Truth and the Counterfeit

By Ernie and Mary Kroeger

We should all be aware of counterfeits that are presented to us as truth!  Counterfeits are made with the intention to deceive or to defraud.  A counterfeit is an imitation of something genuine, but it has at least one fatal flaw; it is only a copy of the genuine, yet it is presented as the genuine.  Our stay in Hong Kong alerted us to the reality of counterfeit bills. Every large bill was placed under the light to check its authenticity before it was accepted. The light always revealed the error regardless of how good the counterfeit was.  The genuine has to precede the counterfeit.  Many counterfeits of the genuine product can be made, but the reality has to exist before there can be a counterfeit. It is impossible to have a counterfeit of something that does not exist.

Just as there are counterfeits in the seen or natural realm, so there are counterfeits in the unseen or spiritual realm.  Since the seen realm was made of the unseen realm, we know that the unseen is greater and more important than the seen.  Jesus Christ is invisible to our physical eyes, yet He is our way to God.  He is truth and He is life!  What can be greater than truth and life?!  Since He is the truth, everything that does not have its source in Him, yet claims to be the truth, is a counterfeit.   Everything that presents itself as truth, but is not truth, is a counterfeit. 

Although “we live and move and have our being in God”, as Paul said in Acts 17:28, this does not mean that we automatically have a true consciousness of God.  We are born with a self- consciousness.  We have a consciousness of ME, and we think everything should center in Me.  We think that Me is being saved, cleansed, and going to heaven some day.  But that is not the way it is, because that ME is in the old Adam man.  We need to be resurrected out of that old man, and be placed into the new man, namely, the new humanity that we have in Christ, so that we can participate in the redemptive process of God.  Food and drink sustain the physical body; life and truth sustain the spiritual body.  Substitutes and counterfeits will not do!

Before the counterfeit came to our first parents, they only knew the truth.  Then the crafty serpent presented an idea to them that looked attractive.  God had given Adam and Eve only one rule which they were to obey – only one!  Everything God had created was theirs to enjoy except the fruit from one tree! Instead of obeying God, they obeyed what looked good to them, and deception and error became their truth!  They lost the truth and embraced the lie - the counterfeit!  The counterfeit is always against the truth. 

The counterfeit is never labeled as a counterfeit, for that would reveal its identity. To hide its identity it dresses itself in garments that look like the reality.  The counterfeit of TRUTH is called RELIGION, and it presents itself as our way to God. That sounds good!  Religious people are good people; they are revered; they are esteemed!  Religious people adhere to their laws and doctrines; they go to church or their meeting place, spend time in the worship of their idea of what God is like, do things to impress people with their goodness, etc.  Religiosity also takes on many other forms.  It is seen in the worship of the intellect and philosophies, the worship of a statue of a saint, animal or dragon, and in the worship of creeds and doctrines.  It is very busy fighting against the evils of society, and crusading for the rights of individuals.  In their zeal, they are negating the rights of others.  For example, in crusading for the rights of women, the right of the unborn child to live is overruled.  The many forms of religion have one thing in common: they all try to establish their own righteousness!  

Truth shakes the validity of religious traditions and legalism.  We need an earthquake to roll away the stone that zealously guards the lifeless body of religious forms and rituals entombed in our carnal mind.  Once they are exposed, they can be discarded.  Religion opposes Christ, for it establishes its own way to God - or whatever their idea of ultimate bliss is called.  

Humanity can never attain to God’s standard of righteousness, but in its ignorance it keeps struggling to attain it. To help humanity  identify its need for righteousness, God chose Israel as a showpiece  to prove that humanity  is unable to meet God’s standard of righteousness.  He did this by giving Israel the law.  The law brought them the knowledge of sin, guilt and condemnation; it showed them their inability to keep the whole law, for even if they failed in only one area, they were still guilty.  So the purpose of the law was to show them their need of help and to bring them to God. Then God sent His Son, His Word made flesh, to reveal truth and grace to them.  But humanity loved its counterfeits and substitutes through which it could exercise its power and control, and crucified the truth.  Humanity’s pride in its counterfeits kept them from recognizing Jesus Christ through whom all things had been created.  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and in the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him.” (Col. 1:16) 


We still wallow in our love for substitutions and counterfeits because they appeal to our human nature!  Yet nothing can be a substitute for truth.  In John 5:39-40 Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”  Many Christians today have that same attitude.  They substitute the scriptures for Christ (the Word). They think there is life in the scriptures, so their relationship is with the scriptures instead of with the Lord.  They call the scriptures the “Word of God,” whereas in reality, Christ is the Word of God.  Jesus never referred to the scriptures as the Word of God.  The scriptures are a witness of Jesus Christ, for He said,  ”It is these that testify about Me;”  Life is in Christ – not in the letter of the scriptures.

It is so easy to accept counterfeits, for they encourage us to do what looks good to us, and they do not require us to give up our will!  They sound good and pleasing to the natural mind, and we hear them being preached all the time!  However, we are only to listen to the voice of one Man, namely, the voice of the Son of Man.  The authority of that voice goes beyond the letter of the scriptures, beyond any human voice, beyond man’s writings and beyond what anyone says. Everything that comes from a different source is not the voice of the Son of Man, so it will not bring us into life nor will it sustain life.  It is not the truth; it is only a counterfeit of the truth!  

Although we may take great pride in the laws, traditions and rituals of the church we attend, we need to understand that it is impossible to have a living relationship with laws, traditions and rituals!  In fact, they actually stunt spiritual growth, for you cannot grow beyond them.  There is only repetition, and nothing can ever replace a living relationship with the Lord!  

