We are surrounded by counterfeits but don’t lose heart.
“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:1-4.
The Christian world is overwhelmed with counterfeits. People who say that they are followers of Jesus. Many even declaring that they have been called to lead others of Christ’s people. But, when we look at their lives as seen in chapter 3, verses 16-18, the life does not match up with the glory of God.
When the veil is taken away through new birth in Jesus Christ, we expect to see more and more of the glory of God in them. From “glory to glory” their lives are being changed by the Holy Spirit. The righteousness of God takes root and grows.
Equally important, their message is suspect. They “tamper” with the word of God. Not trusting, maybe even not believing it, and rather than trusting in the open statement of the truth, they “bend, obscure or corrupt God’s message. And, it is His message, not ours.
Even good pastors are tempted to bend God’s message. So many begin their message with culture rather than with God’s word. The rationale seems to be, “but we must teach them!” “We must reach them.” “We must make God’s message relevant.”
Paul’s argument to this is quite stark. “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Jesus says that, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14.
There may be far less people in eternity than we thought. There may be too many not there because they were blinded by the god of this world. Or, did not spend enough time in God’s word on their own to understand when those they were listening to in church were using, “disgraceful, underhanded ways.” Unlike Paul who refused “to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word…”
We can become concerned and disappointed when these false and misleading messages abound in our churches. What we can do to correct it, or, at times, escape it, we should do. Ultimately, God will protect His message, will instruct the true church of Jesus, and faithfully carry us home to His presence. With Paul, we do not lose heart.