Delusion is trickery. It could also be called deception. Delusion is a Bible word, and there are three references to it in the New Testament, though some versions will translate with “deceive.” In the Greek, in which the New Testament was written, it is an interesting study (paralogízomai). It encompasses all this – “deceive, beguile, reason falsely, mislead; to reason contrary to truth, in a misleading (erroneous) way; operates by distorted reasoning – using what seems “plausible” but later lets the person down (disappoints).” We will look at the three biblical references later.
In this world, delusion is on every hand, from people’s personal beliefs and attitudes, and commercial deception, through to governmental delusion; national, personal and deliberate. As I said, it is tied in with deception.
Two of the greatest delusions in the world are both destructive of Christianity. One is Easter and the other, Christmas. The Easter Bunny controls Easter, and Santa Claus controls Christmas. The Lord Jesus Christ has been sidelined in both remembrances. It is almost fearful to ask kids today what Christmas is all about. You get “Santa, presents, shopping, eating, reindeer, snow . . .” A pagan society has pagan values. The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are the king and queen of delusions. In some of the western countries, Jesus is known only as a swear word.
How many of you have bought a packet or tin of something such as a packet of breakfast cereal, and when you open it, you find that the generous-looking packet is really only about three-quarters full? You have been deceived. Your eyes deluded you. This is done deliberately, of course, in the commercial world. It might be called “slick marketing,” but it is outright deception. It is meant to delude a person. I have bought what looked like good garden implements and tools, and very soon after using them, they break, snap or fall apart. Most of it is junk from China. China deludes the trading world absolutely.
The Queensland Government (for I live in that State of Australia) runs a couple of different ads on TV and YouTube and elsewhere, pretending they are kind to you by giving you change or cash for cans and bottles in the name of littering. 10 cents for every bottle or can you take to a recycling station. Isn’t that generous! The ad is designed to make you think you are getting something for nothing; but, in fact, every can and bottle has the 10-cent charge built into it at the time you purchase it. Most cans and bottles (especially water) net the Government millions of dollars a week. It is a gross deception, made all the worse because you are not told about the charge built in to the price; and the advertisement, of course, will not mention it.
There are hundreds of examples one can give, from the scam telephone calls telling you there is something wrong with your internet or computer, to being short-changed in purchases, and elderly people falling for a scam and losing a lot of their savings. I won’t pursue them. I want to look at the matter of personal delusion.
People are deluded into believing there is no God, or God is all kind and everyone ends up in heaven, or deluded to believe the universe formed from an explosion in something the size of a grain of sand, and humans eventually evolved from an algal slime in a pond, even after the destructive heat and pressure of a big bang explosion would have destroyed any organic matter (and there was none to start with). Many of those people really believe that because they are deluded. They have the wool pulled over their eyes by education, textbooks, movies and by ones like David Attenborough.
There are politicians who passionately believe in control of the masses, and the philosophy of Marx and Lenin. Some are in our Australian parliament; two of them are State Premiers. Some are in the United States Congress and Senate. You may disagree if you like, but I think this climate change and warming propaganda is aimed at gaining control over people with rules and regulations. I don’t accept it anyway and believe it to be a delusion. I read the evidence against it not generally presented in the media.
Satan deluded Eve. Women deceive men. Men deceive women. People deceive each other and generally have no conscience about it. That is the way of the fallen nature all humans have. We live in a world enclosed by a great bubble of delusion. I now want to move to the three examples of this “delusion” word found in the New Testament.
Colossians 2:4 “I say this in order that no one may delude you with persuasive argument.”
Paul had been explaining to the Colossians that wealth comes from the full assurance of understanding (this is spiritual wealth, not money), and that all of it is found in Christ Himself. It is in the Lord that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are both found and hidden. Paul was concerned that these new Christians might be persuaded away from the truth by the delusion of argument, and the ones he had in mind were the Gnostics. Deluding influences will haunt Christians. The world is just full of false prophets, false teachers and false philosophies, and they can be very eloquent and persuasive. How do we overcome all that?
I repeat Paul – “the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself.” (Col 2:2). How do you combat delusion and deception? By knowing Jesus Christ and growing into maturity in Him. Delusion and deception are the fruit of the LIE tree. Satan was a liar from the beginning. All delusion comes from the devil.
The next incidence of this in the New Testament is found here – 2 Thess 2:11-12 “For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”
This passage must be placed in context. It speaks of the time when the Antichrist/World Leader will be here. Paul speaks of “the deception of wickedness for those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth,” and they will be the days of deep delusion. When people refuse and reject the truth, God allows a deluding influence to overtake them. In the Tribulation, the populace wants to believe the Antichrist, not God, so God allows a deluding influence to consume them. The Church won’t be here then; it will be in heaven. However, a similar principle applies to these days. If a man or woman does not belong to Christ to follow the Bible, then some sort of delusion is before them all and has control over them. Unbelief is a delusion when traced to its origins. As the Church age draws to an end, we expect to see greater and greater delusion in the world.
