The Ministers of Righteousness 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

ministers of righteousness

And so Paul says, if “ Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light…it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” Did you notice that expression, “his ministers?”

Does Satan have ministers? Does the Devil have ministers? Yes, that is what Paul says. A man may be cultured and refined and ordained to the ministerial office and profess to teach the Word of God, but all the time he may be Satan’s appointee. How can we tell Satan’s ministers from Christ’s ministers? In one simple way, Paul says. There need be no difficulty about it. If they are Satan’s they may talk a great deal about human righteousness, but one thing they do not talk about.

Satan’s ministers have nothing to say about the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s ministers are like the bride in the Song of Solomon. The bridegroom says to her, “Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet.” The true servant of Christ has lips that speak of the blood of Jesus. He points sinners to that atoning blood through which alone guilty men may be saved. No matter how much one may insist on righteousness, personal, civic, or national, if he fails to present to men salvation through the precious, cleansing blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, he is one of Satan’s ministers. For God has no other message for lost men than that which is linked with the work of Calvary’s cross – H A Ironside

Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 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. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.

Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth. 12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works2 Corinthians 11:1-15

Paul is addressing the Corinthian church, warning them of the subtlety of the messages they were hearing, as another Jesus was being preached, and another spirit was present, but Paul taught only the gospel of grace, preaching a crucified Christ. If the Corinth church were hearing a message of grace plus works, which is another gospel, they would respect the teacher.

It is easy to listen to a charismatic church leader who is telling their congregation that they need to do this or do that to obtain eternal life, as it sounds holy and right, but don’t forget the simplicity that is in Christ through simple belief. We are not saved by works of righteousness, but by our faith in the work of Jesus Christ, who purged our sins to save us.

who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; – Hebrews 1:3

Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works – Romans 4:6

not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;Titus 3:5

For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousnessRomans 4:3-5

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boastEphesians 2:8-9

If you hear any church leader say that salvation will cost you your life, they are not teaching the simplicity that is in Christ. They are teaching discipleship salvation instead of the crucified Christ (Jesus died for our sins, he was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day). Sounds holy to the crowd, but it’s not a biblical message of salvation. They teach works for salvation, just like religion does today. It is biblical, however, to separate salvation (the gift of God) with discipleship (serving Christ for blessings in this life and rewards in eternal life).

Teachers like these are the ministers of righteousness, who have not trusted in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, as payment for their sin, and they teach their flock erroneously, and in turn their flock teach others erroneously because they base salvation on their performance, instead of the finished work of Christ.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth2 Timothy 2:5

There are many ‘righteous’ people in the eyes of humankind, but this is not the standard by which God judges. God demands sinless perfection, and only the man called Christ Jesus (God in the flesh) lived the perfect life without sin, and as the lamb without spot or blemish, died for mankind, paying our sin debt that human works can never pay for through His shed blood. We need the righteousness of God, and we receive exactly that when we trust in Jesus (his name in greek translates = Jehovah is Salvation).

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto lifeJohn 5:24


1These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God1 John 5:13

The ten commandments and the additional 613 laws were given to show us that we could not live up to God’s standards. They are designed to bring us to Christ.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ JesusGalatians 3:24-26

Listen to teachers who preach on the blood atoning work of Jesus Christ, and not on works of righteousness that we do. They lift up the name of Jesus Christ, declaring that light unto an unbelieving world. Jesus Christ is what we all need. We need His righteousness to obtain eternal life, but we all have free will to either receive or reject this free gift of salvation. How do we receive the gift, trust that Christ paid for your sin and rest in that eternal truth.

Now faithis the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:1 Corinthians 15:1-4

The Holy Bible says that you can know that you have eternal life, when you believe in Jesus

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting lifeJohn 6:47

What did Paul and Silus tell the Philippean jailer who asked how he could be saved?

They could have told him anything. Did they say, repent of your sins and give your life to Christ?

No. Their message was simple.

and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house – Acts 16:30-31

Why are many church leaders adding to the simplicity that is in Christ? Please defend the gospel today, if you hear works added to the precious work of Christ, and rightly separate salvation from discipleship, because they are separate doctrines. God will save whosoever that believeth.

1For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of GodJohn 3:16-18

It is the role of Satan to make us doubt God’s word. He deceived Eve by getting her to question God’s authority, and in turn Adam was deceived too.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LordGod 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. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves apronsGenesis 3:1-7

The ministers of righteousness have the same mindset of Satan by denying the simplicity that is in Christ, by adding a mountain of works in subtle ways. It is a fact that Christ died for our sin, he was buried, and rose on the third day. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 makes it clear. This is the message that the apostle Paul taught, without the addition of human righteousness, because Christ did that which we could not do. We have a sinful nature. We will always have a sinful nature until the day we die. Why would anyone call the work of Christ cheap grace or easy believism? This is insulting. Even when we are born again, we still have the old sin nature, which wars against the flesh.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God – 1 John 3:9 (KJV)

This is often a verse that is taken out of context by the works for salvation teachers, but study it closely. It is saying that whosoever is born of God does not commit sin. It is impossible for this seed to sin, because it is born of God. Believers who have trusted in Christ as their saviour are born again with the Holy Spirit, which is third person in the Godhead and cannot sin. Our old sin nature remains as long as we are alive on this earth. This is why there is a constant struggle (if you are walking in fellowship with God) between the flesh and the spirit. Even our very thoughts can sin against God, and others.

Be careful of the New International Version of this same scripture, that completely changes its meaning into a works based salvation.

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God – 1 John 3:9 (NIV)

This scripture just makes the believer focus on the self because if they are still sinning, they are not born of God. God gives us a new nature that CANNOT sin, which is the only reason why we can go to heaven when we die. There is no distinction between the two natures in the NIV scripture, but it does subtly lift the eyes from Christ onto self and performance for salvation. Very subtle but that’s what corrupt bible versions do, because its author is Satan who changes the Word of God to weaken its power to save, and subtly adds works here and there. In the NIV Even the blood atonement of Christ is taken out in Colossians 1:14.

in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sinsColossians 1:14 (NIV)

in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sinsColossians 1:14 (KJV)

Without the blood of Christ, there is no forgiveness of sin.

in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;Ephesians 1:7

but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot1 Peter 1:9

but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin1 John 1:7

and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, – Revelation 1:5

Sin is sin. If we are honest with ourselves, we all sin every day in word, thought or deed. Jesus did not have the sin nature, because He was born of God, although He was tempted as we. We are born sinners. We need a saviour. Those who say we have no sin have not the truth inside of them, as it clearly states in 1 John 1:8-10.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us1 John 1:8-10

1 John is written to believers. It is a call to walk in fellowship with God. Some people will declare that they no longer sin, but this is contrary to what God’s word says. They are only deceiving themselves. Sanctification or growing in grace takes a lifetime, and it is dependent on our daily walk with Christ. This walk is separation from salvation, which is only through Christ’s atoning work, but our growth in grace pleases God, and we will be effective for Him in this life, and will be rewarded at the Judgement Seat of Christ.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad2 Corinthians 5:10

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire1 Corinthians 3:10-15

God bless.