But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3
Satan can corrupt our minds from the simplicity that is in Christ. What is the simplicity that is in Christ? To find the answer, we must back up one chapter to get the immediate context of this verse.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present. For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:3-12
Look at what the context addresses:
- Verse 3 states we do not war after the flesh.
- Verse 4 tells us our weapons are not carnal.
- Verse 5 says to cast down high things (what man thinks are righteous & holy) that exalt against the knowledge of God. What man considers to be righteous and holy, God does not. Men will consider certain things as righteous, but God sees them as filthy rags.
- Verse 7 questions why we would look at the outward appearance – how things appear. Do you base your decisions on how they appear to others?
- Verse 12 points out that comparing ourselves to others is not wise. Do you think your standards are higher/better than the standards of others? Do you think others need to be following more rules like you do? Do you think that others who do not keep as many standards are lesser Christians or even lost?
As you can see, Paul is warning against trying to appear righteous by fleshly means – by trying to look righteous in the eyes of men. Let us look at the example Paul mentioned: Eve.
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. Genesis 3:1-3
Did you see what Eve did? She added an extra rule (neither shall ye touch it) to what God commanded (Do not eat). Did Eve think adding a rule to God’s rule would make her more righteous? It was through this that Satan beguiled Eve, and was able to get Eve to follow in Satan’s sin, and corrupted Eve’s mind from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Satan was full of pride and tried to exalt himself to God’s place. Eve added a rule, was beguiled by Satan, and became full of pride wanting to be like God (knowing good and evil). When you add your rules as a measure of righteousness and holiness, you are full of pride, exalting yourself to God’s place, and your mind is corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
It is time to return to the simplicity that is Christ. That is not found in a checklist of rules and standards that you follow. The rules and standards God gave us are enough.