James 1:22 “Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”
The final reference is quite serious. Do you know that even Christians can be deceived and/or deluded?
Too many Christians follow practices that are not right, and hold to doctrines that are delusions about the word of God. It is true, and I can name dozens, but I won’t here. How can that happen? The reason is right in our verse above. It would be because of NOT being “doers of the word.” Doers of the word search the scriptures; they seek God’s guidance in understanding the scriptures; they are students of the word; they are like the Bereans who examined carefully everything teachers and preachers tell/told them, and they examined it according to the scriptures. In other words, the Bible has primary place, and is their only source of food and teaching that is pure and correct. All of us must be careful not to adhere to some preacher where it can (maybe) have an adverse effect on us. By all means listen, but be doers and examiners.
May the Lord guide us in our faith that it be biblical, practical and wholesome. Amen.
We all know the Christian faith is under attack. The seriousness of this attack is beginning to be understood by some Christians. It is increasing, and so many of the major organizations of the world such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and many media giants – New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, The Guardian, Australian ABC, Britain BBC, just to name some, are becoming more robust in attacking Christians, and promoting what is very anti-Christian.
As part of this message on Delusion, I decided to include a story as an illustration, so I looked up Google with the search “Christian stories of/about delusion.” And guess what? I got none. In fact, let me give you the top 15 results which are underneath. Every single one of them is anti-Christian, and strongly so. Christians are considered to be deluded by their religious beliefs, and suffering from schizophrenia. (This is what Google is doing now – if it is a Christian search, they give the opposite side or liberal responses, not really what you are searching for.)
Religious and Spiritual Delusions in Schizophrenia – Living …
Delusional Disorder: Treatments, Causes, Types & Diagnosis
Religious delusions common among schizophrenics | Mail Tribune
Schizophrenia with Somatic Delusions: A Case Report – Longdom …
Why religious belief isn’t a delusion – in psychological terms (But then goes on to explain how a belief in God is so unscientific.)
Religious Delusions and Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective …
How to care for patients who have delusions with religious …
Religious delusions common among schizophrenics
Psychosis and religion | Mind, the mental health charity – help …
The Jesus Delusion (Characterizes belief in God as delusional)
After Delusion: Purpose! “Understanding the story of my …
Religious delusion – Wikipedia
Religious delusions – Royal College of Psychiatrists
Why are religious delusions and hallucinations so prominent …
How Do You Distinguish between Religious Fervour and …
Academia attributes delusion to Christians; but, in fact, it is just the opposite. We should not be surprised by this. Look what they said about the Lord – Matthew 11:19 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” Wisdom is vindicated by deeds. The very people who condemn Christians as suffering from delusion are themselves the victims of delusion.
Satan is so active, and delusion seems to be his chief tool. It is so subtle. I am prepared to say that all non-Christians are products of some sort of delusion, and that keeps them from the kingdom of God. Google is tarred with the same brush. It now seems to be company policy to give you the opposite in results when you want something Christian. They will give you the opposite of it.
All of us live in a world that is grossly flawed and governed by dishonesty, corruption and deception. Right at the start, Satan deluded Eve about God’s restriction in the garden, and Eve was caught in the net of delusion. Whether it be in advertising, or politics, or education, strong delusion is everywhere; and it grows worse as we are at the end of the age. Evil men (people) grow from bad to worse, Paul warns us. Therefore, their deception grows more subtle and grows worse with each passing day.
It might be one thing to delude adults, but it is reprehensible to delude the impressionable minds of children; and that is what is happening right now in schools and gained also from television, books and social-media rubbish. Children are deluded about their origins, their gender, their sexuality, their world, as in the hoax of climate change and destruction to the Great Barrier Reef, their destiny, and every one of the godless left-wing agendas.
I don’t want to upset anyone but I have seen the following matter firsthand for 7 years. In one of the major Christian religions, the children pass from baptism (sprinkling) at birth to confirmation at age 12 or 13. The baptism – which is not the baptism of the New Testament (which follows conversion as detailed throughout the book of Acts) – is performed on infants with an attached doctrine that is not scriptural. It claims that these infants become members of God’s kingdom through baptism (sprinkling) and continue so until confirmation when, supposedly, the person confirms what happened to him or her at baptism.
I saw hundreds of these 12 and 13-year-olds going through the rite of confirmation with a twisted theology about something magical happening to them involving the Holy Spirit. These people are deluded into thinking they are somehow infused into some nebulous connection with God; but, sadly, they have not been converted; that involves conviction, repentance and surrender to Christ. The conclusion is that these people are deluded into thinking they belong to God. Maybe some of them do; we certainly trust that is so, but we know statistically that the large majority walk away from “religion” because it is meaningless to them; and once that happens, they hardly ever return. The satanic delusion is destroying a countless number of souls.
