• Chris Steele

Truth and Error: Know the Difference

Chris' Corner -- December 12, 2021


There is money in scamming people. Lying thieves are better and better at cheating people out of their hard-earned cash. Friendly or threatening, they’re smooth-talking manipulators, using emotions to get what they want—money. Sometimes they want personal information for identity theft, so they can take all your money!

Is it possible people do similar things in the name of religion? Surely not! Well, yes, it is true. Paul warned the Corinthians of this very thing. “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! ...For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:3, 4, 13-15).

How unfortunate for people to use religion to convince others into believing error and false doctrine. Perhaps more concerning is knowing the people who are promoting the error were victims themselves. At some point, they were convinced into believing the error. Now, they teach the lie to others. And so on, and so on.

On the other hand, some false teachers knowingly deceive for money or popularity. “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:18).

Paul wrote to the Colossians, who already knew the truth but needed the warning not to forget it. “Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words” (2:4). The apostle John described Satan as the deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9). The Bible introduces him to us as a liar. He used his persuasive ways on Eve and convinced her to sin, the first sin among humans (Genesis 3:1-6). Jesus said the devil hasn’t changed (John 8:44).

The Galatians, like the Colossians, were facing those who had come into their number teaching other doctrines. Paul warned, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6–7). He follows with a curse on those who would compromise the truth of the gospel. Souls are at stake.

Why do people buy into false teaching? Why do they believe something that is not true? Any one of us could fall victim to such things if we don’t know the truth, or we’re not determined and courageous to stand up for it.

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