How does a person know if they have been deceived?
The great danger of deception is one does not know they have been deceived unless something opens their eyes to the truth. Jesus said, "Therefore, if the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matt. 6:23).
It is that very condition the apostle Paul warned about in the last days.
"Even him, whose coming is in accordance with the working of Satan with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all deception of unrighteousness among those who perish, because they did not receive the love for the truth that they might be saved. Therefore God will send them a strong delusion, that they should believe the lie: 12 that they all might be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess. 2:9-12).
The last days will be marked by a level of extreme deception the apostle calls strong delusion.
It is not just the press and media giving misinformation. It is more than leaders who are lying to the people and a revisionist education system. The people have refused to "receive the love of the truth."
Jeremiah described such a time in the history of Israel. "An appalling and horrible thing has been committed in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own authority; and My people love to have it so. Yet what will you do in the end?" (Jer. 5:30-31)?
Because the people will not "receive the love of the truth," they are given over to believing "the lie"; not just the lies of government or of revisionist history. They are given over to "the lie." It is the same lie Adam and Eve believed when confronted by the serpent in the Garden of Eden. "Your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3:5).
As men and women refuse to "receive the love of the truth," they assume the authority to determine the standard of right and wrong, truth and error, good and evil.
When humans assume such authority, truth becomes a lie, right becomes wrong, and good becomes evil. The people love to have it that way and their pleasure is found in those things known at one time to be unrighteous and evil.
Behavior God calls an abomination becomes acceptable.
The pastors and preachers of the land rewrite the standard of holiness to fit political correctness and tolerance of the culture.
Even the truth, once known to be certain, becomes corroded.
In midst of this strong delusion, the church revises the character and nature of God. His love and grace excuses the unrighteous behavior. They have fallen into the error of Psalm 50:21, "You thought I was indeed like you."
Do you see this is the very condition creeping upon the church in North America? We live in the very condition described by the apostle Paul.
How can a believer avoid falling prey to the "strong delusion"?
1. They must seriously ask, "Do I receive the love of the truth?" The Psalmist declared, "Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day" (Ps. 119:97).
2. They must fall in love with the infallible, inerrant, absolutely true, holy Word of God.
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season; its leaf will not wither, and whatever he does will prosper" (Ps. 1:1-3).
3. Believers must be committed to defending the fundamental principles and precepts of the Word of God and make them the standard and rule by which they live their life. It is not enough to just say you believe it is infallible, you must live it daily.
"Beloved, while I diligently tried to write to you of the salvation we have in common, I found it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. 4 For there are some men who secretly crept in, who were marked long ago for this condemnation. They are ungodly men, who pervert the grace of our God into immorality and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 3-4).
Holiness must become the standard for your life and entertainment.
4. The believer must stir up the fire of the Holy Spirit in their heart. It is only His power they will be able to stand in the face of such strong delusion.
Dr. F. Dean Hackett has served in full-time Christian ministry since October 1971. He has ministered throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, serving as pastor, conference speaker and mentor. He has planted four churches, assisted in planting 15 others, and currently serves as lead pastor of Living Faith Church in Hermiston, Oregon. Dr. Hackett founded Spirit Life Ministries International in 2001 to facilitate ministries in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina and to open a training center for workers in those nations. You can find him at F. Dean Hackett - Foundational, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.