Can Christians Be Deceived or Misled?

Well this post should get our grey cells whirling! I’m writing this post because of how often I run into the thinking, that if we are Christians, who have God’s Holy Spirit within us, that we cannot be deceived or misled. And just so there is no misunderstanding, when I say “deceived”, or “misled”, what I specifically mean is that we believe in, or have bought into something, that is contrary to the expressed will of God, as clarified and expressed in God’s Holy Word. 

Some Christians think that because they have God’s Holy Spirit residing within them, that they can press forward in whatever pursuit they feel drawn or led to, because ultimately, God’s Holy Spirit within them, will let them know if they are going astray. In other words, they themselves do not necessarily have to be too concerned about heading in a wrong direction, because Jesus specifically told us that we will not be left alone as orphans, and that He would ask our Father to send us the Helper, so that He would be with us forever and guide us into all truth. John 14:16-17 and John 16:13 refers.

Sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it, especially if you isolate these Scriptures from what the rest of the whole counsel of God says, about what we need to do to remain on that restricted way that Jesus also said we need to walk on. Matthew 7:14 refers.

Did you ever notice how many times Jesus warns us about not being deceived or misled? Did you ever notice how many times the Apostle Paul warns Christians in the letters he wrote to the various churches about not being deceived or misled? Would the words “a whole bunch of times” adequately cover it?
Did you ever notice who Jesus was talking to or who Paul was addressing? Would that be the disciples of Jesus and fellow believers with Paul?

So what is the answer to the question I have asked? Well I think it is pretty clear that we all can be deceived or misled, pretty much without exception. No one can argue that the Apostle Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8) and yet Scripture tells us that even Peter, who had received a vision about the inclusion of the Gentiles (Acts 10:9-43), succumbed to hypocrisy as recorded in Galatians 2:11-13.

Interesting how God’s Holy Spirit saw fit to include what transpired to Peter in Acts and Galatians so that we could learn from it, isn’t it? So if it happened to Peter, could it happen to any of us? I’m thinking it definitely could. And if we don’t think it can, then according to God’s Word, we have a problem.

Today, what with all the “other Gospels” and false doctrines that abound, today more than ever, there is a dire need to understand the end all guidance that God has given us in His Holy Word. I don’t presume to give the impression that my understanding of what God’s Word reveals about our heavenly Father’s will for us, is perfectly understood by myself. But as God leads me in different areas, I do take the time to do my due diligence, so that the decision I come to, can be in line with the best of my understanding, on what God says about that particular area, as per God’s Holy Word.

Sometimes the area of concern is a secondary issue that salvation does not depend up, and as such, I weight the different arguments for the different schools of thought on the subject and prayerfully come to a decision. Sometimes I change a former opinion I held, based on closer examination of all the particulars and dangers that I see therein. And most importantly, not every difference of opinion is necessarily deemed as justification for breaking fellowship, but make no mistake, some definitely are. For example, Bill Johnson of the New Apostolic Reformation movement, and many of the so called Apostles and Prophets that support and foster his teachings, are not my Christian brothers or sisters. If their teachings don’t qualify as “another Gospel”, frankly, I don’t know what does.

Over time, there is a pattern that develops, where the violation or transgression of our heavenly Father’s will (which is always identical to Jesus’ will and the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit) on a given subject becomes clearer, because over time, we learn to consider all of what the whole counsel of God says on a given subject and not just those Scriptures which tend to validate a predetermined opinion that someone else propagates. Yes it takes serious time and effort but yes it is absolutely necessary. And what happens if you do not take the responsibilities of serious study and praying for guidance in God’s Holy Word, in the area that you entering into, that we as Christians, are admonished to take seriously? 

Consider what Ephesians 4:11-16 NASB has to say about no longer being children:

“And He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of people, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, that is, Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.Emphasis is mine.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!


  1. Oh how I wish Christians–especially in the West–would take advantage of the abundant riches we have in the plethora of Bible versions, study helps, etc. As a whole we are complacent. We are the Laodicean church. And we better get ready soon, for, the way I see things, the time is nigh! It’s minutes to midnight–however long those “minutes” are I cannot say.

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    • I hear you Craig, there definitely is a witness of God’s Holy Spirit of urgency and time running out and as you say, as a whole we are complacent and ill prepared. Sobering to say the least. Blessings!

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  2. Bruce, I am with you 100% on this. The cry of my heart is “Lord, help me to not be deceived! Lord, help me to not be so arrogant as to think that I can’t be deceived. Help me to stay connected to You. Help me to test EVERYTHING I hear, see, read against Your Word.” I read many years ago in the Matt 2 note of the Life App Bible that “divine guidance comes only to prepared hearts.” May our hearts be prepared for His guidance, to stand firm in Him, to test what we hear and to follow through with how what He leads us to do. The other prayer I have is “Lord prepare me for xyz and xyz for me.” Spiritual deception and delusion are all around us. I praise God that He is constant and consistent and orderly in a world that thrives on chaos, manipulation and self-grandeur. Love and blessings to you and Peggy!!!

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    • Thanks Mandy, I’m definitely saying the same things to myself because I’ve seen first hand what lawlessness produces and I can tell you, personal rights and freedoms are not discussed. God’s grace, peace and blessing to you and Nathan too!

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  3. Reading your post brought to mind the words of Paul in his second letter to the church at Corinth: “Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith.” (2 Corinthians 13:4)

    Mandy’s comment sums this issue up better than I ever could. If we allow the ground of our hearts to become fallow, only the equivalent of spiritual weeds will grow there.


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  4. Well stated Bruce. You have clearly articulated something I have struggle with for years. Yet, as you stated, Jesus and Paul both warned us not to be deceived and your illustration with Peter was spot on. Thank you.

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    • I agree. There could be some surprises waiting for us when we get home but God is always fair and we will be satisfied. His Word tells us so (Psalm 17:15, Luke 6:21-23). God’s grace, peace and blessings as always to you and yours.

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  5. It seems whether its with evangelism or discernment and with accomplishing goals sometimes Christians become “hypercalvinistic” and forget that we do have personal responsibilities….

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