Overcoming Sin through Christ: Deceit

  Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Deceit

Are you a deceiver?  Do you deceive others?  Universally, people don’t like to be deceived. If they think that you may be deceiving them, they may respond, “You are deceiving me!” Or they may condemn you with the accusation, “You are a deceit!” Closely connected with lying, deceitfulness is surely widely condemned and yet almost universally practiced!

Our English term deceive means “to cause to believe what is not true; mislead. . . . to give a false impression. . . . Deceive involves the deliberate misrepresentation of the truth.”[1]  Deception may not even include words (although words may be involved), whereas lying (which we will discuss later) does include words.  The Greek dolos means “a bait, snare,” thus “craft, deceit, guile.”[2]  Richards says that dolos “picks up the metaphor from hunting and fishing.  Deceit is an attempt to trap or to trick and thus involves treachery.”[3]

The Lord Jesus says that “deceit” comes “from within, out of the heart of men” and it defiles a person (Mark 7:21-23).  Deceit is also one of those sins that characterize the pagans, those without God, and it is “worthy of death” (Romans 1:29, 32).  The Christian must earnestly strive to be “putting aside . . . all deceit” (1 Peter 2:1).  When Paul confronted Elymas the magician in Cyprus, he said to him, “You who are full of deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness. . .” (Acts 13:10).  This worker of Satan was filled with deceit and fraud. We must never fall into this sin.

In contrast to the many who live lives of deceit or deception, Jesus commended Nathanael by saying, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” (John 1:47). If only this could be said of each of us!  Paul defended his preaching by saying that his “exhortation does not come . . . by way of deceit” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). At a time when traveling teachers were found in the Greco-Roman world, it was important for Paul to maintain absolute honesty in his life and teaching. 

What about Jesus?  Peter said that our Lord was absolutely sinless in his dealings, for He “committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).  This implies that all lying is deceit but not all deceit involves verbal lying.  In the same book, we read, “The one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit” (3:10).  We can deceive with our mouth—but we can deceive with our actions as well. 

Consider yourself.  When your friends are discussing abortion, do you keep your mouth closed and give the impression that you agree with their ungodly policy of allowing the killing of unborn babies?  When someone is promoting a false religion, do you leave the false impression that you see nothing wrong with it, when you fail to state the truth?  By your inactivity or non-involvement, do you give the idea that your perspective in life is no different from your neighbors or your fellow-workers?  Could it be that all of this is deception—giving people a wrong impression about you and your beliefs?  Let’s be truthful in our words and actions!

 



[1] The American Heritage College Dictionary.

[2] W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary.  Mounce simply has the meaning of dolos as “deceit” (Expository Dictionary).

[3] Expository Dictionary.

 

 

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