Faith & Insight: Beware of spiritual sleight of hand
July 21, 2017
Ever since I was young, I've always enjoyed a good magic trick. My dad used to convince my siblings and me he could make a penny disappear. He would take it, cup it with his hands, and have us reach into his hands to feel it was still there. What I didn't realize at the time was my mom was in on it, and she always went last, removing the penny from his hands. When he would reveal it was no longer in his hands, we would marvel and beg him to explain his trick to us, which he refused until we were much older. We believed he was really performing magic because we saw it with our own eyes.
This is a trap into which even adults fall. They believe their senses are the test of truth. This unfortunately opens people up for deception because one only needs to be cleverer at "sleight of hand" than our senses can detect in order to trick us. When it comes to religion, spiritual "sleight of hand" happens every day across the world. The Bible says there's coming a day when this deception will be magnified, tricking the whole world into false religion.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 speaks of this future time, saying, "The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."
There's coming a day when Satan will raise up a man, the "lawless one," who will deceive the world with all "power and false signs and wonders," or spiritual magic tricks.
Fortunately, God has given us the Bible so we can avoid deception. Not only will we be able to prevent deception now, but those who believe what the Bible teaches will be rescued from the future deception, when Satan deceives the whole world. The way to be saved from deception is by placing our trust in Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. Jesus is God, and he chose to become human so he could accomplish what humanity couldn't: saving people from the penalty of sin. Only God could do the work, and he offers eternal life with him for everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection.
So, how does placing your trust in Jesus Christ save you from deception? It saves you now from the deception of false religion, and it will save you in the future when Christ returns to collect his believers and take them away from that terrible time of deception. While kids and even adults can be fooled by the magic tricks of a good illusionist, don't let yourself be fooled by the spiritual tricks in the world. Seeing isn't always believing. Jesus Christ paid for your sin and will save you from deception. Will you trust in him or be tricked by spiritual "sleight of hand?"
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Scripture quotation is from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version.
Brennan Wilson is pastor of Silver Hills Community Church.