Today I am headed home after a great weekend in Deming, New Mexico with CitiLife Church. It was a blessed weekend as we gathered for prayer, were challenged to be disciples of Christ, and inspired to find true satisfaction as people of God. Christ in me is the hope of glory!
Last week I wrote how Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He never condemns us, but He convicts us to draw near to God. He inspires us to be one with God. Holy Spirit also demonstrates our victory over every enemy in our lives. Today I want to write in regard to levels of deception in the life of a believer.
In the original creation, mankind was one flesh, male and female. God became flesh in the Man Jesus and He proved to be the Christ for the purpose of reconciling us to our heavenly Father and receiving a restoration of our mandate as mankind upon the earth. Jesus and the church are one flesh. Paul confirmed this in writing to the church of Ephesians with understanding of a husband and wife. The testimony of a husband and a wife is really the mystery of Christ and the church. This is a strong reason for understanding the mystery of marriage. Marriage is the exact example of Christ and the church. It is the covenant testimony of Christ Jesus and Christ the body together as one for the calling, inheritance, and testimony of God and man together as one in the earth. The church is the wife of Jesus in Christ. She is the Proverbs chapter 31 woman dealing in the real estate of the earth on behalf of her husband, who sits in the gate.
Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
We are to be one flesh with God as the body of Christ. Jesus gives us life, He washes us with life-giving words, and He brings us alongside of Him in all things as His wife without spot, blemish, or wrinkles. When He presents us to Himself, it is the act of bringing us alongside of Him to rule with Him in life for the purpose of bringing life to our world. As the bride of Christ, we submit to Him by receiving the life that He gives, believing the life-giving words that He speaks, and coming alongside of Him in all things for the glory of our Father in heaven. We are one with Him in His calling, His inheritance, and His power at work in all things.
In the original fall, Eve was deceived and then Adam ate the fruit and man (male and female) became disconnected, separate, and independent of God. The moment Adam ate, sin entered into mankind. Sin didn’t enter until Adam ate. Eve was deceived. I believe if Adam had not eaten, but had loved instead, that Eve could have been freed from her deception. Perhaps Adam and Eve could have been whole and holy before God, but when the headship embraced the fruit of the tree it was the full embracing of independence from intimacy with God. When Adam bit of that tree mankind become sinners. They became disconnected in their hearts from God. Jesus came to reconnect us to intimacy with God in Christ. Jesus is the eternal life-giving Adam to all who are in Christ. He has reconciled us to God and the sting of death does not need to prevail over us anymore. His love covers us even when we are deceived, but can we be deceived?
Can a Christian have a demon? Only if they want one! But sometimes we don’t realize we want one. It is called deception.
2 Corinthians 11:1 Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me. 2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 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. 4 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!
Paul was writing to believers. He had labored for the church that they would be intimate with God through Jesus Christ and not with other things. He wanted them to hold on to the relationship of love found in Christ.
In these verses Paul was writing that the believes should be in relationship with Jesus and not other things. He was concerned that they could be deceived as Eve was deceived. The context was one of being deceived, not sin unto death. Does one know how they have been deceived? They don’t! It is deceptive! That is why it is called ‘deception’. The criteria for being deceived is receiving a different Jesus, a different spirit than the life-giving Spirit of God, and a different good news. Preaching another Jesus, is another God saves – another salvation. It is receiving another means by which to be saved or receiving a different spirit which we did not receive that brought us the life of God. Deception involves a different means of salvation, a different spirit, and a different good news. If something other than a relationship with God through the Holy Spirit becomes a source of salvation, a motivation of our hearts, and a testimony of good news to our lives – it will result in deception.
As members of the body of Christ we are to keep a strong connection to the family of God. We must seek a relationship with God and others to guard our own hearts, and we must also seek to live connected to God and all that expresses the headship of Jesus in our lives. I will address this further in my blog next week.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson