“And did not Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light? [It is] not a great thing, then, if also his ministers transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
“and no wonder — for even the Adversary doth transform himself into a messenger of light; no great thing, then, if also his ministrants do transform themselves as ministrants of righteousness — whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
The Greek word translated as “great” in “no great thing” or “not a great thing,” is megas. For God the Holy Spirit through Paul, it is NO SURPRISE that since Satan performs this angelic transformation bit, then HOW MUCH MORE will his ministers follow his lead. Universal atonement heretic, John Calvin writes concerning 2 Corinthians 11:15 (my comments interspersed).
“It is an argument from the greater to the less. ‘If Satan, who is the basest of all beings, nay, the head and chief of all wicked persons, transforms himself, what will his ministers do?'”
Could any of Satan’s morphing ministers ever say something like the following? [The answer is yes, they in fact DID say this.]
“It must be admitted that there are many Christians who do not accept the doctrine of plenary inspiration. That doctrine is denied not only by liberal opponents of Christianity, but also by many true Christian men. There are many Christian men in the modern Church who find in the origin of Christianity no mere product of evolution but a real entrance of the creative power of God, who depend for their salvation, not at all upon their own efforts to lead the Christ life, but upon the atoning blood of Christ — there are many men in the modern Church who thus accept the central message of the Bible and yet believe that the message has come to us merely on the authority of trustworthy witnesses unaided in their literary work by any supernatural guidance of the Spirit of God. There are many who believe that the Bible is right at the central point, in its account of the redeeming work of Christ, and yet believe that it contains many errors. Such men are not really liberals, but Christians; because they have accepted as true the message upon which Christianity depends. A great gulf separates them from those who reject the supernatural act of God with which Christianity stands or falls” (Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, p. 75).
“What then is our conclusion? Is belief in the virgin birth necessary to every man if he is to be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ? The question is wrongly put when it is put in that way. Who can tell exactly how much knowledge of the facts about Christ is necessary if a man is to have saving faith? None but God can tell. Some knowledge is certainly required, but how much is required we cannot say. ‘Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief’ said a man in the Gospel who was saved. Though today there are many men of little faith, many who are troubled by the voices that are heard on all sides…What right have we to say that full knowledge and full conviction are necessary before a man can put his trust in the crucified and risen Lord? What right have we to say that no man can be saved before he has come to a full conviction regarding the stupendous miracle narrated in the first chapters of Mathew and Luke?…One thing at least is clear: even if the belief in the virgin birth is not necessary to every Christian, it is necessary to Christianity. And it is necessary to the corporate witness of the Church….Let it never be forgotten that the virgin birth is an integral part of the New Testament witness about Christ, and that that witness is strongest when it is taken as it stands” (Gresham Machen, The Virgin Birth of Christ, pp. 395-396).
“The greatest menace to the Christian Church today comes not from the enemies outside, but from the enemies within; it comes from the presence within the Church of a type of faith and practice that is anti-Christian to the core. We are not dealing here with delicate personal questions; we are not presuming to say whether such and such an individual man is a Christian or not. God only can decide such questions; no man can say with assurance whether the attitude of certain individual ‘liberals’ toward Christ is saving faith or not. But one thing is perfectly plain — whether or no liberals are Christians, it is at any rate perfectly clear that liberalism is not Christianity” (Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, pp. 159-160).
Ministers of Satan (e.g., Gresham Machen) attack “ISMs” and assert that while core gospel doctrines are “essential” to “Christianity” in general, they are not essential for every single Christian without exception in particular. Satan’s ministers do not judge according to John’s instructions in 1 John 4:1-3 or Paul’s standard in Romans 1:16-17 and Galatians 1:8-9.
More from Calvin:
“We have experience of both every day, for when Satan tempts us to evil, he does not profess to be what he really is. For he would lose his object, if we were made aware of his being a mortal enemy, and opposer of our salvation. Hence he always makes use of some cloak for the purpose of insnaring us, and does not immediately show his horns, (as the common expression is,) but rather makes it his endeavor to appear as an angel.”
