2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (ESV) -- For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
One of the qualities that many Christians possess is their willingness to think the best about people. We know every person is a sinner and corrupt by nature, but we tend to take people at their word. We assume good intentions. That can quickly change if we have reason to question or doubt the truthfulness of someone, but most people begin with the benefit of the doubt.
This quality is good. But we must understand it can also set us up to be deceived and attacked by hidden dangers. Our passage today reveals this truth. We read from Paul in his second letter to the church in Corinth, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
Notice that Paul began with the false teachers and deceitful workmen that disguised themselves to the Christians as apostles of Christ. They presented themselves and their message as carrying authority from Jesus. Why is this so dangerous? Because those people could be teaching false doctrine and ideas.
Paul’s argument goes on to say that this shouldn’t surprise them because this is how Satan operates. He disguises himself as an angel of light. The most evil creature in the universe knows how to present himself as good. And many fall for it.
Christians must stay on guard against these hidden dangers. There are many today who pose themselves as Christians, even Christian leaders. They are false teachers and deceitful workers. Just because they call themselves Christians or quote Bible passages doesn’t mean they are servants of the Lord. Even Satan plays this game.
Remember this passage as you encounter ideas, teachings, and leaders that say or do things contrary to Scripture. Do not assume the best intentions of every person. There are wicked people who seek to do damage to the church. Scripture warns us about this and helps us stay wise as we live out our faith in the world.
Reflection & Journal:
- What are some things false teachers or leaders may claim today?
- Why is this passage so helpful in thinking about being wise and discerning of people?
- How can we assure that we do not get taken captive by false leaders or ideas?
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