Bread – Deception

March 9, 2015


Readings for Monday, March 9, 2015, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Jer. 7:1-15; Rom. 4:1-12; John 7:14-36; Psalms 77, 79, 80

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How do we know that we are not being deceived?

It cannot be simply that we go to the right places or attend the right church. In our reading today from Jeremiah, God through the prophet warns us of this: “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery … and then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say ‘We are delivered!’ – only to go on doing all these abominations?” Jer. 7:8-10

If we go to a house of worship and do not amend our sinful ways, there is a deception but it is us deceiving ourselves. We can hear the truth, but if the truth does not transform us then we have only pretended to hear the truth. The truth might have hit our ears, but it has not penetrated from there to the brain and from the brain to the heart.

It cannot be simply that we follow the rules, because there is a fundamental deception that merely following the rules will result in success before God. It is not by works that we are saved, but by faith in Jesus Christ. As pointed out by Paul in today’s lesson from Romans: “What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.’” Rom. 4:1-3 Following his faith, Abraham was obedient unto circumcision, but his faith preceded his obedience. What was counted to Abraham to make him right before God occurred prior to works and not after. But obedience and works did follow.

And it cannot be simply that we see miracles, the activity of the supernatural in our lives. Merely seeing miracles may very well deceive us into believing that Jesus is one among many, involve us in speculation and various spiritual understandings and levels of understanding. Although Jesus spoke with authority from God the Father, in today’s readings from John it is apparent that neither the teachings nor the miracles revealed to them who Jesus was. Jesus hits the nail on the head when He says “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:24

We can be deceived by appearances and by ourselves. Our thoughts can deceive us, our works can deceive us, our good looks can deceive us, our groups and friends and even churches can deceive us.

So how do we go beyond appearances to see the truth? How do we avoid being deceived?

The answer is in between the lines of every reading from Scripture today. From our reading in Jeremiah, God says “Amend your ways and your deeds…” Jer. 7:3 From our reading in Romans, “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” Rom. 4:13. From our reading in John, “My teaching is not mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on My own authority.” John 7:16-17

How we avoid deception. We first realize that we are sinners, requiring amendment of our ways. We second have the faith of Abraham in the God who delivers, in His Son Jesus Christ. We third desire to do God’s will and, in so wanting, listen to the words of Scripture, God’s voice on earth today teaching us how to live.

Do we want to avoid being deceived? Know who we are. Know whose we are. Know what He has to say about it.

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© 2015 GBF

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