“But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 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 11:12-15
The great apostle had been writing to the Corinthians, rejoicing in their repentances and yet continuing to exhort them so that they may remain faithful to the cause of Christ. He wrote to them that they must needs follow the gospel which he himself had preached, as given by Christ to him directly. That gospel is the gospel of peace, which is the proclamation of God as Man in the Man Jesus Christ and His Atonement on the Cross in Jesus Christ crucified.
There is no other gospel to be heard that can save a man’s soul from eternal destruction. Sin cannot be removed from a man by any other means, and it is sin that keeps us from God’s Presence. To come into the Presence of God, the Holy of Holies, to stand before the Throne of the Lamb, we must be cleansed by that very Lamb. We must be washed clean and made anew.
Paul knew that there was ample opportunity for wolves to enter the flock and preach subtle things that tickled the ears if the congregation to draw them away from Jesus. He used the example of Satan, the father of lies, who had beguiled Eve by taking the form of (or possessing possibly) a snake and deceiving her.
Satan, who was of the highest order of angels, knows God. Satan not only stood in His Presence as an Angel, but as a fallen angel, he still must come to God for permissions to operate. So, the great deceiver truly is the most vile and wicked because he continues to lie to the world knowing full well Who God truly is.
He does not come before us as he would appear. He hides himself, cloaked in lies that are so appealing, they can be easily accepted as truths. He can even fall back into the guise of the angel he once was, and, without discernment on our part, pass himself off as righteous. So it is also with those who have fallen prey to his lies. They believe and (as we see over and over in scripture) are hardening to their belief as truth. The longer they are entrenched in the false truth (false doctrine), the more difficult it is to pull them out and help them see the real Truth, and the simplicity of it. And so, they become the ministers of the false truth. Note here that it is not meant that they are just the leaders of their false churches. Any who profess false doctrine as a truth are ministers of that false doctrine. They are all ministers of a lie, which means they are ministers of Satan, and that is why Paul calls them “his ministers.”
The most distinguishing thing to notice here is the last phrase “whose end shall be according to their works.” The true gospel of peace speaks of rest. This rest is from God, and it means to lean on, or trust fully. This rest proclaims that God does the work. He does it in us and through us. Those good works that are done are never of ourselves. Yes, it is our hands, and our mouths, that minister and perform the activity, but it is God Who anoints. It is God Who inspires the work, Who gives the heart the want to work, Who gives the strength in doing the work, Who blesses the work. God alone does those things that are what He wills, as what He wills will always bring glory to Him. It is the works that are done without God’s anointing that he hates. In God’s eyes, they are sacrifices to idols, for they do not serve Him, but serve the men who perform them, profiting only ourselves. That is why they would be our end if we were not allowing God to do His work.
Anything that profits us individually and that does not glorify God, or is not scriptural, is not of God. The works added to the gospel are not of God, and so any religion that gives works to accomplish righteousness or a higher place of being in God’s eyes is not scriptural. I’m talking about the Church of Latter Day Saints. I’m talking about Catholicism. I’m talking about Jehovah’s Witness. All are about works. Not of God. Those are religions, but what about Christian churches? Well, the doctrines are not of God.
Prosperity gospel is not of God, because God directly says that it is not the things of this world with which we should be focused, but the next, and those things we are blessed with here are so that we can continue to give to and bless others. God is not interested in making us rich for riches sake, which is why He says it is harder for a rich man to enter Heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.
Seeker sensitive and word of faith are also not of God because scripture says everything that God ever has to say. That’s not to say that God does speak to His children not that He cannot, but if He does, it will never be a new revelation nor will it ever contradict scripture. Further, the scripture that might support the new revelations must not be taken out of their context, which it always seems to be.
The emergent church is also not of God because God showed us in the Bible what happened the last time anything like that occurred at Babel. Further, Jesus said the road was narrow and there were few who would find it. He never said we would all find the path. Therefore, as the masses who follow this begin to come together and become a larger congregation of deceived people, they expose this doctrine for what it is, a lie.
Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That is the simple gospel of Truth, the easy gospel of peace which even a child can understand. It’s not complicated and if anyone adds to it any works, then it is no longer the gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Jesus taught the apostle Paul about the Cross. The apostle Paul taught the Cross. The Cross is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The Cross is what the gospel is all about. Grace by faith; faith in Jesus and what He did.
The image at top is made of crosses. Look closely. God bless.