God created man to be His dwelling place. He made everyone with a desire for Him. Man can only find satisfaction in Him. Everyone has turned away from the true God to the god of self. Sin and darkness are the result of the sinner choosing self and rejecting God. We have all fallen from God into ourselves and into a government and activity under our own powers broken off from God. The reason that people remain in the darkness of sin is they reject Christ by holding on to their selfishness.
Every sinner has committed two evils. These are, forsaking God and building a system that tries to quench their spiritual thirst and desire.
Jer. 2:13 "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."
A sinner instead of having true life in God is selfish. This selfishness is the result of his choosing self over the will and instruction of God. The sinner has cut himself off from the life of God. He tries to find life and fulfillment without Him. This is never possible because there is no true life or satisfaction outside God. Many build their own religious system to comfort them and bring themselves pleasure.
Deception begins when a person refuses and resists God's truth. Instead of obedience, he refuses to conform and change the exact way God requires. When a person resists God's light he hardens his heart and dulls his spiritual hearing. This is a criminal offense because it is a willful act of rebellion. Each person is totally responsible for their own deception. God is speaking but the person puts his fingers in his ears. He builds more barriers to block out God's light and love as he continues to resist. God's voice and light will get dimmer if he continues in rebellion. God's light and truth have not diminished but a person continuing to resist over time will hear less and less of God's voice. God's message will not change and each refusal only further drives a person into deeper rebellion.
God will give this person much grace and love. If this person still refuses to obey he will totally grieve the Holy Spirit away and no longer hear the voice of the Lord at all. A person in this state will absolutely refuse to admit that he is totally wrong. The sinner in this state has shut out the true light of Christ only to substitute his own. His mind has made a system to comfort him and make him feel satisfied.
Any person who disobeys God's truth is wide open to false spiritual experiences. This does not mean that the experience itself is false but that the source of it is wrong. When a person shuts out God from their lives they open the door to the devil. They can have many real spiritual experiences and claim to receive new revelation from God. When they reject God's true revelation they are open to many false voices. This is the reason for so many cults and wrong teachings.
The root cause of all deception is a dishonest and disobient heart. A person with a dishonest heart is his own king and master. He may embrace religion and Christian doctrine but he refues to give up the "kingship" over his own life. Deception will always avoid true obedience to God. Instead of obedience a person may practice religion to satisfy his real spiritual need and to cover up his disobedience. Every false philosophy or religious system starts from the rejection of truth that creates a spiritual vacuum that the sinner tries to fill. All heresy or error is the direct result of a self-willed opinion that a person substitutes for the truth and submits to as truth. A dishonest heart does everything it can to prevent itself from knowing and obeying the truth.
II Tim. 4:3-4 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
There is a specific divine order in truth. The order is as follows:
1. God initiates the first step. He reveals truth to the mind.
2. The second is our response to this truth. We have the choice to obey or to resist and disobey the truth.
3. The third thing is that God may explain the truth.
A person who builds a false religious system around Christianity tries to grasp and understand facts and doctrines before any personal obedience. He then experiences a philosophical growth rather than a true Christian growth. He becomes proud of his knowledge and becomes very arrogant.
All true religion first starts and then is carried on by the living working of God in man. A believer will not totally rely on God if he is not entirely sanctified. He will turn to himself and then try to please God. Just because a person is born again does not mean he cannot turn away from Christ and return to selfishness. Without the actual immediate continual inspiration and working of the Holy Spirit all religion is of self.
Without Christ the believer can do nothing that God considers good or holy. All love and faith that he can possibly have for Him must come to exist from the power and the life of Christ within him. God is not your God unless He is the God of your life and by His Spirit is living within you.
The cause of all spiritual blindness is a desire to be independent of God and to be like God in an ungodly way. Many people express this desire by seeking more or other knowledge than that which comes from God alone.
This person struggles to get his own way, to have his own will and to do his own thing. His own wisdom comes from the satanic sin of pride.
Many people are deceived this way. God's light and grace surrounds them. They resist it and do not respond in obedience to it. Then they try to understand the plan of salvation with their mind. They use their human reasonings to grow in grace. All religious activities that he performs proceed from self not from Christ. Their confidence is not at all in the character of God. They rely on their own speculations and ideas. No person can ever exercise true faith without confidence in God and His character, wisdom, and goodness.
True Christianity consists in heart obedience to God, not in head knowledge. I know many people who understand every fact of the gospel. Some people know it better than I, but the problem is some just have head knowledge. Many in the church have a head knowledge of biblical words and doctrines. They lack the living divine knowledge and reality of the Triune God living and working within them.
A person can study and learn all the doctrines and teachings of Christianity. He may become proud of his knowledge. He then will be full with the spirit of self, satanic pride and worldly wisdom in all that he does.
