Why we do not see the Bible alike #2
In the first article, it was pointed out that ignorance was a cause for not understanding the Bible alike. Religious divisions generally lead to the conclusion that it is about church or denominational differences. But we pointed out that church or denominational differences are not the cause, but merely symptoms of the cause.
There are a few basic facts to be recognized identified previously that we must keep in mind:
First, Jesus brought one teaching (John 7:16; 14:26; 16:13-14; Titus 2:11-12). Therefore, since all taught one thing, and that teaching came from God, why should it direct one man to do one thing and another man to do something different? It is difficult to see how men can follow various paths and all claim to follow the example set by Christ. God’s teachings are the same today as in the days of Jesus and the apostles (Matthew 28:20). He has not, nor will He give any additional instruction other than what has already been revealed.
Second, man’s nature has remained basically unchanged from the Garden of Eden. He still loves, hates, rejoices, weeps, approves, rebukes, learns, and forgets. He still has the same organic needs now as then. He has the same drive and the same feelings.
Third, the reasons for man’s failure to understand and accept the New Testament teachings today are the same as they were 2000 years ago.
The first article focused on ignorance as a cause of difference and concluded with the idea that ignorance can lead to deception, or being deceived.
Deception is a major human weakness and a cause for not seeing the Bible alike. It is the process by which intelligent people are led to sin. It was through deception that man’s trouble began (1 Timothy 2:14; 2 Corinthians 11:3). Satan has not changed through the centuries. He is still using the same method he has always used, and we must be aware of the effectiveness of that method (1 John 2:16; Revelation 12:9).
So how does the process work?
Paul says the old man of sin became corrupt according to the deceitful lusts (Ephesians 4:22). So what is meaning of the phrase deceitful lusts?
The Greek word epithumia is the word translated lust in Ephesians 4:22. Vine says the word denotes “strong desires”. Generally we see the word and think of evil desires, but the Greek word carries no such implication. For example, the same word is used by Jesus when He said, “I have desired to eat the Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). Paul used the same word when he said, “For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” (Philippians 1:23).
So what determines whether a desire is good or evil? Is it not the nature of the act? An act that brings good on oneself and his fellowman is a good desire. If it brings evil on himself or his fellowman, it is an evil desire. Man only desires that which he thinks or feels for the moment to be good. Frequently, his feelings dominate, and though he would admit the final outcome would not be for the best, his strong desire gives it a temporary value that outweighs other considerations, and he indulges. If however, he is deceived, then that which he judges to be good will be evil (James 1:13-15). James uses the same Greek word in James 1. It is translated lust in the King James Version. James makes it clear that God is not responsible for man’s sin; the responsibility rests on the individual. Sin, which brings death, begins when he is drawn away by his own desires (lust KJV) and enticed”. This is illustrated by the sin of adultery. What leads one to engage in the sin of adultery? This is the lust of deceit. A moment of pleasure has been give greater value than decency before God and man.
These types of evil desires are the product of deception. All sin originates this way. Look at the process by which deception works.
First, it is a hardening process (Hebrews 3:12-13). The real warning being given by the Hebrew writer is a warning against unbelief. He uses the example of the Jews whose hearts were hardened in the wilderness (Hebrews 3:7-9). They did not enter in to the Promised Land because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:19). His point is that the unbelief in the Jews was due to the hardening of their heart, and they became impervious to God’s word. The hardening of the heart blinds one to the truth by his desire for that which looks good and is not.
Examine the first sin. Satan’s first task was to deceive the woman. Until she was deceived, she had no desire that would draw her away, but when she was fully deceived into believing she would not die and would become as God, knowing good and evil, her desire was well formed and led her to act (Genesis 3:6). Her heart was hardened by the deceitfulness of sin and her belief in God became disbelief.
The danger of sin lies in its power to deceive (Matthew 19:23-24; 6:24; 13:22; 1 Timothy 6:9-10). But sin has nothing to offer to those who are well fortified against its deceptive values. The appeal of any temptation is measured directly by our desires relative to it and our desires relative to it are determined largely by our values. But theoretical values we have set may not protect us. The sincere Christian’s defense is the shield of faith which will quench the fiery darts of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16). Paul describes man’s lack of love of the truth that leaves him open to deception (2 Thessalonians 2:10). It is not enough to just receive the truth or accept a portion of the truth, one must have the love of the truth. Everyone who loves the truth will study for himself; not blindly accept what man says. Paul says deception was the root of the problem with the Galatians (Galatians 3:1).
People are not ignorant of God’s word due to a lack of intelligence, or a lack of education. Neither can it be explained by the failure to study, though this may play an important part. The real source of ignorance is deception. Through deception Eve was led to misunderstand. It was deception that Paul feared among the Corinthians. Deception was pointed out to the Ephesians as the cause of their former corruption. The Galatians were warned of the deception that was at work among them.
James has shown us that man is led into sin by his own deceitful lust. The power of sin is its power to deceive. Saul of Tarsus followed his ignorance because he was deceived.
So why do people that are equally intelligent, educated, sincere, respected, and spiritual teach ideas that are diametrically opposite? Ignorance resulting in our being deceived are the primary causes of not understanding the Bible alike.
The next article will look at how so many people have been deceived.