I would like to begin this by saying I am surprised at the lies and deceptions the world is falling for today. The truth is so plain and clear. and it seems the enemy makes man fall with such little effort. Like all the serpent had to say was, “You shall not surely die,” and just like that, Eve was sold. The serpent’s lie had no foundation or evidence, but it was exactly what Eve wanted to hear, and that was all that mattered. I would like to say that I marvel at the world being so easily deceived today, but what about me? Have I told myself lies in order to make sin appear right in my own eyes? I am ashamed to say, “Yes, I have.” What makes me think other people rationalize away sin until it is right in their own eyes? What makes me think others know the truth but willfully try to fool themselves? It’s because that is exactly what I have done, and I am a part of the web of humanity.
You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. Romans 2:1 NLT
I just watched a video on Youtube, trying to tell me why the Sabbath is no longer important. The arguments were so weak, and yet most of the world falls for these arguments because that is exactly what they want to hear. The problem is not deception as much as it is a lack of love for the truth. When we don’t have a love for truth, not much deception is needed to get us to fall. Not much deception was needed for Eve to fall. All the serpent had to say was, “You won’t die.” He did not give any evidence. Lies don’t need evidence in order to deceive. They just need to be what we want to hear. That makes them compelling enough. The serpent told Eve she would be like God, which totally ignored the fact she was already created in God’s image. Eve failed such a simple test with such simple lies.
That’s what makes sin sting so hard when the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. We knew better. We weren’t really deceived by the serpent as much as we were deceived by our own creative thinking, twisting things around in our mind until we deceived ourselves into thinking sin is right. After all, we are good Christians. We would never sin intentionally, right? That’s why it is so important to twist thing around in our mind so that we deceive ourselves into thinking wrong is right. Then we can sin ignorantly, right? Wrong! Paul just told us in Romans 2:1 we have no excuse. We can’t claim ignorance when we fool ourselves.
Well, Paul does concede that Eve was deceived, but Adam was not.
And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result. 1 Timothy 2:14 NLT
So we have Eve deceived without much effort, while Adam was not deceived at all. When I read this passage yesterday, at first I thought I was going to have a real sermon here about Adam claiming to be deceived when he was not really deceived. But when I compared this passage with Genesis 3, I found Adam never even claimed to be deceived.
The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12 NLT
Adam suggests he was tempted, but he was never deceived. Adam, not being deceived, had to rationalize and twist his thinking to make eating the fruit seem logical, even though it was contrary to God’s Word. Eve was deceived, but her thinking was not far behind Adam’s. God never says, “It’s really my fault, I should have warned you better.” He never says, “I should not have allowed the serpent to lie to you. It was too great a deception.” No, the test was simple, and God’s Word was plain and simple. It only became complicated when Adam and Eve wanted to disobey. They had to rationalize and twist their own thinking around to make it complicated and confusing so they could now sin “ignorantly.” After all, no one wants to sin intentionally. That’s why it’s so important that we fool ourselves first.
If Adam was not deceived, why did he allow himself to sin? Why did he fool himself into thinking disobedience was a good idea? Paul, who told Timothy that Adam was not deceived, also gives Timothy the reason why Adam allowed himself to sin.
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 NLT
Adam was not deceived by the serpent. He intentionally fooled himself, which when you intentionally fool yourself, you are not really fooled at all. We reason within ourselves until we hear exactly what we want to hear. Anti-Sabbath and Anti-Adventist Youtube videos are not deceiving or fooling anyone. People are deceiving and fooling themselves, because they want to be deceived. God’s Word is clear. The law is clear. It only gets complicated when we want to make it complicated so that sin appears “right.” We only fall for lies and deceptions after we reject the truth. “They follow their own desires and will look for teacher who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.” We are not deceived and then reject the truth. We reject the truth and then are deceived. What the world needs is a love for truth, and then everyone will stop deceiving themselves. What I need is a love for truth and then I will stop deceiving myself.
Here is what is so amazing about God’s grace. Adam was not deceived, and God still gave him grace. Adam sinned willfully and intentionally, and God still forgave him! Grace is no license for sin, yet God’s grace can forgive and transform the most vile and blatant sinner. God did not forgive Adam because he had a good excuse. He had no excuse, and God still forgave him. Those who listen to blatant lies on Youtube videos have no excuse. I have no excuse. Paul tells us in Romans 2:1 that we are all without excuse. Romans 3:23 tells us we all have sinned. Romans 3:24 tells us we all are justified freely by God’s grace.
My prayer for 2023 is that we all will fall in love with the truth. Only a love for truth will keep us from being deceived. Only a love for the truth will keep us from fooling ourselves into sin and rebellion against God and His law.
You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.