deception - Have You Ever Been Deceived?   

What the Bible says about salvation by faith alone. 
By former Catholic Mike Gendron

If I were to insult you, you'd feel the sting immediately. If I were to embarrass you, you'd be the first to know. But if I were to deceive you...you might never know it!

As painful as being insulted or embarrassed can be, at least you're aware of what's taking place. But deception can be deadly because you don't realize you are being betrayed, misled, seduced or ensnared. It's much more than a clever slight of hand.

Deceived people are not even aware they are being misled unless they are confronted with the truth. Tragically, many go to their graves deceived about their relationship with God.

    The Importance of Your Source for Truth  

What is your source for truth? Is it trustworthy? Will it protect you from the schemes and lies of the master deceiver, Satan?

The biblical prophet Jeremiah gave wise counsel for choosing who to trust. He said if you put your trust in man you will be cursed like a withered bush in a barren desert. However, if your ultimate trust is in God, Jeremiah said you will flourish like a tree planted by the water (Jeremiah 17:5-8).

Still many people today disregard Jeremiah's advice and in their search for truth put their trust in man--religious leaders--instead of God.

   Who Will You Trust?  

Catholics, for example, believe that the pope and the Roman Catholic Church teach exactly what Jesus and the Bible teach. But how do we know if the popes' teachings or the dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church are true?

The only way we can be 100% sure is to do what the church of Berea did in New Testament times. They examined the Scriptures to see if what the Apostle Paul taught them was true (Acts 17:11).

We must use the same scriptural standard for the teachings of all religious leaders. Disregarding the objective truth of God's Word in favor of the subjective teachings of men can be a tragic mistake.

  The Danger of Deception  

Would it surprise you to learn that many religious teachings go against the Bible? Shouldn't that concern you, since your eternal destiny may depend on such teachings?

Here is how Catholic doctrine misleads people about God's plan of salvation:

  All graces needed to attain eternal life can be merited (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2027).

  Catholics are reborn as sons of God and freed from sin through water baptism (1213).

  Purgatory is a cleansing fire that achieves the holiness necessary for heaven (1030-31).

  Jesus is offered daily as a sacrificial victim on Catholic altars (1367).

  Venial sins are not deserving of hell (1863).

  By performing acts of penance, Catholics can expiate their own sins (1459,1477).

The Bible says man is saved by believing God's truth (Ephesians 1:13-14). God can never deceive anyone
(Titus 1:1-2).
But man remains condemned if he continues in deception.

False religious systems hold people in bondage to deception by perverting God's truth and grace. Any religion that teaches its followers that salvation is obtained through human effort and merit is nullifying the grace of God. Yet grace is the only means by which God saves sinners! The Bible says "if by grace, it is no longer because of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace" (Romans 11:6).

  Misplaced Faith  

Some people blindly put their faith in religious leaders, assuming that their leaders would never seduce anyone with a false plan of salvation. Yet the Apostle Paul warned that "from you own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them" (Acts 20:30).

Other people simply choose not to respond or conform their lives to truth. Instead they turn away to listen to teachers who say what they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:2-4).

Then there are people who have a zeal for God, but not in line with the truth. Many people have been indoctrinated with false teaching and have difficulty believing the truth. They fail because they refuse to let go of unbiblical beliefs.

It was disobedience to God, a lack of faith in His purpose, plan, and word that separated Adam and Eve from Him. Instead they chose to put their faith in the deceiver, which brought spiritual and physical death to us all.

God uses the very instrument that separated us from Him--faith--to restore us back to Him. By repenting of our dead works and turning to God in faith, we receive spiritual and eternal life: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

  God's Truth Determines Destiny  

The Bible makes it clear that:

  We are either children of the devil (John 8:43-45) or children of God (John 1:12),

  We live as slaves to sin or as slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:16-18), and

  We will spend eternity under the wrath of God or in His loving presence.

"Whoever believes in Him [Jesus Christ] will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (John 3:18).

God has revealed that trusting in anything other than Christ and His Word is evidence of deception. Those who choose to follow the traditions, opinions, and philosophies of men will be condemned. Jesus said "Whoever rejects Me and does not accept My words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day" (John 12:48).

By contrast, how wonderful are the words, "to those who did accept Him He gave power to become children of God to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12).

Are you basing your life and eternal destiny on the eternal truths of God's Word or on the Catholic traditions added to God's truth? How will you respond to God's truth? Compare these essential teachings of the Bible to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church:

God and His Word teach...

Salvation is only through Christ
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12).

The Catholic church teaches... Salvation is through the Roman Catholic Church and its sacraments (846, 1129).

God and His Word teach...

You are saved by faith and not by works
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9).


The Catholic church teaches... You are saved by faith plus works (1815,1821,2010,2027).

God and His Word teach...

All who rely on observing the law--commandments--for salvation are under a curse 
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
(Galatians 3:10).


The Catholic church teaches... Obedience to the commandments is necessary for salvation (2068).

God and His Word teach...

Salvation occurs at the moment you repent and believe the gospel.

Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and
faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Acts 20:21). In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. (Ephesians 1:13).

The Catholic church teaches... Salvation is a process from baptism through purgatory (161, 162, 1254, 1255).

God and His Word teach...

Only Jesus purifies sin
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:3).
'...yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight. (Colossians 1:22).


The Catholic church teaches... Purgatory purifies sin (1030,1031).

God and His Word teach...

You can know that you have eternal life 
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. (John 10:27-30).
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God that ye may know
that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13).


The Catholic church teaches.. You sin if you presume to be saved without merit (2090-2092).

God and His Word teach...

The sacrifice of Jesus is finished 
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (John 19:30).


The Catholic church teaches... The sacrifice of Jesus continues in daily Mass (611, 1405).

As you can see, these teachings directly oppose each other. One is truth that will set you free. One is deception that will hold you in bondage.

Which teachings will you choose? Choose carefully. In this life you can be wrong about a lot of things and still survive. But when this life is over, if you were wrong about God's only provision for your sins, you will perish in the lake of fire for all eternity.

Mike Gendron

Bible quotes: The New American Bible for Catholics, (c) Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Catechism references: Catechism of the Catholic Church, (c) 1994 by the United States Catholic Conference--Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

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