Why would Satan chose to perform lying signs and wonders? Simple! Because God had chosen to confirm His word through the use of true signs and wonders (see Hebrews 2.1-4). Counterfeit miracles, if they could be convincingly pulled off, would be a great way to deceive some into accepting Satan’s word as God’s word! What a plan and what a dastardly ruse! However, there is a “kicker” in this plan; the power of God is so much greater than that possessed by Satan, those who would be deceived by such shenanigans would have to open the door to deception through their own actions and attitudes.

This is the scheme warned against in Paul’s second letter to the saints in Thessalonica. Read his words; shutter at the thought! “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 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 2.9-12; emphasis mine, jb).

Did you ever hear of a fact that is both marvelous and terrible at the same time, a two-edged sword if you will? One such fact is man’s free will, the ability to choose. The two-edged sword here is this: Man has the freedom to choose as he wills, but God will also judge him according to the choices he makes. That is what I mean by a marvelous and a terrible fact all rolled up into one. Here is another such fact and it lies at the root of self deception. Consider it carefully! Man is capable of believing anything he wills to believe! The following paragraph will serve to illustrate this point!

Eve willed to believe Satan in the garden, but she was wrong. Cain willed to believe that he could kill his brother and somehow escape the judgment of God, but he was wrong. Pharaoh willed to think that he could outsmart Moses and Aaron, God’s messengers, but he was wrong. Saul willed to believe that he could hide the truth from the eyes of Samuel, God’s inspired prophet and judge, but he was wrong. David willed to think that he could pull off the sins of adultery and murder without having to pay the consequences, but he was wrong. The list is endless! Virtually every page of the Bible contains the name of someone who opened the door to deception by the exercise of his or her free will in such a manner as to minimize the value of absolute truth and to subjugate it by the inferior pale of subjective thought! MARK IT DOWN! That is why God found it necessary to reveal spiritual truth in a manner that removed it from the subjective and put it squarely in the realm of the objective. Man commits a heinous and almost irreversible sin when he chooses to put spiritual truth in the realm of the subjective!

What does man have to do to move truth from the objective to the subjective? Read the following passages from the Old Testament. “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes—.” (Deuteronomy 12.8). “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17.6). “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21.25). “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12.15). “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.” (Proverbs 21.2).

Self deception is preceded by the decision to move truth out of the realm of the objective and into a realm where it is weighed in one’s own eyes. This opens the door to deception!

Questions:

1. What is objective truth? Does it exist? Can it be known?

2. Was it absolutely wrong for Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit? What if she thought it was OK? Was it still wrong? What did Eve have to do with objective truth in order to be deceived?

3. What is wrong with doing what is right in your own eyes? Is that sort of like letting conscience be your guide? Is there another way?

4. According to Proverbs 21.2, how many of man’s ways are right in his own eyes? What implications can you draw from this passage? Who will be the final judge of the thoughts of a man’s heart?