We are all aware of scams and there are many horror stories of people who have been ripped off in the most shocking ways. However there is a scam which has taken in more people than any other. The scam is based on a deceptive promise which has drawn in so many suckers that this truly is the greatest scam of all time. It is also the oldest scam. Every scam that has operated since has followed the basic model of this one.
Here’s how it works. A person is introduced to a possibility with enormous promise. The promise goes to the very heart of their deepest personal ambitions. There is no immediate guarantee, but the lure is dangled in front of the investor while they evaluate their options and weigh up the costs and risks. The cost is simply something of themself. It may be time, energy, commitment or some level of personal application. Usually, however, it involves a compromise of some kind. The investor will sense that they are crossing a line by buying in. But then there is the pay off.
The return for the investor is often non-specific. It isn’t usually in a fixed dollar amount, but a more general promise of high return. The return will usually be in terms of intangible personal benefits which are hard to put a firm dollar value on. Once the offer has been made it is usually just a matter of time before the sucker buys in. They do so out of greed, ambition, self-interest, lust for a better situation or a better life.
This scam usually bites very quickly. It bites with much the sting of a mafia entrapment. Once the investor buys in, committing him or herself to the deal they can know quite quickly that they have been caught. But, like an entrapment situation, the investors can’t quickly extricate themselves. They now have too much to lose, so they are held in the deal, even though it might be clear that they are being ripped off.
For some, the scam stays hidden a little longer. The payoff is deferred, but the sense of promise persists. The investor hangs in there, throws more of their resources into the deal, digging themself in deeper, hoping against hope that they will get a huge return, as they were promised.
When things go belly up, and they review the deal, they realise that very little was every actually guaranteed or promised. They were drawn in by smoke and mirrors, hints and suggestions, not solid empirical data. The sales pitch suddenly seems very empty, and the buyer realises that they just about talked themself into the whole deal – without anything of substance from the scammer.
Greed and ‘fear of loss’ created a whirlwind of lustful ambition and inner impulse. Hopes and fears danced as phantasms in the investor’s imagination, pushing them to the inexorable outcome. The person was duped as much by their own lust for better things than from any seduction by the scam itself.
Now, millions of people, throughout human history have been bitten and destroyed by this oldest and greatest of scams. The damage done by the Ponzi’s of this world is insignificant when compared with the scale and scope of the scam I am talking about here.
So, what is this age-old scam? Have you been taken in by this greatest of all scams? How do you know if you have been scammed?
Let me tell you what this greatest scam is. It’s what I call the “Flesh Scam”. It works like this. You were created by the Living God to live in perfect fellowship with Him, under His command, fulfilling His will and enjoying His blessings in your life. But you were built with a ‘flesh’ component. That’s your five senses, your appetites and your ability to enjoy life as a human being. Those senses are given to you so you can enjoy what God has created for you. However those very senses can become addicted to their own gratification and you can become enslaved to them.
That’s where the “Flesh Scam” comes in. Your humanity, your ‘flesh’, your natural senses, make a promise to you. The promise is a lie. It is fraudulent. It is a deceptive scam. The promise is that if you will serve your appetites, indulge your lusts and give in to your natural cravings you will delighted, happy, fulfilled, enriched and blessed. That’s the promise behind all lust – whether it’s for food, sex, pleasure, thrills, power, possessions, dominance, control, revenge, freedom of expression or anything else. Your body says, “Make an investment in me and you’ll receive a fantastic yield on your investment.” Your flesh scams you by promising to make you ever so happy, ever so blessed and ever so much better than you are.
But as soon as you choose to give in to your natural impulses they spring a trap. You become enslaved to the lusts you gave in to. You become an addict to sex, food, self-will, indulgence, anger, cursing, or whatever you gave over to. Instead of you being a better person, you are now a broken person. You are damaged goods. You are a slave.
The marketing campaign for this scam is very impressive and it pulls at the strings of everyone. Everyone has flesh and natural appetites which cry out to be indulged. So everyone is perfectly susceptible to this greatest of all scams.
The scamming comes from the fact that the flesh doesn’t pay any interest on the investment. Instead, it steals the very capital that’s invested. The very life of the person who gave over to their lusts is grabbed by that thing and made to serve the rest of its life under the demands of lust, shame, degradation, guilt, weakness, brokenness, resentment, failure and so on.
Six thousand years ago, Eve was the first to buy into the scam. The lie promised her a High Yield Return on her commitment. Instead of giving her anything of value at all, it took from her just about everything she had of value. She lost her innocence. She lost her paradise resort. She lost her close relationship with God. She lost her self-respect. She ended up with a tarnished reputation. She was powerless to undo her wrong. She was cursed for her actions. She lived out her days knowing she had blown it.
The Apostle Paul exposed this very scam with the following questions and observations… “What return did you get from that investment in your old life?” “What fruit did you have then in those things you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death.” Romans 6:21
“You don’t owe the flesh a thing! The only return it delivers is Death! “Therefore, brothers, we owe no debt or obligation to the flesh, to live by the flesh’s demands. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die: but if you through the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:12,13
Jesus Christ confirmed Paul’s observations when He said, “There is no profit in the flesh” “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I (Jesus) speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63
This Ancient Scam has been marketed in many ways. There’s the anger scam. The sex scam. The pride scam. The jealousy scam. The independence scam. And so on. Each one promises to pay a huge return but actually rips off the investor by taking their life and giving them death in return.
So the Greatest of all scams is the Flesh Scam, where the flesh promises to deliver great outcomes but only burns holes in a person’s soul. It offers itself as the sweetest wine, but it proves to be acid as it eats through the very life of the person who yields to it.
Have you been scammed? Are you one of those who has been duped by the flesh? Have you given over part of your life to the lie that you can be happier and better off if you pander to your lusts? Are you one of those who is now a slave to sin and shame?
There is hope for all those who have been scammed! A very wealthy person has paid out your iniquitous rip-off so you can be restored to your original starting point. An awesome philanthropist has given His most precious possession so He can buy you out of slavery to the scammer. He has been to the slave trader’s filthy command post and completely routed that dirty devil, so you can be set free.
There is a catch, however. In being bought back from slavery you need to return to your original destiny, of living for God. Until and unless you are willing to live that new life there is no use buying you out of your chains and rags. You will only go back to them as soon as you can.
I present to you the facts of your situation. I call you to repent from your stupid choices and the disgusting slavery that has resulted. I offer you the forgiveness and restoration that is yours through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I call you to new life – not as a liberated sinner, but as a son of the Living God, fulfilling the purposes for which you were created, and living in the power of the God who created you and saved you.
I call you to be a liberator, who emancipates millions of slaves from the scam which has so readily seduced and destroyed them. I call you to build the Kingdom of God, and to fill it with liberated souls who have their dignity and freedom restored and who join us in living for God and enjoying Him forever.