The Great Counterfeiter

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The Great Counterfeiter

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Notice Paul's warning to the Christians in Corinth: "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 11:3-4).

Here Paul describes three areas in which Satan employs clever counterfeits of the truth to deceive even Christians.

First, he presents Jesus as being quite different from the Christ revealed in the Bible —in effect creating another Jesus, a false Christ. This is the Jesus most people hear about today—a counterfeit of the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Regrettably, most of what is called Christianity is built around this false Christ.

The second of Satan's clever deceptions is to represent the mere outpouring of human emotion—or, in some cases, the direct influence of demons—as God's Spirit. Hundreds of thousands of people are deceived every year in this manner. They are impressed by what they see or feel rather than by the fruit of God's Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23 and by whether the accompanying teaching is indeed of God (compare Isaiah 8:20).

The true Holy Spirit is the power of God (Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:7) through which "those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24). It is not, as so many think, a third person in the Godhead. And its work in our lives is not manifested through bizarre actions or nonsensical babbling worked up through human emotion or unwitting communication with demonic spirits. Rather, it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that God "works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13, NIV)—that is, to live by God's laws, though many religious teachers falsely claim these are done away.

The third deception, twisting Jesus' gospel message, seems to be Satan's most effective tool for maintaining his deadly grip on many people. Jesus explained that as soon as people begin to respond to God's Word, Satan acts quickly to snatch it out of their hearts and minds (Matthew 13:18-22). The devil's methods are powerfully effective with many.

For example, notice Paul's lament over what was happening to the Galatian Christians who had been converted under his ministry: "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 [as it was not truly good news, which "gospel" means]; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:6-8). So this is quite a serious matter.

To learn more about Satan's counterfeits and how they have infiltrated Christianity, be sure to download or request your free copy of The Church Jesus Built.