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Beware the Counterfeiter

by Gil Rugh

Satan knew the Messiah would come and provide salvation through His death long before He came to earth. Satan’s game plan was and has always been to stop that from happening. Matthew wrote:

“From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to you.’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s’ ” (Matt. 16:21-23).

Satan tried to use one of Christ’s own disciples to keep Him from sacrificing Himself, but Christ saw through the ploy. Despite Satan’s schemes, the work of salvation was completed. But even now, Satan tries to minimize Christ’s finished work by keeping people from looking to the cross, saying it is not necessary or sufficient or that human efforts must be included to secure salvation.

These lies of Satan are couched in religious terms, and many people fall for them without investigating the source. One thing we can count on: Satan will be devious. His subtle lies will be very close to the truth. A counterfeiter does not set out to make a lousy $20 bill. He makes it look so close to the real thing that many times only an expert can distinguish between the true and counterfeit bills.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote that Satan will appear as an angel of light, attempting to deceive the unsuspecting (see 2 Cor. 11:3-15). Scripture warns us many times to not be deceived by false teachers.

Learn the truth of God’s Word. It is the only measuring stick we have to discern what is real and what is counterfeit. The Bible clearly teaches salvation by grace through faith alone. After believing in Christ, good works will be evidence of the new life believers have in Christ (see Eph. 2:10). This is a very important distinction: Believers produce good works because they are saved, not to obtain salvation.

If you are not sure of your own salvation, rely on what Jesus Christ has accomplished for you on the cross. If you have trusted Him, you need to be prepared to defend the truth of God’s Word against the source of lies—Satan.

“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15).