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 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4 For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.
American King James Version×).
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 Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×and by whether the accompanying teaching is indeed of God (compare Isaiah 8:20 Isaiah 8:20To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
American King James Version×).
The true Holy Spirit is the power of God (Acts 1:8 Acts 1:8But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
American King James Version×; 2 Timothy 1:7 2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
American King James Version×) through which “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24 Galatians 5:24And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
American King James Version×). 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 Philippians 2:13For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
American King James Version×, 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 Matthew 13:18-22 18 Hear you therefore the parable of the sower.
19 When any one hears the word of the kingdom, and understands it not, then comes the wicked one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it;
21 Yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution rises because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
American King James Version×). 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 Galatians 1:6-8 6 I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
American King James Version×). 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 .