3But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. – 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 (ESV)
In this passage of Scripture, Paul is comparing the church’s acceptance of false gospels and a false Christ to Eve’s deception in the Garden of Eden.
1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. – Genesis 3:1-6 (ESV)
Look at Genesis 3:1. The serpent begins by getting the cogs turning in Eve’s head. He gets her to wonder about what God actually said. God’s command in Genesis 2:17 is pretty clear: don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or you’ll die. That is an easy enough command to remember: don’t eat from this tree, it will kill you.
Now, look at Genesis 3:3. Look closely at what Eve says. She responds to the serpent by saying God told them not to eat from the tree and not to touch it. There it is. God never told Adam and Eve that they couldn’t touch the tree. He told them not to eat from the tree. Eve has altered the command that God has given.
Finally, the serpent tells Eve what will happen if she eats the fruit: her eyes will be opened. And as the story goes, Eve ate the fruit, gave some to Adam, and sin entered the world.
What is absolutely terrifying about The Fall is that the serpent didn’t really have to work very hard. You don’t see Eve even putting up a fight. She really didn’t argue with the serpent. It was so easy for the serpent to lure Eve into temptation.
Now, back to 2 Corinthians
13For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. – 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NIV)
Masquerading. I really like the way this verse is translated in the NIV. Masquerading. That’s exactly what false teachers do. They masquerade themselves. They wear a disguise, the disguise of a godly man or woman, but what they are is deceptive. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15) What else is to be expected?
So often, we are deceived by a false gospel just like Eve was deceived by the serpent. What is absolutely terrifying is, just like with Eve, the enemy doesn’t even have to work very hard to lead us astray. Because we want to believe lies, because we have itching ears, we accept these false teachings.
Be on guard. Be aware that there are teachers that are ready to say whatever itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3). Whether for fame or fortune, they will lead people astray. And YOU, dear Christian, need to be on guard. Dismiss anything that contradicts the Bible. Dismiss anything that contradicts the Gospel. Do not be deceived.
Not every preacher, teacher, blogger, vlogger, WHATEVER that calls themselves a Christian actually is. There are plenty of people that use the name of Jesus for self-gain. There are people who twist and manipulate the Gospel. It is happening in the church today! The prosperity gospel is so incredibly prevalent and the majority of these false teachers and making a fortune by diluting and/or corrupting the Gospel.
Once last time, for the folks in the back. Read the Bible for yourself. Pray for wisdom and discernment when you study the Word. Do. Not. Be. Deceived.
God bless y’all