This happened to me in my early days of study. I took my facts from my study of doctrine. I started to place my trust and confidence in my own reasonings and logical thinking ability. I removed myself from God's presence within me and turned to selfishness. All I had was a religious system full of facts and doctrines.
My religious knowledge came from myself not from God. I had great pride in these facts and doctrines. I became puffed up in knowledge and looked down with critical disgust on all others who disagreed with me.
I was an idolater for I worshiped myself and my ideas of doctrines. It does not matter if a person's doctrines and definitions are correct. No doctrine or definition can give life, truth or love. These only exist by God's own rule and kingdom within. Doctrine should never replace Christ nor should be worshipped along with God.
Any religious knowledge that a person gets not from the abiding Spirit of God is full of vanity, emptiness and delusion. The only thing that can come from one's own reason is the work of the flesh and the devil.
Facts only puff up a person's pride. A person's knowledge of doctrine will not make him more like God even if his doctrine is absolutely correct. Facts do not make any person more like God. A person can believe the facts of the scripture without ever repenting from selfishness.
Any person can believe facts without being in the will of God. Comprehending and explaining doctrine may never convert or humble the sinner. No one is saved by their knowledge of doctrine. Let the facts lead you to God. Facts are important but only as sign posts that point toward the continual working of God living and dwelling within. A person can have much knowledge but only be wise in his own conceits.
A person must not rely in his own knowledge but must be obedient from the heart to all the light that God has given him. If a person rejects God's light he will go on to establish his own truth and fall into deception. God will never give a person any more light until he first obeys all the light he has.
Have you responded to and been obedient to all the light God has given you? Do you just have head knowledge without any heart obedience? Have you made for yourself a religious system that lacks the true power and reality of the present living Christ? Are you free from sin and by faith overcome the world, the flesh and the devil?
Deception develops and grows in degrees and in stages. I will trace for you the steps of deception I took.
1. I actively resisted the grace and truth of God. I was dishonest with God and myself. I did not want nor desire God. I would not admit that my selfishness was wrong nor that I needed God. I wanted to be like God but in an ungodly way. I felt that I was not responsible to anyone but myself. I wanted to be someone important and respected. I wanted others to worship me and give me the attention I felt I deserved.
2. I made selfish choices. I desired power and took a false position of dignity and authority to rule over God's people. My religious duties were legalistic, motivated by fear of punishment and hope of reward. My conscience pushed and drove me to do religious duties. I claimed and said I loved God. The truth was, I hated Him.
3. I seared my conscience. This was done by my repeated stubbornness to give up selfishness. I hardened my heart and plugged up my ears to the light that God had given me. I continually grieved the Holy Spirit and His dealings in my life. This resulted in false visions and experiences that I thought were from the Lord.
I based my Christianity on an experience that I thought I had with the Lord. These experiences filled me with pride because of my special calling and heavenly vision.
When a person keeps rejecting truth he is open for visions and experiences that are not of God. These experiences can be real and appear to come from God. All true dealings and experiences with the Lord will truly humble a person. Many people claim that they have had visions and dealings with the Lord. If you claim this and have not been truly humbled by the holy Lord, then these experiences were not from Him.
The real evidence of Christianity is love. Remember, unless love is the ruling feature of a professing Christian, he is not truly born again at all. Religious knowledge and zeal without love will only make one proud, high-minded, and critical.
I looked down on all other Christians and saw myself as God's man of faith and power. I claimed authority forbidden by Christ and questioned any authority that did not agree with my own ideas and doctrines. I replaced God in judgment of others and criticized them harshly according to my own ideas and concepts.
4. I reinterpreted the scripture to justify and rationalize my selfishness. I retreated from reality and indulged in fantasies about myself. I spent much time in daydreaming and thinking about things that gave me pleasure. I deceived myself and openly taught the false doctrine that a person can be truly forgiven and remain in sin. I wanted to be free from the consequences of sin and still sin. I placed the blame for all my problems on my parents, others and experiences in my past. I searched for inner healing, while the whole time I was unwilling to admit to God and myself my own sinfulness.
5. I began to live out my fantasies and acted as though I was a god. I disregarded all interests that did not relate to my own self-pleasure. I became very covetous and desirous for religious control. I thought of myself and declared myself as a prophet of God. I took leadership over others in the church and tried to dictate to them how they should live. I wanted the praise of people and was very proud of my ministry. I felt that I was the best minister around and all others were less important than me.
I had the following related sins:
1. Pride, ingratitude, denying the Lord, self-centered, not willing to trust Christ, an independent spirit and iniquity.
2. Disobedient, unrighteous, seeking miracles without godliness, and rebellion.
3. Resisting the Holy Spirit, unbelief, a strong desire for new revelation, giving attention to lies and not loving the truth.
