“for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14–15).
The Apostle Paul was speaking to the people of the church in Corinth, warning them about ‘angels of light’ bringing error into the church. These men presented themselves as Gospel workers just like Paul. They must have been doing some good things; otherwise they could not have led the people astray.
This indicates people who appear to be genuine workers in the Christian community can, in reality, be dupes of Satan (although they are almost certainly not aware of this).
Deception is often like that.
It appears to be nice and reasonable on the surface, otherwise it would not be convincing (just ask Adam and Eve!).
How am I to know?
How do we tell the genuine workers from the agents of Satan? Clearly it is not by how ‘nice’ they are, or even what good works they are doing.
Angels of light by nature are beautiful beings (they are not called ‘angels of darkness’).
Lucifer indeed means ‘bearer of light’; Scripture says “he masquerades as an angel of light” and his servants “disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14, 15), so they look like they are faithful workers in the church.
Part of Satan’s work is to make people doubt the Word of God, he hates the truth.
Note Satan’s first appearance in the Bible he questions God’s word, saying to Eve, “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3).
In the Garden (Genesis 3:1–5), he not only questioned the honesty of God, but also His benevolence regarding Adam and Eve. He uses deception to undermine the faith of God’s people.
He questions the goodness of God.
So where am I going?
How many times have you heard people doubt the book of Genesis? Even some church leaders have accepted Genesis as being compatible with evolution and long ages. Yet these people are pleasant, nice, good and believe in Jesus as the Son of God but still say Genesis is some ‘other genre of literature’ which can be ‘interpreted’ however they like -usually to accede to secular evolutionary, long-age beliefs.
Most readers have been exposed to this, I certainly have, and because I was led to believe what these pleasant, nice, good people had to say, I believed the six days of Creation could have been 6,000 or 60,000 years. When church leaders say evolution is OK, this just reinforces the unbelief of the unbeliever and undermines the committed Christian.
Here is my point:
If we can’t believe in Genesis, then how can we believe in the rest of the Bible? If people cease to believe in a real, ‘hands on’ Creator, then there is no one in charge and they can do whatever they please with no eternal consequences. There is no moral law to break and no Judge, no judgement and no need for a Saviour.
Furthermore, because evolutionary dogma totally undermines the Bible’s history, then it undermines the whole message. As Jesus said to Nicodemus, if people won’t believe earthly things, how are they going to believe the heavenly (theological) things? (John 3:12). A Bible thought unbelievable in matters which can be tested will hardly be heeded in things not testable.
Many evolutionists will talk of incredible ‘design’ in living things but do not give God the glory He deserves as the Designer. Through Jesus all things were made, but attributing the making to a purely natural process robs Jesus of the worship which is His due.
Science was once about ‘revealing the thoughts of God’ to bring Him glory.
Now it is ‘denying any thought of God,’ no matter what the evidence.
Be a Berean, test everything
We need to be careful we do not allow ‘nice’ people to influence us not to believe God’s Word. Anyone who does this is doing Satan’s work, no matter how nice they might appear to be. 1 Peter 5:8 warns: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Yes, Satan can be like a roaring lion, but he can also be like a subtle serpent with his ‘angels of light.’ One day Satan will no longer be able to destroy, but for now we also need to be alert to the subtle ways he tries to undermine the Gospel.
Note: I have used points in this article raised by Dr Don Batten, Managing Director, CMI-Australia.
John Skinner served in Vietnam as an infantry soldier then the Tasmanian Police before taking up the position of CEO of the Australian Rough Riders Association (professional rodeo based in Warwick Qld). Before retirement to his small farm, he was a photo-journalist for 25 years. He is married with 3 children and 6 grandchildren.