“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15 ESV).
Another strategy we can use to identify false spiritual teachers involves examining their concept of “God.” For instance, what if God is a being who attained a “higher consciousness.” Or perhaps God has a “good side” and a “bad side” that are in conflict with one another. Or what if there are many gods, a belief known as polytheism.
These different belief systems illustrate the need to establish a proper understanding regarding the person and nature of God. You see, those who begin with a basic misunderstanding of God’s nature start from a foundation that does not point towards a genuine relationship with Him. So what is the truth about God? Well, here is what the Scriptures tell us regarding the person and nature of God:
- The Bible tells us that there is one God (1 Timothy 2:5) who has always existed (Habakkuk 1:12) and has always been God (Isaiah 44:6).
- God can never make a mistake (Psalm 18:30) and never changes (Malachi 3:6).
- God is a God of love (1 John 4:8).
- He is holy (or morally perfect and distinct from anything that is dirty or impure- Isaiah 6:1-5), all knowing (Psalm 147:5), and all powerful (Deuteronomy 32:39).
- God is good (Jeremiah 29:11), merciful (Psalm 103:8), and righteous in His judgments (Psalm 96:13).
This portion of Scripture also provides us with an opportunity to examine something that often represents an element of false teaching- a denial of the triune nature of God. As mentioned earlier, the triune nature of God is a doctrine that is developed in various places throughout the Scriptures. Within them, we find that God is One (Deuteronomy 6:4) and that the Father is God (Ephesians 5:20 and Jude 1:1), the Son is God (Hebrews 1:8 and Titus 2:13), and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4 and 2 Corinthians 3:17).
This Biblical teaching may be difficult to comprehend but let’s establish what it doesn’t mean- it doesn’t mean there are three Gods, or that God changes into the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit when He desires. Instead, the Scriptures tell us that there is one God who is revealed in three distinct Persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This leads us to the understanding that God is one in substance (or essence) and three in Persons.