“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
Satan has “his ministers.” He commissions false apostles. They are the founders of movements that are not of God, entrapping multitudes and generations in error. He raises up false prophets. They declare things that God has not spoken, sowing confusion in the ranks of God’s people. He has his false shepherds and teachers. They establish souls in error, ensuring their hardness to the truth which would set them free.
The god of this world actively seeks to deprive men of the truth, substituting his word for God’s Word. From the beginning he has enlisted the aid of subtle instruments of deception. To fall under the sway of such serpents is an indication one has “received not the love of the truth.” (2 Thes. 2:10) Truth must be diligently pursued. False “ministers of righteousness” hope you don’t investigate their doctrines or declarations very carefully. They prey upon the simple. “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” (Prov. 14:15)
The camp of God has always been more in danger from within than from without. Peter warned: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (2 Pet. 2:1,2) Paul warned that in the last days false ministers would increase. “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2 Tim. 3:13) His antidote for such deception was a fearless commitment to the whole Word of God.
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. 3:14-17)
When any part of God’s Word would be quickly snatched away from you so that it cannot penetrate the soil of your heart, know that Satan is at work. “And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.” (Mark 4:15) As in Eden, Satan’s instruments cleverly twist God’s Word – emphasizing what they want you to see in it while keeping you from those parts which expose their lies.
We are now in a day of rampant seduction. Paul feared for the church of his time: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:3) How much more, in this day, should we be sober and vigilant? We have an adversary who hunts for those he can devour. Only sheep that won’t listen to the voice of a stranger are safe from him and his emissaries. They love every word of their Shepherd.
“It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” (Psalm 119:126-128)