4. Vain imaginations, foolish, hypocritical, denied blame for sin, spiritually blind, and double-minded.
5. Carnally minded, slave to sin, greedy, sexual immorality, loving worldly pleasure, boastful, covetous and a basic dishonesty.
Do you see anything that applies to you? Are you honest with God and yourself? Are you willing and obedient to all the will of God? If so, do not resist His truth and love any longer. You need no special miracle, just simple obedience. Remember, Christianity is not believing or accepting a statement of faith. It consists in obeying the truth. Without your personal obedience you will never become a Christian.
True Christianity is nothing else than God Himself manifested by His ruling in and over the believer as a dwelling word of power. God Himself dwells and works within the believer, willing and desiring to do all His will in the temple of his heart. All possible good in the believer is by the life of God, the working of God, and the nature of God revealing Himself in him.
Spiritual blindness and deception start in a believer when he turns away and rejects God truth. He does this by turning to his own strength, power and abilities to have spiritual goodness. Anything that does not proceed from the power of Christ living within him is self-delusion.
The only way a person can be free of all deception is to be born again and then receive the promise of entire sanctification. The reason for this is that nothing in self, by self, for self, with self or of self has any spiritual life in it. All true faith, hope, love, or anything godly can only proceed from the Holy Spirit of God. This is the fruit of the Spirit, living, dwelling, and working in the heart, soul and spirit.
Any activity of our own abilities will hinder or stop the inward work of God. Every work that proceeds from self prevents the full birth of Christ within. The progress of our conversion, by the grace of God, consists in the simplicity of our faith holding on only to the work of God within us. The working of God can be stopped by our lack of faith in it or by trusting in something else along with it.
Sin will always get control of the heart the moment you stop believing and yielding to God's divine workings within. We only cooperate with God when we submit to the work of God and then leave ourselves to it.
Salvation is Christ Himself, the power of God, living and working in the believer. His faith and works are nothing but Christ born, and living and working within him. Where Christ is, you will find both faith and works. It is impossible to have one without the other because they are inseparable in Christ and He cannot be divided.
The Christian is like a branch on a tree. It must receive all its nourishment and life from the tree. If the branch is broken off it will wither and die because it has no life in itself. Christ is the tree and we are to abide in Him.
Have you experienced the fullness and reality of God's life within you? Do you experience the deadness of self-rule and dead religion? You must be totally honest in your heart to God no matter what level that honesty is on. No matter how horrible the truth is, be willing to face it and confess it to God.
I could not receive Christ until I realized with the Holy Spirit's help that I truly hated God. I thought and claimed I loved Him but I saw that I had never obeyed Him. This proved I did not love Him. I did not know what to do. I knew I needed God. When I prayed out that I hated Him and loved my selfishness, He poured out His love.
True religion consists only in the divine and holy life of Christ. The whole of salvation must be the sole work of the living, creating Spirit of God. The absolute necessity of immediate and continual inspiration of the Holy Spirit is the only possible power and preservation of a godly life.
1. Why is a sinner in darkness?
2. What are the two evils committed by sinners?
3. How does deception begin?
4. Why will a person accept lies in the place of truth?
5. How does every false philosophy or religious system start?
6. Why do we have so many cults and wrong teachings?
7. What will a dishonest heart do? Why?
8. How does all heresy and error start?
9. What is the specific order of divine truth?
10. What happens if this order is changed? Why?
11. How does a person get more light from God? Why?
12. What does true Christianity consist in? Why?
13. Will religious knowledge ever save anyone? Why?
14. Why do facts alone puff up a person's pride?
15. Why would a person experience false visions and experiences?
16. When a person has a true experience with the Lord, what will happen? Why?
17. What is the real evidence of Christianity?
18. Do you reinterpret scripture to justify your sin and selfishness?
19. Do you daydream and indulge in fantasy?
20. Do you judge others harshly?
21. What will religious knowledge and zeal without love make a person? Why?
22. Did you relate to anything in the steps of deception or sins?
23. When does spiritual darkness start?
24. What is the only way a believer can be free from all deception? Why?
25. What hinders and stops the inward work of God? Why?
26. Are you totally honest with yourself and God?
27. Do you know Christ Himself and hear His voice and follow Him?
28. Do you just have head knowledge and a self-made religious system?
29. Have you voluntarily chosen to trust in God and the truthfulness of His word?
30. Do you have a confidence that God will do what He says?
31. What does all deception always avoid? Why?
32. Who is responsible for a person's deception? Why?
33. Have you submitted your entire heart to His will? If not, will you do it now?