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The Mark of the End Times? Deception
In Matthew 24, Jesus revealed to His disciples the signs to look for when the end of the age appears. And the number one sign is deception. He actually began this teaching this way: “Take heed that no one deceives you” (Matt. 24:4). And how will they, and you and me, be deceived? Jesus said Satan would unleash all he has in his bag of tricks.
First, “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matt. 24:5).
Next, we have false prophets who claim to speak for God. “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matt. 24:11).
This is followed by more false prophets pointing now to false christs who will perform counterfeit signs and wonders that only the real Christ should be able to do. In fact, the deception is so great, that all but the elect will be deceived. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand” (Matthew 24:24).
Scripture warns us it is going to get bad. Real bad. And real fast.
But there is a deception going on right now in the church that is just as bad as what is to come, maybe worse. And this deception strikes at the core of our eternal salvation. It is literally a matter of heaven and hell.
Have You Experienced Regeneration?
It is the deception regarding your salvation. Are you really saved? And if so, how do you know? Is it based on a prayer you prayed or an emotion you experienced, or is it something else? How do you know you are really saved?
When we are asked that question, we often rely on external evidence. But for many in the church today, the external evidence of true salvation is sadly missing. Why? Because of a lack of regeneration.
Let me explain.
When salvation truly takes place, everything changes. God doesn’t make us better or allow us to keep parts of ourselves He now sanctifies. No, the Scriptures teach everything is now new (born again) and the old has passed away, been buried, done away with. Hence, the external evidence should be a radically changed life.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; (defined as) old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new – 2 Corinthians 5:17.
But the key to understanding the difference between regeneration (being born again) and faith and conversion (saying the sinner’s prayer), is best explained by trying to understand what this verse really means.
Therefore, if (since, because) anyone (personal) is (what) in Christ (salvation), he is (present tense) a new (kainós – qualitatively new, original and of a kind not seen before) creation (ktísis – an object brought into creation or existence by God); (defined as) old things have passed away (to pass out of use or go out of existence); behold, all things (pas – each, every, the whole, in entirety without exception) have become (gínomai – to begin to be, to come into existence after not existing) new (kainós) – 2 Corinthians 5:17.
This is a picture of true salvation. It is a description of regeneration. Regeneration is a secret act of God in which He imparts new spiritual life to us. How regeneration happens is a mystery to us. But the fact that it does is the bedrock of the assurance of our salvation. There are many Scriptures that speak of a spiritual interaction between our spirit and the Holy Spirit. So the question would be: Have you had this kind of interaction with the Spirit?
Which brings us to the internal evidence of salvation. Consider this truth:
The Spirit (emphatic) Himself (what) bears witness (summarturéō – to testify, to witness, to confirm, to provide supporting evidence) with our spirit (human spirit) that we are children of God – Romans 8:16.
Ouch. How does that happen? And what resulted from His confirmation? How has that experience, Spirit to spirit, changed your life from that point until today? And if His confirmation of your sonship hasn’t changed your life, Spirit to spirit, should it have? In what way? Can you see where deception could creep in?
I sure hope so, because it is a damning deception. Join us today as we look into the truth of regeneration as we: Examine yourselves as to whether (what) you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?— unless indeed you are disqualified – 2 Corinthians 13:5.
And nobody wants to find themselves disqualified (adókimos – fraudulent, unapproved, unworthy, spurious, worthless, corrupted).