Lesson 3 - Ability to Deceive


1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Proverbs 20:9 Who can say, "I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin"?

These two scriptures show how man can deceive himself by thinking he has no sin. John states two important things. The first is that if we say we have no sin, we are deceived or in denial. The second is more poignant and that is—truth is not in us. The truth sheds light on our heart and soul and reveals and exposes the darkness within them. The scriptures also point out that just knowing the word brings about nothing. See John 5:39; 1 Corinthians 8:1b-2; and James 1:22.

We might do good works and think that we have done a thorough job of cleansing ourselves, but scripture points out that even our works of righteousness are like filthy rags to God if done in our own understanding (Job 15:14-16; Isaiah 64:6). Only the blood of Jesus has the power to cleanse us of all our sins, and only it can keep our conscience free from condemnation (Hebrews 10:22).

Psalms 19:12-14 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

David writes here that we are unable to discern or understand with our mind (i.e., our emotions and soul) all the ways, results, or consequences of our mistakes. He openly requests of God to cleanse him from his secret faults. These are not secrets that he has consciously kept from God (compare with 1 Corinthians 2:11), but secrets that are kept deep within him, in his subconscious. Remember the words of the Lord spoken to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 17:9-10, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” David also asks God to keep him from sins that are presumptuous, that is, sins that are arrogant, proud, and boldly disrespectful. David also acknowledges that these sins have the ability to capture him and cause him to surrender and become a slave to them. He states that if God answers this request, he shall be blameless and pure. Once the heart is cleansed, the mouth responds with words of purity, and it is able to concentrate on the goodness of God. Because the Word creates within us the Godly humility and contrite heart that God requires, we are now enabled to rely on the strength of God and His redemption. We are now able to surrender our control and rely on His.

Mark 7:20-23 And He said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man."

Jesus states the root of our problems is not outside of us but within us. He clearly states that our problem is our heart. These thoughts and actions could be an addition to the list of the manifested works of the flesh that Paul lists in his letter to the Galatians. They clearly affect our thoughts, words, and actions. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal these areas of defect within our character, and after the revelation, only He can heal our broken and contrite spirit, putting us back together again.

Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

Paul defines for us the process of carnal bondage. This is the scriptural definition of addiction. Paul shows us that when we surrender our will to the object of our desire, we become entangled and enslaved to it. It also shows us the power of our choices. Please take note of the following verses: 1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:23; and 2 Corinthians 6:12.