The heterodox horns are the conspicuous breach in the superficially orthodox packaging (cf. Revelation 13:11; 2 John 7-11). The test is NOT which gospel the minister of Satan SAYS he believes in, but which gospel he judges saved and lost by. The minister of Satan judges saved and lost by the false gospel of Galatians 1:8-9 while paying lip-service to the true gospel of Romans 1:16-17. Christian charity toward the “muddled” or “weaker brethren” is a cloak often worn by those who speak peace when there is no peace (cf. Jeremiah 6:13-15; 2 John 9-11).
“Even when he tempts us to gross crimes, he makes use, nevertheless, of some pretext that he may draw us, when we are off our guard, into his nets. What then, if he attacks us under the appearance of good, nay, under the very title of God? His life-guards imitate, as I have said, the same artifice. These are golden preambles — ‘Vicar of Christ’ — ‘Successor of Peter’ — ‘Servant of God’s servants,’ but let the masks be pulled off, and who and what will the Pope be discovered to be? Scarcely will Satan himself, his master, surpass so accomplished a scholar in any kind of abomination. It is a well known saying as to Babylon, that she gives poison to drink in a golden cup (Jeremiah 51:7). Hence we must be on our guard against masks.”
Guard against masks. Pull the masks off. Expose the cursed contents inside the golden cup of a vainly-professed orthodoxy:
“Should any one now ask, ‘Shall we then regard all with suspicion?’ I answer, that the Apostle did not by any means intend this; for there are marks of discrimination, which it were the part of stupidity, not of prudence, to overlook. He was simply desirous to arouse our attention, that we may not straightway judge of the lion from the skin…For if we are not hasty in forming a judgment, the Lord will order it so that the ears of the animal will be discovered ere long. Farther, he was desirous in like manner to admonish us, in forming an estimate of Christ’s servants, not to regard masks, but to seek after what is of more importance” (John Calvin).
As the Christian Confession of Faith states on the subject of judging righteous judgment (John 7:24):
1. God requires of His people that they love and fellowship with each other. Love of the brothers in Jesus Christ is an inevitable fruit of salvation. [Psa 101:6; 133:1; Joh 13:34-35; 17:20-21; Gal 6:10; Phi 1:27; 2:2-4; 3:16; 1Jo 1:7; 2:9-11; 3:11,14-16,23; 4:7,11,20-21; 5:1]
2. One of the main proofs that believers love their brothers in Jesus Christ is that they do not speak peace to their brothers’ enemies. They obey God’s command to separate themselves from the world and false Christians.[Exo 34:15-16; Deu 13:1-3; Psa 1:1; 26:4-5; 101:3-8; Pro 4:14-15; 9:6; Joh 15:19; Rom 16:17-18; 1Co 5:11; 10:21; 2Co 6:14-18; Eph 5:7-12; 1Ti 6:3-5; 2Ti 3:5; 1Jo 2:15-16; 2Jo 10 11; Rev 18:4]
3. For these reasons, as well as to witness the gospel to the lost, it is necessary for believers to make judgments concerning who is unregenerate (including who are false Christians) and who is regenerate. The standard by which believers are to make these judgments is whether or not the person being considered believes the gospel [Isa 8:20; 45:20; Mat 7:15-20; Mar 16:16; Luk 6:43-45; Joh 7:24; Rom 10:1-3; 1Co 5:11-12; Ga1 1:8-9; 1Jo 4:1,6; 2Jo 9]
4. Some people may show by their lawless way of life that they do not believe the gospel, but no one can demonstrate by his law-keeping that he believes the gospel; for there are many whose lives appear to conform to the law of God who are yet unregenerate. Therefore, let no man be judged by his reputation, good works, sufferings, appearance, or any other standard but the gospel. [1Sa 16:7; Mat 7:21-23; 23:25-28; Mar 16:16; Luk 18:11-12; Rom 1:21-2:2; 10:1-3; 1Co 6:9-10; 2Co 11:13-15; Gal 1:8-9; 6:14-16; 2Th 2:12]
5. Those who refuse to judge by this standard alone, preferring instead to judge by reputation, appearance, religious zeal and dedication, or a false gospel, show that they place no value on the gospel and thus show themselves to be unregenerate. All who consider at least some believers in a false gospel (e.g., believers in universal atonement) to be their brothers in Jesus Christ are unregenerate. [Deu 29:19; Pro 17:15; Isa 5:20; Jer 8:10-12; 1Co 13:6; 1Th 5:3; 2Jo 11]