Deception and Illusion

By Shawn Tomlin

Deception can be a damaging thing. Let me rephrase that, deception is always a damaging thing. I’ll even go so far as to say death comes forth from deception. How can I jump to that conclusion? Scripture tells us that the day that Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil “they will surely die.” How did all that come about? Deception. The serpent deceived Eve, she ate, convinced Adam to eat of the tree as well, and we, along with all of creation, fell into the corruption of sin.

Instead of physically dying that day, Adam and Eve were clothed with skins of an animal and told to leave Eden. In a sense did come to them that very day, a spiritual death. The Most Holy God dwelt there and now being sinful, Adam and Eve could not be in His presence. Instead of killing them, God killed an animal in their place to cover their shame. Grace. More importantly, God promised in Genesis 3:15 “the seed of the woman” who would crush the serpent’s head. That seed is, of course, Jesus Christ. Grace.

Honestly, what makes us so much better than those wicked people? After all, before God called us, we were exactly like them.

In Adam, we all have inherited a sinful nature. Genesis 6:5 says, “The LORD saw the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of their heart was only evil continually.” News flash people, that hasn’t changed. We are totally depraved. We are unable to choose God. Nothing good comes from us. Even what we think is good, is so stained with sin that God sees our best works as “filthy garments.” So if we are all the same, totally depraved, evil, and filthy, what hope do we have? As we live our lives as believers in Christ we, at times, see the evil that surrounds us. The ability to even perceive sin as sin is evidence of God working in our lives having made us new creations in the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. In some ways though, deception rears its ugly head and we see the wicked prospering, we see them committing evil acts, and we can’t understand why God would allow that to happen. It’s even worse when we are affected on a personal level. That, my friends, is the illusion. We see God allowing evil to be done, but the truth is God is holding back on punishment so that all He has chosen from the foundations can hear the the gospel and be raised to new life in Christ.

The fact of the matter is, God and deceit simply don’t mix, in fact, they can’t mix. Deception goes against God’s nature at being faithful to His promises. Throughout Scripture, God makes promises through covenant, and even when Israel didn’t hold up their end of the covenant, God was always there, keeping his promises. That’s how it has always been. Take for instance Genesis 16:17, where God Himself passes through the halved animals, bringing the curse of breaking the covenant onto Himself, not Abraham. This seems counterintuitive, but later on Christ will have our curse put onto Himself and bear our burden of sin for us. God does not, will not, can not deceive us.

Honestly, what makes us so much better than those wicked people? After all, before God called us, we were exactly like them. Sure, we are different now, but that’s not because we made ourselves better people, it was done objectively outside ourselves. God made us new. It’s all wrapped up in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Psalm 37 tells us two things on this subject. 1) “Do not fret because of evildoers… they will wither quickly like the grass” (verse 1). 2)”Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him…”(verse 7). On that Last Day, all sin will be done away with. Until then we are to wait patiently, placing all our hope and trust in the LORD. We have assurance of our salvation in Christ and Psalm 37:17 says “The LORD sustains the righteous.” Until that Last Day let us “wait patiently for the LORD” and tell all about the gospel that raised us from death to life, so that God may work through our words to raise other wicked sinners to new life.

“The LORD bless you, and keep you;

The LORD make His face shine on you,

And be gracious to you;

The LORD lift up His countenance on you,

And give you peace.”

Lee Jones