I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. – 1 John 2:26-29
In September of 1980 Newsweek Magazine published an exposé on Mormonism. It detailed a number of Mormon beliefs and practices that would not be discovered until one is deep within the Mormon belief system. One commentator wrote about this article on his (Mormon!) website:
In its September 1, 1980, issue, Newsweek magazine carried a story entitled “What Mormons Believe.” The article…summarized some fundamental doctrines of the [LDS] Church, noting in general that “their family values are mainstream America, but their theology is a radical conception of God -and Mrs. God.”
Some may wish to defend LDS teaching, or even deny their un-Christian heterodoxy altogether. But there is much deception in LDS theology, including covering over the fact that according to their teaching Jesus is said to be Satan’s spirit brother. They deny that he is eternally God, “begotten of the Father before all worlds, God from God, very God from Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father” (Nicene Creed).
So what of the Christian faith? What separates our faith from a massive religious deception? The fundamental teaching of the Christian faith for 20 Centuries has been summarized in the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. Wander from the truths expressed in these ecumenical creeds and you depart from the foundations of the Christian faith.
John writes to people warning them of those who would deceive them. The stakes were high in his case, for he faced exile and death for holding to the faith he professed. The stakes were high because people were seeking to turn believers away from Jesus. The stakes were high because deceit lay at the root of it all.
John speaks of the danger of self-deception in 1 John 1:8. Here he speaks of others’ deception by false teaching. At the root of it all is Satan, the Great Deceiver and Father of the Lie. To deny either our sin, or the deceitful work of Satan is a grave danger that leads to eternal doom.
God is not out to deceive anyone. Jesus is Truth Incarnate, and the source of righteousness, life, and salvation. There is no deceit in him.