“Let No Man Deceive Himself” – Jerry C. Brewer

Jerry C. Brewer

The greatest deception in the world is self-deception. Multitudes are guilty of this sin and it takes various forms. Some ways men deceive themselves are as follows:

By Minimizing One’s Sin

We deceive ourselves when we say we have no sin. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Self-deception may often result from self-imposed spiritual blindness. He who is blind to his own sin is often quick to find sin in others. Jesus dealt with that in teaching that one must remove the “beam” from his own eye before removing the “mote” from his brother’s eye (Matt. 7:3-5).

By Thinking That God is Like Man

A common form of idolatry today is to make a mental, instead of a metal or stone, image of God to conform to man’s concept. In concluding His indictments against Israel, God said, “…thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes (Psa. 50:21).

Adam and Eve could hide from each other, so they thought they could hide from God. They thought God was like the man He created. “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Gen. 3:9-10). Solomon affirmed the omniscience of God —that no one can hide from Him. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3).

Man thinks one religion is as good as another, so he thinks God feels the same way. But man deceives himself. God is not a man and does not think like a man. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9). There is only one way to God, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Every religion man has devised will fail. “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up (Matt. 15:13). God is not like man.

By Thinking a Wrong Way is Right

This kind of self-deception has been around for centuries and men in our day have wholeheartedly bought in to the lie that, “It makes no difference about one’s religion, so long as he is sincere.” Solomon wrote, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12, emph. JB). Saul of Tarsus is a classic example of this kind of self-deception. After he was converted to Christ, he said of his previous life, “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 26:9, emph. JB). There are countless multitudes of people today who think they are right, but who are on the road to hell.

By Attempting to Change the Bible

Man deceives himself when he thinks he can change God’s word to suit his own beliefs. That kind of deception is rife today, and has been for hundreds of years. Jehoiakim thought he could destroy God’s word by cutting its pages and burning it. “And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth” (Jer. 36:23).

Martin Luther read Romans 5:1—“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”—and did not like the way it read. Therefore, in his self-deception, he inserted the word only after “justified by faith” to suit his own false doctrine. We will be judged by God’s word as He gave it (John 12:48), not by man’s corruption of it.

Paul warned, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Self-deception sows a crop that no one wants to reap—eternal death.

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Author: Editor

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