WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 27, 2023
TOPIC: DO NOT BE DECEIVED
BY T. O. BANSO
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 New King James Version).
When you read the Bible, it’s important to pay attention to every word. There could be more meaning to the word than you think. Some phrases are repeated in different places in the Bible. It’s necessary to take note of them. Their repetition should attract our attention and consideration. As the Bible would say, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” This happens to be one of the repeated phrases I’m talking about. You will find it in Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, & 22. But my focus is not on this phrase but on another.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (New King James Version). Note the phrase “Do not be deceived.”
Paul was writing to Christians and warned them not to be deceived. In other words, they could fall victim to deception. If it were not possible Paul wouldn’t have said so. What did he warn them not to be deceived about? Sin! He warned them that they should not be deceived that entering the kingdom of God had nothing to do about how they lived their lives. He asked if they didn’t know that the unrighteous (the wrongdoer or unjust) will not inherit the kingdom of God – God’s future rule of the earth in righteousness. He went ahead to list some categories of sinners and said they would not inherit the kingdom of God.
Talking about the sins that would hinder one from inheriting the kingdom of heaven, Paul also said in Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (New King James Version).
Similarly, Ephesians 5:5 says no fornicator, unclean person, or covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Be not deceived that the unrighteous will inherit the kingdom of God. In other words, although we are saved by grace as the Bible says in Ephesians 2:5 & 8, you cannot call yourself a Christian and continue to live a sinful life. Indeed, a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. However, we are required to obey the Word of God to flee sin and live a holy life. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says to abstain from every form of evil.
As 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” Don’t forget that without holiness, no one shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). Be not deceived. No sexually immoral, idolater, adulterer, male prostitute, homosexual offender, thief, greedy, drunkard, slanderer, or swindler will inherit the kingdom of God. This is not preaching salvation by works. But the proof of genuine salvation is a changed or transformed life.
Paul says that we cannot continue in sin so that grace might abound. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2 New King James Version). You cannot be truly born again and be wallowing in sin or enjoying sin. 1 John 3:6 puts it this way: “So whoever lives in Christ does not continue to sin. If they continue to sin, they have never really understood Christ and have never known him” (Easy-to-Read Version). Note the phrase “continue to sin.” Verse 9 says, “Those who are God’s children do not continue to sin, because the new life God gave them stays in them” (Easy-to-Read Version). Again, note the phrase “continue to sin.”
Don’t be deceived. Nobody should live for Satan here on earth and hope to spend eternity with God. It’s not possible to dine with Satan on earth and want to dine with God in heaven. In Ephesians 5:6, Paul says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (New King James Version). Note the phrase “Let no one deceive you.” It means the same thing as “do not be deceived.”
The preceding verses tell us what the Ephesian Christians (and Christians today) should not be deceived about. They should let nobody deceive them to believe that those who engage in sinful practices would go to heaven. If it were not possible for the Ephesian Christians and Christians today to be deceived, Paul wouldn’t have given this warning.
See what he said in verses 3-5: “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (New King James Version). Immediately after this, he warned the Ephesian Christians not to be deceived by anyone.
The New Living Translation puts the immediate verse, verse 6, and the three verses after it thus: “Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true” (Ephesians 5:6-9).
The Apostle John also used the phrase “let no one deceive you.” 1 John 3:7-9 says, “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (New King James Version).
You can see so far that in all the instances where the phrase “do not be deceived” or a similar one, “let no one deceive you” is used, they were on the same subject of sin. Sinners will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Do not be deceived. Again, Paul used the phrase “do not be deceived” in 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits” (New King James Version). He wrote this to the church because there was the possibility that they could be deceived. He warned them not to be misled to believe that walking with sinners could not influence their behaviour negatively.
The New International Version puts 1 Corinthians 15:33 this way: “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” GOD’S WORD Translation says, “Don’t let anyone deceive you. Associating with bad people will ruin decent people.” In the Old Testament, the Bible says he who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed (Proverbs 13:20). Do not be deceived.
In Galatians 6:7, Paul further used the phrase “do not be deceived” thus: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (New King James Version). Paul was telling Christians not to be misled to think that people will not reap what they sow. The principle of sowing and reaping is expressed severally in the Bible, and it works both ways: negatively and positively.
Paul said in Galatians 6:8, “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (New King James Version). Each person should, therefore, be careful what he sows. He who sows righteousness will have a sure reward (Proverbs 11:18b). The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:18). Romans 8:13 says, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (New King James Version). Those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same (Job 4:8b).
Don’t be deceived. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse sins. There are consequences on earth and in eternity for how you live your life. Don’t expect to reap what you have not sown or expect to reap something different from what you have sown. God will render to each one according to his deeds (Romans 2:6). Each person will reap what he sows. Don’t be deceived.
Furthermore, in James 1:16, the Apostle James says, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (New King James Version). Verses 13-15 tell us what we should not be deceived about: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (New King James Version).
James is saying that the brethren should not be deceived or misled to believe that God is the author of sin or tempts anyone to sin. God cannot be tempted by evil and He does not tempt anyone. Each person is tempted by the evil things he wants or his desire, which leads him away and traps him. The desire grows inside him until it results in sin. Therefore, each person should deal with his desire and not claim that God is tempting him. Do not be deceived.
Jesus said not to be deceived about the signs of the times and the end of the age. He warned His disciples about deception by false Messiahs. He said in Luke 21:8, “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them” (New King James Version). In other words, believers can also be deceived by false Christs; the followers of the false Messiahs are also deceived.
Jesus’ warning is also recorded in Matthew 24:4-5: “And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (New King James Version). Mark 13:5-6 says a similar thing. Do not be deceived.
Paul also warned Christians not to let anyone deceive them. He said in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (New King James Version).
As Jesus, Paul, John, and James said, do not be deceived; let none deceive you.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall not be deceived that the unrighteous will inherit the kingdom of God or be deceived or fooled by those who try to excuse sins. Holy Spirit, help me to live a holy life and prepare for the return of Jesus Christ. Father, deliver those who have been deceived; let them know the truth and be made free.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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