Discerning Truth in a World of Deception
By Mike Gendron
We are living in a world where truth is being twisted, manipulated and suppressed by hypocritical politicians, government agencies, religious leaders, corrupt scientists and the liberal media. Our debased culture is redefining truth and reality. No one knows who to trust or how to avoid being misled or deceived. The only way we can be victorious is to fight the good fight of faith against worldly ideologies. We can never let a lie of the devil go unabated and we must be discerning. This means we must examine everything and hold onto what is good (1 Thes. 5:21).
What Is Discernment?
Discernment distinguishes truth from error in order to prevent false teaching from infiltrating the church. The Hebrew word “bin” and the Greek word “diakrino” are used hundreds of times in Scripture to make distinctions, to separate things at their points of difference. It calls for black and white thinking and a refusal to color issues gray. Those who apply discernment consistently in every area of life are sure to walk in the wisdom of our Lord (Prov. 2:1-6).
Why Is Discernment Necessary?
Satan is the god of this world and the father of lies (John 8:44). We need to be aware of his schemes to deceive, corrupt, falsify, blind, destroy, devour and kill. We need to discern good from evil and expose those who call evil good and good evil. The apostle John exhorted Christians to make judgments concerning doctrinal and spiritual issues: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). All Christians are called to judge righteously by using the Word of God as the plumb line for discerning truth from error. And judge we must because the Father of Lies deals in half-truths, and his fatal lies are often coated with a thin veneer of truth to deceive the unsuspecting.
Why Do We Need Discernment?
Christians need discernment to know and prove the will of God so that we will not be conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2). We also need to test the veracity of every teaching of man (Acts 17:11). Without discernment we could not identify the counterfeits from the genuine. Paul warned us that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore, it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” (2 Cor. 11:13-15). We also need discernment to avoid being “tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine by the trickery of people, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14).
Why Do We Need to Discern the True Gospel?
We live in a very deceptive age! An age that does not deny the Gospel but one that distorts and dilutes the gospel! This is the strategy of Satan. His legions of liars use religious language to hide the deadly poison in his false and fatal gospels. Over a billion professing Christians have been woefully deceived by his gospel of works and religious rituals. That is why Paul exhorts us to “examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). Have we repented and believed the true Gospel?
God’s eternal Son left the glories of heaven to be conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin to take on human flesh. He lived in perfect obedience to God’s Law and then was crucified as the perfect sacrifice to satisfy divine justice for sinners. He bore man’s sins, suffered God’s wrath, died in man’s place, was buried, and was raised on the third day to show divine justice was satisfied. This is the Gospel that has divine power to save those who believe (Rom. 1:16). It is the Gospel that promises eternal life, without any fear of condemnation, because of the perpetual intercession and protection of the Good Shepherd (Heb. 7:25; John 10:28; Rom. 8:1).
Discerning the Times
Clearly, we are in the last days when many “will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). So many Christians are following deceitful personalities rather than the Word of God. As truth bearers, we must “reprove, rebuke, and exhort” those who are being deceived by using God’s inspired Word as our supreme authority (2 Tim. 4:2). We may be labeled as intolerant, divisive or unloving, but there is much at stake if we are not passionate for the truth – the glory and honor of our Savior, the sanctity of His Church and the purity of His Gospel.
Our world will continue its opposition to God because of the forces of wickedness in heavenly places. We must remember that nations and cultures will come and go, but the souls of men will last throughout eternity. That is why the battle for eternal souls is the one war that really matters. It is a battle between the truth of God’s Word and the damning lies of Satan. Let us gird our loins with truth as we put on the full armor of God and report for duty!