By Patrick Hawthorne
21 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23 KJV)
The topic of deception has been on my heart of late. Not only my heart, but it has been a topic of interest for many in the Christian community. As I commonly like to say, “Same word, same Holy Spirit.”
The Lord, through His Holy Spirit, is speaking a message of warning to His Church. His message is, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” This is the same message He spoke to His disciples around two thousand years ago when they stood admiring the Temple buildings. (Matthew 24:4.)
Today, as I was reading Matthew 7:21-23, this warning again became clear. Actually it was the latter portion of verse 23, “…ye that work iniquity,” that caught my attention. Upon reading that portion, my mind immediately took me to the words of Jesus. “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12.)
The iniquity spoken of by Jesus in both Matthew 7 and Matthew 24 have the same meaning. Both refer to contempt or willful disregard for the things of God. The term actually describes a deliberate desire to practice lawlessness while maintaining the appearance of holiness. A note of interest is that in both cases the mention of lawlessness or iniquity is preceded by a warning that deception would occur through false prophets. And, in Matthew 24, the deception by false prophets is preceded by a warning that many will become offended in the last days. This offense is either with God or those associated with God.
The thing about deception is that it is very deceptive. By that I mean, deception is often missed because it is cloaked in a bit of truth. Jesus said, in Matthew 24:24, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”
Now, more than ever, it is important for the child of God to take serious the call to holiness. If there is any anger, bitterness, or resentment towards another that you have been hanging onto, I strongly suggest that you deal with it and make things right through prayer and forgiveness. Also, if you are walking the fence with one toe dangling in the world and the others with God, you best come off that fence and get right with God. The Lord is speaking. Are we listening? Be blessed.