And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. [2 Corinthians 11:14]
Paul here is defending himself, and his colleagues, against the attacks of those who claim to be “super apostles” but really are leading people astray. Basically he says they are nothing more than wolves in sheep clothing. And this makes sense because even Satan does this so why wouldn’t Satan’s servants do the same.
Satan was active and working hard to stop the church then and he continues to do the same today. And in a lot of ways, Satan is more powerful and crafty today largely due to technology and the speed of how information can be sent around the world. Someone’s message can reach thousands and millions of people very quickly. And with the age of social media; ideas can be spread and go viral very quickly.
It is, therefore, so easy for a worker of evil to disguise oneself as an angel of light. Just consider the prosperity gospel preachers out there; preaching a gospel of peace and health and success in this life and nothing more. They stand in front of millions of people and wave their Bibles around (“dressed” as an angel of light) all the while leading people down the path of destruction. Satan has got to be licking his chops today.
And because there are so many wolves running around in sheep’s clothing; as sheep we need to be on the look out. We need to be testing the spirits as 1 John teaches us. We need to be cunning and discerning; not taking everything you read and hear to heart just because of who says it (and that means testing everything I write).
So how do we test the spirits? There is no one fool proof method but below are three questions to get you started:
(1) Does the messenger accuse you of being a sinner?
YES ~ Great, but this still could be Satan. In either case respond by saying, “I know but I have Jesus“.
NO ~ You have a wolf. The truth of who God is starts with the admission that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.
(2) Does the messenger preach Christ crucified and risen FOR YOU for the forgiveness of your sins?
YES ~ Praise be to God!!!
NO ~ You have a wolf. A servant/messenger of Christ is going to preach this for this is THE Good News, and therefore, this Good News can not be said enough.
(3) Does the messenger promise peace and security in this life?
YES ~ You have a wolf. No where in the Bible does Jesus promise an easy life for his followers. Actually, he says you will have a cross. Be skeptical of messages that promise the easy life now through X-number of easy steps.
NO ~ Then you have a follower of Jesus who is actually following Jesus.
Granted, this is not a full proof testing system here, but it is a start. Basically, know your Bible, pray without ceasing and rely on the Holy Spirit. There will be wolves that will try to circumvent these questions, so beware. The wolves are out there, prowling around waiting for someone to devour. Don’t be their next meal.
Oh holy God, grant us a discerning mind to test the spirits and to be able to see the wolves in sheep clothing. May we be diligent in our study of scripture and may we seek your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
The Pastor -|—