As I write this, there is a move by President Trump to change the functioning of social media – Facebook and especially Twitter. This is taken from The Age, a left-wing newspaper itself:
“May 29th – Washington: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has slammed Twitter’s move to “fact check” US President Donald Trump, saying social media companies should not be the arbiter of truth.
In an interview with Fox News following the White House’s announcement that Trump will sign an executive order on social media companies or Thursday, Zuckerberg said Facebook had a very different policy to Twitter. In recent years Twitter has tightened its policies amid criticism that its hands-off approach allowed fake accounts and misinformation to thrive.
Tech companies have been accused of anti-competitive practices and violating user privacy. Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon face antitrust probes by federal and state authorities and a US congressional panel.” (end quote)
Zuckerberg might take the higher ground, but Facebook’s agenda is just as distorted as Twitter. They both now employ “truth checkers,” “fact checkers” who are deleting posts. Many of these checkers are radical socialists and very anti-Christian. I have a post from a friend’s Facebook account where people’s posts are censored so that any opposition to global warming is disabled, and it is beginning to happen to Christian posts also. That is all one net of delusion going worldwide. We must be aware of it. Delusion is so evil, and the truth so fragile, and delusion so strong, that it is pervading all areas of human existence.
WHAT CAN THE CHRISTIAN DO?
There is no answer to laziness to produce a protective cage. Christians must be vigilant all the time, because our adversary prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour the sleepers. Don’t be a sleeper. Be awake. Be alert. Be on guard.
These are the times when a Christian must take to himself/herself the armor described in Ephesians chapter 6. That talks of prayer, faith, salvation, truth, righteousness, peace – and the only offensive part of the armor, the sword, that is, the word of God. Those who know their Bibles will not be so readily caught out by delusion. In these darkening days we must all be filled with the word of God, applying that word, living it, and holding fast to its truth as we look forward to the Lord’s coming.
Be informed. That does not mean you have to start reading all sorts of journals and magazines. No. I would suggest that you can be informed by following good Christian speakers like Ravi Zacharias (absolutely highly recommended) and becoming a true student of the scriptures.
THE FOLLOWING EXCERPT IS WRITTEN BY BILLY GRAHAM ABOUT DELUSION.
“We are apparently living in the time described by Paul: “In the last days perilous times will come: For men shall be lovers of themselves … lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-2, 4).
This modern age holds more glittering allurements than any other age in history. Yet we find responsible people trying to gloss over these evils. This is not a time to gloss over, rationalize and explain away, but it is a time to oppose evil, lest our society becomes totally corrupt.
The Bible plainly teaches that one of the characteristics of the end of this age is that people will develop a capacity for delusion rather than the truth.
Today, sin is explained away by psychological terminology. God is portrayed as a sentimental creature who never lets His wrath fall on anyone. Thousands of Americans are deluded by philosophies that are destroying the strength of the nation and threatening our security.
Surely we are living in the day of which the Apostle Paul warned when he wrote: “And with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
What a mysterious and striking statement Paul makes, “For this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.” And yet what a candid picture of modern man: deceived by the mouthings of demagogues, yet indifferent to the voice of God. Driven by some diabolical, compulsive force, we rush toward the precipice of global destruction.
The Bible indicates that because we have rejected the truth, we are victims of a gigantic delusion. Paul had said earlier to the Romans that the people of his day had “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.” And “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions” (Romans 1:25-26). Three times in the first chapter of Romans, the Scripture says, “God gave them up” because of their sins.
Everywhere we look today, we see the propensity for delusion. We see it in our gullibility for false advertising. Madison Avenue has built a gigantic business on the principle that modern man has the capacity for deception.
We see this capacity for delusion in politics. Political platforms, like the platforms of trains, are for the sole purpose of getting a man aboard. When we witness the maneuvering, the use of power, the conniving and the policy of expediency in our political arena, it is no wonder someone has said, “We have the best politicians that money can buy.”
The Scripture teaches that the more sins we commit, the easier it becomes to sin. It lies in the nature of God’s moral government and in the moral constitution of man that sin indulged, weakens the strength of resistance, and so invites and prepares the way for more frequent and violent assaults of temptation.
The Bible plainly teaches that one of the characteristics of the end of this age is that people will develop a capacity for delusion rather than the truth.
Thus, yielding to sin receives part of its punishment in the slavery to sin. All men and women must believe something; if not the truth, then the lie of the devil. (end of quote)
“Whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things; in short, if anything increases the authority and power of the flesh over the Spirit, then that to you becomes sin, however good it is in itself.” – Ravi Zacharias, The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives.