11:12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
In advertising there is an unethical and usually illegal tactic called bait and switch. For those not familiar it is essentially advertising one thing only to find out the actual product is inferior to or more expensive than the one advertised. There is also the lipstick on a pig tactic where a car or house or whatever product it made to look all shiny and nice only to discover that under the new paint etc... are hiding all kinds of problems.
It's one thing to present things as something they aren't but it goes to another level when you present yourself as something you are not. Probably most well known in this sphere in recent times is Frank Abagnale. He is the real life person behind the exploits of Leo DiCaprio in the relatively recent movie 'Catch Me If You Can'. It was a biopic based on the life of Mr. Abagnale, who from the age of 16 to 21 passed himself off successfully as a pilot, a pediatrician, a Harvard educated attorney among other things.
I know a person who married a man who seemed like a dream until the honeymoon when he started beating her, beatings that never stopped until she fled.
People pretending to be something they are not is nothing new. It started before earth was ever created. Satan, a created being, tried and is still trying to be God. When Jesus was fasting in the wilderness Satan came as what appeared to be an angel sent to help Him. However Jesus soon recognized his true identity not by what he looked like but by his words. Jesus on the other hand was the real deal yet rejected by most because He didn't have the look or do the things they figured He should. People like Frank Abagnale and the abusive husband succeed at fooling people because they know how to appeal to people. They get all the surface things right. They are smooth and convincing.
Paul was authentic yet in some ways unpolished and certainly imperfect. Now others are coming into the church in Corinth who are able to exploit the wrong thinking and warped expectations of the people and lead them down the garden path. It is deception, but deception that succeeds because it is appealing to those deceived by it. People want to get rich quick so they fall for preachers who preach it. People want to swept off their feet and/or worshipped so when some smooth talking charmer comes along they are primed for the bait.
Satan has had millennia to perfect the art of pretending to be what he is not. He is more than willing to train humans to help him in his schemes and preachers are among his best pupils. Just turn on the television and watch these guys selling holy water and holy handkerchiefs and promising to solve all your problems. Send them some seed money to demonstrate your faith and wait for the blessing...
Or you could take your head out of the clouds and follow the simple Man from Nazareth who unassumingly walked the walk while others just talked the talk. Who you follow is entirely your choice. Choose wisely.