Once we understand we are in a fight, we need to be suited up and ready for the devil’s schemes. What kind of schemes? Lies. The devil is a liar. Jesus said this about him in John 8:44 He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
The devil is a deceiver and counterfeiter. He tries to blind us to the truth of Christ and the Word of God. And he is the best at what he does. Satan doesn’t come at us with a bold face lie. That would be easily detected. He uses trickeration, falsehood, and things that are true-ish. A true-ish statement has some truth to it, but it is off the mark a few degrees.
Ask any pilot, sailor, or Boy Scout with a compass and they will tell you that being off by just one degree will not get you where you need to go. You will get lost. And that is exactly what Satan does to us. He does not have to get us to head south when we are supposed to head north. He just has to get us to head a degree or two off of north and he will have accomplished his purpose. When Satan wrestled with Jesus he used the Word of God in a true-ish manner (Matthew 4:6). A true-ish statement sounds good and can even cause people to have hope for themselves and others. But in the final analysis, it is a lie.
And our enemy has been playing this game since the beginning. He did it with Eve and he did it with the early church. Paul wrote the Galatians because they had believed something true-ish. Paul asked them, “Who has bewitched you?” (Gal. 3:1) and “Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (Gal 5:7).
And it continues today. Here is an example of a true-ish statement: God is love and he would never send anyone to hell. This statement causes all kinds of havoc among Christians today, and rightly so because the implications are immense. It has led many to believe there is no hell or that God does not judge sin. It is true, God is love. He desires that no one should perish which is why He gave His only Son so that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save it. (John 3:16-17). But we must not stop there lest we believe something that is true-ish and miss our mark. Jesus continues by saying that whoever doesn’t believe in the Son stands condemned already (John 3:18).
Condemnation is where a person stands without faith in Christ. Technically, God doesn’t send anyone to hell. By refusing to believe in Christ, they are there already. That is the result of sin. The statement is close but it is off a few degrees. It easily deceives. It is true-ish.
So how do we tell the difference between what is true and what is true-ish? The same way Treasury agents learn to distinguish between a real bill and a counterfeit. They do not study all the different counterfeit bills. No, they spend their time studying the real thing. By knowing the true bill intimately, they can spot a fake pretty easily. The same is true for us. The more we know the truth of the Bible intimately, the easier it will be to spot something true-ish. For no matter how close a counterfeit might be, it is still a counterfeit and a lie.
As disciples in the fight, we must spend time in the Scriptures. We must know what the truth of God’s Word says. Otherwise we will be deceived and off course. We will be like the Galatians, “bewitched and cut-off”. But by knowing the Scriptures and discerning what is true and what is true-ish we will be ready to implement God’s battle plan for victory! That’s what we discuss next.