Unbelief leads to deception

by Mike Ratliff

53 And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, 54 and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:53-58 ESV)

As we continue to look at the evidence of God sending out a strong delusion upon professing Christians who appear to be running headlong into apostasy in ever increasing numbers let us look at what it is in these people that has brought this about. Why have they fallen into darkness and we have not? I have always taught God’s Word as literal truth and there are many places in the Word that some professing Christians have a problem taking literally because, if we do, then it refutes their pet theology exactly to the point. That is the nature of God’s truth. I have had some very ugly discussions in Bible Study classes about doctrine in which certain people were insistent that a section of God’s Word cannot be taken literally even though the only refutation they have against doing so is human philosophy. This, my brethren, is unbelief in action. 

Unbelief in Matthew 13:58 at the top of this post is the Greek word ἀπιστίαν or apistian, which speaks of faithlessness or uncertainty, distrust, or unbelief. It is used in the New Testament to show a lack of acknowledgment of Christ in Matthew 13:58 and Mark 6:6, a want of confidence in His power in Matthew 17:20 and Mark 9:24 and a want of trust in the God of promise in Romans 4:20 and Hebrews 3:12 and 3:19. Unbelief leads to a turning from obedience to follow what the flesh wants or what one wants to believe instead of believing God and walking by faith. This causes a hardness of heart to set in and become progressively worse unless God grants repentance, breaks through the hardness of heart and the person turns to Him in belief. If this does not happen then the heart will grow continually harder no matter how religious the professing believer becomes. Accompanying this heart hardening is spiritual blindness.

Professing Christians in this state of heart hardening and growing spiritual blindness are not regenerate. If they were, they would be spiritually alive and God would not allow them to apostatize, however, as John tells us in his 1st epistle:

18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:18-19 ESV)

Those who fall into irrevocable apostasy prove they were never truly Christians by this act. True, regenerate believers prove their authenticity by remaining faithful. However, there are professing Christians all over the place who are apostatizing, going after all sorts of false religions, trying to incorporate other religions into Christianity, et cetera, thereby proving that they are not truly Christians. They got to this point by starting with in their unbelief and disobedience. Eventually, they became so spiritually blind and hardhearted that they became open to all sorts of deception and that is what we are seeing all around us now.

9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ESV)

Here we see that these people become so hardhearted and spiritually blind that they get to the point that they do not believe the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness. A literal translation of verse 12 from the Greek would read, “that might be judged all the not ones trusting in the truth but having thought well in the unright.” They pursue what is not of God and take pleasure in it. They proclaim it to be right and true because they have rejected what really is truth, God’s truth, as the truth. They are in unbelief, are now so hard hearted, and spiritually blind that they are ready for the final piece of the puzzle. God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false. That is why we see so many professing Christians all around us right now falling all over themselves to go hard after false doctrines and follow men rather than God’s Truth and the Lord Jesus Christ and His good doctrines.

These professing Christians are not genuine believers because they are not regenerate. Their fall into apostasy began with unbelief and progressed into hard-heartedness and spiritual-blindness to the point that they found pleasure in unrighteousness. God then sends them a strong delusion to seal the deal. They believe the lie. They assume they are the real Christians and those who remain faithful are only dumb fundamentalists or whatever. They believe they are so cool and “with it” and “culturally-relevant,” but they have been deceived and it all began with their unbelief.

The Southern Baptist Convention is an example of a body of churches that are going through what I described above. Much of the problem is not with the people in those churches, but, instead, with the leadership. It is not a simple issue to address but for reference I suggest you start by going to the following web page, reading that article then coming back here.

What did you learn? Does Norman Geisler have a Biblical understanding of Reformed Theology? No! Not only that, he calls himself a moderate Calvinist and those of us who actually believe in the Sovereignty of God in all things, especially our Salvation, as being some form of “Hyper-Calvinists.”  He totally rejects the doctrine of Limited Atonement not because he has a biblical understanding of it, but because he is convinced that God is good that that doctrine makes Him bad. Geisler’s “god” is not the God of the Bible. Also, notice that the article is slanted toward “New Calvinists” as if they are the enemy. I am not a “New Calvinist” either, but I also have a Biblical understanding of Reformation Theology. The form of salvation theology they have come up with at Connect316 called POINSETTIA is meant to refute the 5 points of Calvinism. Here are their “points”:

  • Pursuit Unconditional—God desires all to be saved and has made a way of salvation in Christ for any person.
  • Own Guilt—Fallen man inherits a sinful nature but is condemned only because of his own sin.
  • Inclusive Atonement—The substitutionary atonement of Christ is effective and available for every person.
  • Natural Responsibility—God’s grace takes all the initiative in saving souls. Man’s free response is not a work.
  • Spontaneous Regeneration—Any who repent and believe are regenerated at that point, not before or apart from it.
  • Election Available—In election, God saves people without predetermining their souls for heaven or hell.
  • Temperate Foreknowledge—God’s sovereign omniscience does not mean he causes human decisions about Jesus.
  • True Freedom—God gives to each person actual free will to accept or reject his call to salvation.
  • Indestructible Security—When one is saved, God promises to complete the process, sealing their eternal fate.
  • Almighty Gospel—As Christians share God’s love, the gospel is the means of bringing any person to Christ.

Finally Norman Geisler attempts to make the following points:

  • Today’s Calvinists do not believe the one point of Calvinism on which virtually every traditional Southern Baptist agrees—eternal security of the believer, commonly expressed as “once saved, always saved.” Geisler said.
  • “This is a surprise,” he said. “Five-point Calvinists do not believe in eternal security. At least they do not believe you can know that we are eternally secure.”
  • “Let me explain,” Geisler said. “Only those who persevere in the holy life to the end will be saved. You don’t know holy life right up until death, so one can’t be sure he is saved until he dies. You can’t have any assurance that you’re saved right now for a five-point Calvinist.”
  • “There is such a thing as false grace, and people might think they are saved, may have a feeling they are saved, but they’re not really saved,” he explained.
  • “Only moderate Calvinists, like most of us are, believe you can have security and also assurance, that you can be assured right now that you are eternally secure. That’s what we call the doctrine of eternal security. Calvinists call it Perseverance of the Saints.”

My brethren, I would be interested in your take on POINSETTIA, but can’t you read what Norman Geisler said in these statements here and see right through it all? These aren’t Calvinists. These are people trying to resurrect a dying churchianity system by getting its people fired up about evangelism in competition with the gains of genuine Reformed Baptists in their denomination over last several years. How can anyone read the Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints and not believe we believe our eternal security in Christ? Please leave your comments about this. This should be interesting.

Soli Deo Gloria!

7 thoughts on “Unbelief leads to deception

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It is so very obvious to me what Mr. Geisler believes. It truly is insightful and openly convincing to me here and I praise God for the discernment He alone gives us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise we would read this and we would skim right over it! I want to know how to rightly divide the Word of Truth! May God continue to be long-suffering with us as we learn and grow in the knowledge of Him. Thanks again Brother Mike-


  2. Thanks Mike, I heard James White review POINSETTIA on one of his DL’s. Yes, a growing hostility is out there in relation to the Doctrines of Grace as more are embracing it. Geisler, I understand from White is more of a philosopher than a theologian being trained in a Jesuit university and will not listen to those younger than himself. Those in the POINSETTIA camp will affirm God’s soverieignty in all areas of life except salvation. This is why in order to be consistent they must affirm Open Theism or a form of it.


  3. Mike,
    How are we to look at these well known people/doctrines?
    What I mean is centuries ago, they were declared heretics and removed from the church. Today they are ‘our Christian brothers’ , not false teachers, wolves, etc.


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