeable pillars of our faith. Everything in your relationship with the Lord rests on it: your faith, your prayers, your fellowship with Him, your spiritual growth, your level of worship —everything. It s a foundation that cannot be moved, as the Psalmist also testified so long ago:

Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89

Paul’s ministry to the church — which includes you — had one goal, and it can only be accomplished by the simplicity that is in Christ. Faith, like truth, is not a mental perception, but a spiritual force. The mind, with its natural tendency to filter out everything that doesn’t make sense to it, isn’t capable of understanding faith.

For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it! 2 Corinthians 11:2-4

We live in the age of deception and there can be no doubt about it. Truth is hard to find outside the Bible — and a small remnant who will remain loyal to it despite the cost. There are many types of Christians these days, but most are not willing to bear the kind of cross Jesus spoke about — and they are as dangerous as openly hostile enemies of Christ. Truth is the tool of discernment we use to identify “those of like precious faith,” to borrow a phrase from Peter.

Find your tribe in the faith, and stick to them no matter what. Only connoisseurs of truth qualify. There will be differences and there may be demands, but safety is a greater priority than comfort or personal preferences. After the authorities threatened Peter and John, they did exactly that:

And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. Acts 4:23

Do you have companions of like precious faith?

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