Protection Against Deception
When reading about biblical prophecy, one of the direst warnings involves deception. The frailty of mankind will fall prey to believing lies because they seem to be so compelling. Lies will masquerade as Truth, and people will believe them! The cares of the world will simply pull people away from God and His Truth. It is sobering to consider this because we are all human, and therefore we are all inherently vulnerable to the trap of deception.
In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, the source of vulnerability is exposed: “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12). We can see plainly that the belief in Truth stands directly opposed to unrighteousness. When there is pleasure in living a way of life that is inconsistent with the plain Truth of the Bible, the result is a vulnerability to believing deception instead. Clearly, when a love for man’s way of life begins to take root, there leaves less and less room for God’s Way of Life to protect one from deception.
Being deceived is not the end in itself though. The most frightening part is the ultimate result. The deception that turns people away from God by convincing them that their unrighteous ways are apparently righteous leads to condemnation – that is, death. When deception bears its fruit, the victim dies a death with an eternal duration. The pleasure in a life of unrighteousness has a dreadful finality.
Therefore, if we want to avoid this grim end in our lives, it is vitally important that we make sure to guard ourselves against deception. Nurturing our love for the Truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10), and all that naturally follows from such love, is the only way that we can defend ourselves from the subtle and cunning onslaught of deception. By building up our love for the Truth, we strengthen our ability to reject the imposters that threaten to take away our crown of righteousness. When we become intimately familiar with the Truth, we become strangers to the lies of deception.
Becoming familiar with the Truth and nurturing our love for it sounds great, but how do we do it? We can draw inspiration from the Psalms. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10). If we want to increase our understanding of the Truth, which is necessary in order to love the Truth, we have to put the Truth into action. By actually doing the commandments of God, we increase our familiarity with them, and we receive their benefits. By building obedience to God into every corner of our lives and taking the time to appreciate the inherent goodness, we build up our defenses against the dreadfulness of death. Our best protection against deception is to build up our love for the Truth by living by it.