2 Corinthians 11:13-15—For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 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.
Paul had an intense passion for the churches he founded. By this time in church history, false teachers were making their rounds trying to push certain false doctrines. From the passage, we can learn several things about them. They carried an air of authority. They were demanding, abusive and took great pride in their Jewish lineage and education. They were trained speakers that demanded support, but their teaching was a lie. The Corinthian church had not hung onto the teaching of their founder, Paul. These false teachers were probably the Judaizers, insisting that the Gentiles converts keep the rigid demands of the Law. It can apply to any false teaching that emphasizes anything other than what Christ has done for us. We are so easily swayed by powerful preaching and teaching, and so readily let go of the fundamental truths we have learned from Scripture. Paul gives us a powerful warning. It does not matter how the speaker appears. Appearances are deceiving. Satan masquerades as an angel of light. Of course, the counterfeit looks powerfully spiritual. See with your spiritual eyes and not the physical ones. Look past the dazzle to the substance and see if it lines up with the redemptive work of Jesus through the cross, resurrection, and ascension. Peter also warned of these false teachers. He said their motivation was greed and lust. (2 Peter 2) Paul and Peter agreed that they were soon to receive the judgment they deserve. How can we spot them? Listen carefully to the substance. Watch the fruit of their lives. It will not be the fruit of the Spirit. Anyone can claim to be called to preach and teach, but only a transformed life will have the obvious fruits of the Spirit.