Question 11: Why would God allow dedicated Christians to continue in error and deception to their hurt or spiritual detriment? Quoting: Salt
Answer: I Kings 13 reveals that even a dedicated and fearless prophet of God must suffer the consequences when he chooses deception over the clear revelation of God.
An unnamed man of God (v.1) was sent to Bethel "by the Word of the Lord" to prophesy against King Jeroboam and his idolatry (v.1-3). When the King tried to arrest the prophet, the King's hand withered (v.4,5). He begged the man of God to intercede to God to restore his hand. (v.6). The man of God showed mercy, prayed to God and Jeroboam's hand was restored. Then King Jeroboam offered him a reward (v.7) but the man of God refused (v3-10).
Why? He refused to stop for food because the clear revelation of God forbad him from receiving food or drink or retracing his steps (v.9). So far he had walked in complete obedience to the Word of God. He had passed the tests of:
1. Fear because he had boldly carried out his job of proclaiming God's Word to the King.
2. Compassion/Mercy. He had not allowed the King's threats to dry up his mercy. He willingly, lovingly prayed for Jeroboam's hand to be restored without revenge.
3. The test of faithfulness to God over human favour had been overcome, because he turned down the King's offer of hospitality and reward .
4. The test of deception, was the final test which he sadly failed.
Why? God had clearly told him not to receive hospitality, but he rejected the clear revelation of the Word of God for a new revelation, and it cost him his life.
There was an old prophet living nearby who heard about his faithful stand. The old prophet had lived in compromise at Bethel and invited the man of God home to dine with him (v.11-15).
The man of God refused saying that he was under strict orders from God not to eat, drink or retrace his steps (v.16.17). The old prophet replied in v.18
"I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him."
Why did he lie" We are not told.
a) Maybe he was envious at seeing a true prophet faithfully discharge his duties, when he had lived in compromise.
b) Maybe he resented the man of God and had a convicted conscience.
The old prophet claimed a new revelation from God. The man of God had to decide:
a) Would he accept at face value the new revelation, or
b) Would he continue to cling to God's previous revelation?
Sadly, the once fearless and faithful prophet succumbed to deception. And God allowed this to happen to a dedicated man of God. Why? Because in our pilgrimage on earth, there will always be the choice to follow the clear teaching of God's Word, or to replace it with the shallow promises, prophecies and deceptions of man.
The man of God retraced his steps back to the home of the old prophet and ate with him (v.19). Over the meal, the old prophet revealed that because the man of God had disobeyed the Word of God, he would die (v.20-22).
And that is exactly what happened (V.23-26) because a lion slew him in the way.
From this we see that if God allowed a dedicated prophet of God to choose between the clear teaching of the Lord and deception, surely the Lord will let us have this choice today. Many Christians suffer poor spiritual lives because they give up the Word of God, and embrace teachers who prophesy or give new revelations of their own spirit.
Question 12: But why doesn't God step in and chasten His children to woo them back to obedience? (Hebrews 12).
Answer: The Holy Spirit and the Word of God continually call the believer to faithfulness and obedience (Phil.2:12,13). Deception and impoverishment are the bitter fruits of turning away from the Word of God. Sometimes God will allow His children to remain deceived as a chastisement until they turn again in submission to the Word of God. Their salvation in Christ is secure through Christ's blood sacrifice. They may serve the Lord faithfully in other areas and even be used successfully by God, but they will miss god's best blessings on earth and they will lose rewards in heaven.
God will allow believers to choose whether to glorify Christ through submission and obeying scripture or to rebel. For dedicated servants of God who put aside the clear revelation of God and embrace new revelations, in this life they will be deceived and impoverished, and in the next life they will suffer loss of rewards at the judgment seat of Christ (II Corinthians 5-10).
Examples of charismatic deception are tongues, false healings, new revelations, words of knowledge spoken about other people, slaying in the "spirit", "Toronto" experience, etc. Consider briefly these two examples:
Slaying People in the Spirit is a Charismatic invention whereby hands are laid on a person's head and they lose consciousness, causing them to fall backwards onto the floor. THIS IS NOT IN THE BIBLE, so forget it. Laying hands on people is well known in the occult as a means of transferring demons. It is more likely demonically influenced and all the more reason why we should avoid this movement.
Surrender of Mind and Emotions to Group Pressure. On entering a Charismatic meeting, we meet many people dancing, throwing arms in the air, speaking in tongues, on an emotional high and appearing very happy. The average Christian realises that he is not always like this, nor is the church from which he has come (which is made to appear dead and lifeless in comparison). He and his church are made to feel inferior and below what God expects. He has always had thoughts that his Christian life hasn't always been as good as it ought to have been. He immediately concludes that these people have a one-shot-sure-fire-answer to spirituality when they ask him if he has been baptised in the Holy Spirit or spoken in tongues. If he is not careful, he will assume that these people are right, without studying the Bible or without praying the issue through. He may then agree to speak in tongues, which makes the Charismatics very happy. He feels much love, acceptance and unity as a result, all because of an experience that he has had. He then begins his Christian life by making his experience the authority on which he determines spiritual truth, and not the Bible. He then defends his decision logically by saying what wonderful love and unity these people have and "power" (false albeit). He asks, "how can they be wrong when they show such qualities?"