One of the popular substitutions being proclaimed as truth is that going to heaven after we die is our reward for believing in Jesus Christ. Going to heaven is substituted for receiving life. God speaks of life and death while preachers and evangelists preach heaven and hell.  I heard a tele-evangelist read John 3:16 where it says that all who believe in the Lord Jesus will receive eternal life.  After reading the verse he said, “If you believe in the Lord Jesus you will go to heaven after you die.”   What is the difference between heaven and life? A natural interpretation of the scriptures causes Christians to think that heaven is a natural city with golden streets, but Jesus said that heaven is the throne of God. (Matt. 5:34)  The throne of God symbolizes His rule or government.  God lives in His government!  It is perfect and righteous!  Life, on the other hand, is needed to raise us out of our death in our sins and transgressions. We first have to receive life before we can be transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into God’s kingdom.  Without receiving God’s life we cannot even comprehend what His kingdom is like, nor do we know that God governs us from within.  His kingdom is a kingdom of light and truth.  Obedience to God’s government within us causes us to walk on streets of gold (in God’s divine nature).  In other words, our walk will demonstrate God’s divine nature!  God’s life is always, because there is nothing perishable or corruptible in it, and nothing perishable can enter it. So heaven is God’s government, and it symbolizes the spiritual realm, but we need God’s life before we can function in His government. 

Hell and death also have different meanings. In the modern concept of hell it is described as a place of eternal fire.  In a true translation of the Bible there is no mention of such a place. The Bible speaks of Hades or Sheol, and Gehenna.  Hades is the realm of the dead, and Gehenna was the place outside of Jerusalem where the garbage was burned.  The existence of a horrible fiery eternal torture chamber that does not serve a redemptive purpose is foreign to and against the very essence of God’s being!  However, humanity’s fertile mind has concocted the idea that, after your physical death, you will be given a body that will continue to exist forever in the raging fire of hell, that is, if you do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Eternal torture - for what purpose?  Only to show you that you were either ignorant or wrong, and to punish you for believing a deception?  Humanity does not understand that God’s fire is a spiritual cleansing fire to rid us of all our dross and wrong thinking.  In its ignorance it has embraced the counterfeit!  Death is the absence of life, and spiritual death is the absence of God’s life.  When God spoke to Adam He said, “If you eat of that tree you will die.”  He did not say that he would go to hell.  If the true punishment of disobedience were going to hell, don’t you think it would only be right for God to have warned and instructed Adam about hell?

Since the natural mind is very religious, it readily supplies us with the counterfeits.  We have often heard people say that someone deserves heaven because of all the good he has done.  They see heaven as our reward for doing good deeds.  They do not understand that nothing unclean can enter God’s government of righteousness.  Jesus said, “You must be born again.” (John 3:7)  We need to be born from above and receive Christ’s righteousness!  Good deeds can never take us out of darkness, sin and despair, and bring us into life.  We need a redeemer!  We have to be in Christ to be redeemed because Christ IS the redeemer.   He has become our life, He IS our righteousness, He IS our wisdom, He IS our redemption!  (1 Cor. 1:30)  When we have Christ as our life, good deeds will flow out of that life, but they can never bring us life and righteousness.  If the good deeds do not flow out of God’s life, they have their source in the tree of disobedience.  So we see that substituting good deeds for righteousness is another one of the serpent’s crafty lies. 

Thinking that we have to judge between good and evil, and choose the good, is another of religion’s artful counterfeits.  Both good and evil come from the same tree of disobedience, and both are in the death realm.  So no judgment between them is needed.  Yet without the teaching of the Holy Spirit we will not know that, and we will substitute good for life, and hell for death.  The Holy Spirit has to open our eyes to see that Christ, the truth, is the judge between the living and the dead.  Those who are led by His Spirit are His judgment in the world because there is a difference between the children of God and the children of the world.  We do not speak judgment to the world, but we simply are the judgment because of who we are and what we say and do. 

Without faith it is impossible to please God!  What keeps us from believing God?  What obstructs our walk of obedience?  It’s the counterfeit, the ME instead of the Christ!  Since we fear rejection and loneliness, the acceptance of people means more to us than the acceptance of God.  It takes faith to believe that Christ is our provision.  Jesus said, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” (John 5:44) 

Truth brings understanding and light; the counterfeit brings confusion.  Isaac was confused when he heard Jacob’s voice coming from someone he supposed was Esau.  The hands were like Esau’s hands, but the voice was like Jacob’s.  The voice and the hands did not match!  Far too often we have heard an unmatched message.  Trying to match the work of the flesh with a spiritual voice brings confusion.  The message and the messenger have to become one!  Then the message will go forth in power. 

Jesus said that the truth shall make us free.  Free from what?  Truth frees us from our bondage to the lies and deception that are in the counterfeits.  Without truth we will remain in our religiosity, for in religiosity, lies and deception are our truth.  Truth judges the lie!  Without truth we will substitute choice for obedience; we won’t realize that choice has the carnal mind as its source, and obedience has the mind of Christ as its source.  Without truth the natural mind will be the source for interpreting the scriptures.  Truth brings us spiritual understanding.  Truth brings us into relationship and intimacy with our Lord and Savior! 

We thank God that the Holy Spirit has been poured into our hearts to lead us into all truth!  He is the Spirit of the Son.  He is the anointing we have received.

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