Believing Dress-Up

2 Corinthians 6:3–18, 2 Corinthians 11:12–15, 1 John 4:1–6

Paul is not a happy camper. The Corinthians appear to be pulling away from him for 2 reasons. The first is that he sent a letter that hurt (or offended) them. It seems likely that it wasn’t the letter we call 1 Corinthians, but a different one that we don’t have. The other reason was they were being drawn in by “super” apostles or other charismatic leaders that guided them away from Paul and likely the other elders of the church.

While many people have concluded Paul’s statements about being unequally yoked with unbelievers as being focused on idol worshippers and Judaizers, in the context of this letter it isn’t about the obvious unbelievers. It’s about the unbelievers “dressed-up” as Christians! When we think about it, it is those unbelievers “dressed-up” as Christians that can pull people away from church, faith, Jesus, God.

The world around us often uses the old Satan imagery to offend and desensitize us. The so-called Satanist religion tries to present itself as normal. Pagan folklore and witchcraft (druidic and other types) have also become more common. These are relatively easy things to see. That is what makes them scary. What if they are no different than they were in Paul’s day (?)…a distraction.

As John admonishes us, test the angels. Paul says that Satan dresses up as an angel in white. This is not to say, kick out everyone that doesn’t believe exactly what we (or the Church of the Nazarene) believe. It is to say that all angels (maybe especially angels?) and prophets and pastors and elders and teachers and everybody else are to be tested against scripture.

1) What are your thoughts about the dangers of “dressed-as” Christians versus believers in other religions?

2) How do you train yourself to test angels?

3) Angels are culturally popular. They are also often misunderstood. What do you think of being charged to test angels?