“You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true.” 1 Corinthians 10:15
Opening your email inbox, you notice a new email: From “Chief Oyinbolowo Eko” with the subject “REQUEST FOR AN URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP”.
“Strange,” you think to yourself, knowingly rolling your eyes, “I don’t know a Chief Oyinbolowo Eko … or any Chief at all, for that matter.” Out of pure curiosity you open the email and read:
Greetings friend! I got your contact address through your country business directory and feel you will serve as a reliable source to be used to achieve our goal of transferring the estate of Miss Leslie Mushasha, by trusting under your care the total sum of Thirty million US dollars (US $30M).
Recognizing an obvious attempt at deception, you wisely delete the email and don’t give it a second thought.
If it’s so easy to recognize scams, why are people so often led astray by unbiblical and therefore Christ-dishonouring teaching? Jesus warned us many would try to deceive us:
“Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. … if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it.”” (Mark 13:5-6,21)
Likewise, Paul warns us that many will try to deceive us, attempting to portray themselves as righteous:
“Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve … Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15, Galatians 1:8)
How can we guard against being deceived? Continually read God’s Word, hold tightly to the central truths of the faith, and do not uncritically trust the interpretations of any one person. There are many peripheral faith issues that Christians are free to disagree with, so we should not be too quick to dismiss other Christians whose views on certain issues differ from ours. But salvation issues (the core gospel) cannot be compromised. Keep your mind sharp so that you can calmly walk away from teaching that dishonours God by rejecting His revealed truth in His Word.
Question: Have you been tricked or deceived in the past, and if so what did you learn from the experience?