Deceiving & Being Deceived
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
– 2 Timothy 3:13-15
Second Timothy 3:13-15 is not only a strong warning for today, but it also helps us look through the eyes of God to see both false teachers and what our response must be to them.
“Evil men and imposters” God doesn’t hold back in labeling those who rebel and lead others into sin (compare 2 Ti 3:2-5). We need to see them for what they are – and remember that “imposters” won’t admit or look like what they really are!
“Will grow worse and worse” We see the escalation of sin and should be surprised. This isn’t intended to discourage us, but warn us not to be caught unaware and to reassure us that we can still hold to what is true!
“Deceiving and being deceived” Some false teachers intentionally deceive others while others are actually deceived themselves. Some just want to tell others what is popular and will gain a following. But some are sincere, teaching error but believing it is truth. Our job is to make sure we are neither deceiving or deceived!
“But you must” Personal action is required – “you must…” No one can do what is necessary for you to avoid being deceived, but YOU!
“Continue in the things which you have learned” When we hear something new or popular, we are tempted to accept it and conform. But Paul urges, “Continue” – perseverance. Change if, from God’s word, you see you are wrong, but don’t change just to change.
“From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures” Knowing the Scriptures is the best defense against false teaching. You don’t have to know all error – just know what is true and you’ll recognize error!
“Which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” Faith that is rooted in Scripture is saving faith. False teaching produces false faith. This is why we are drawn to God’s word and Bible study – we want to be “wise for salvation.”
Deceivers have nothing to offer us. We have all we need within the inspired Scriptures. Settle for less and you’ll lose everything. Don’t be deceiving and being deceived!
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.