“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”
-2 John 1:7
I recently attended a homeschool expo that comes to our area every year, and one of the most intriguing classes I attended throughout the course of our trip was given by a former police officer and Army veteran. Though the class was aimed primarily at illustrating how to “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11), he did find time in his hour to share with us how difficult it was, even as a police officer, to distinguish between counterfeit money and the real thing. He said that one time he finally decided just to ask the people at the Treasury Department how they can tell the difference when both look so similar, and was amazed by their simple response: “We just study the original.” The truth is, even though they often look completely authentic, when you’ve spent hours and hours studying the real thing you’re not going to be fooled by a counterfeit very easily.
The same is true in our walk with God. As John reminded us in his second epistle, “many deceivers are entered into the world” and it’s absolutely necessary that we learn how to “discern between the righteous and the wicked” (Malachi 3:18). In the same way that a piece of currency is paralleled with the original to test its authenticity, so we must compare whatever we hear with the doctrine of Christ and see if it lines up to the Holy Scriptures (2 John 1:9). Of course we may not always have the opportunity to flip through the pages of the Bible looking for an answer, and that’s why we are reminded time and time again of the importance of hiding the Word of God in our hearts (Joshua 1:8; Deuteronomy 6:6). If it lines up with what God has said, you can take it to the bank every time.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”
-2 Timothy 2:15
In a world where there seem to be more counterfeits than true believers, it’s more important now than ever before that we know how to tell which is which. The Word of God gives us those answers, and all we have to do is bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:5) Of course, I’ve always been told that another way to identify a counterfeit bill is by holding it up to the light, but I’ll save that for another post.