Anything counterfeit is not the genuine thing, it is a replication of lesser value. To the casual observer it appears to be real and legitimate, yet is a misleading façade or mask, just an imitation of the authentic that fools many. Lies and false impressions are contrary to integrity and truth. Wherever there is truth and reality normally there is also the fake.
Be so familiar with the truth, that what is false is obvious
People can easily be lead astray by what is counterfeit as it closely resembles the genuine. This includes, "a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or receiving a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted" (2 Cor 11:3,4,13; Gal 1:6,7). Satan has a counterfeit for the person of Jesus Christ, the gospel message of salvation through Christ, as well as the Holy Spirit. Satan through deception will lead many people away from the truth of God. Not everything attributed to 'being of God' is of the true God of the Bible. This includes signs, work or manifestations ascribed to the Holy Spirit. As believers we are counselled, "do not believe every spirit [everything we hear] but test it first to see if it really is from God..." (1 Jn 4:1-3). "Test all things [against the Word]. Hold fast to what is good" (1 Thes 5:21). Tests to ascertain the legitimacy of those who claim to speak for God include: does the messenger teach that Jesus was fully God and fully man when on earth, is their lifestyle, the fruit of their ministry and commitment to the body of believers in harmony with that taught in Scripture?
Compare everything to the Bible
receive to ensure it conforms to the written Word of God? It is the standard by which we will be judged (Jn 12:48).
Anything counterfeit costs less than the genuine. Be wary of any belief system that reduces the cost of salvation (the death of Christ), and the cost of discipleship (taking up our cross and following Him). Many people settle for a counterfeit Christianity, a cheap gospel where, although there may be a good grasp of Bible facts, there is not the heart connection with Christ as Saviour. It is “Having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim 3:5). While upright living is honourable, it does not automatically mean entrance to heaven. God knows those who have “a reputation for being alive, when in fact they are spiritually dead” (Rev 3:1).
God creates, the devil counterfeits
paths available with each 'guaranteed' to reach heaven. The truth is not all roads lead to heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way, thetruth and the life. No one can come to the Father, except through me” (Jn 14:6). Our salvation relies solely on the person and work of Jesus Christ (Act 4:12; Eph 2:8,9). Cults and counterfeit religion are the enemy to the reality, truth and freedom found in Christ. Many people think they are on their way to heaven yet have believed the devils lie that they can get there by another route other than through Jesus Christ (Mt 7:21-23; Jn 10:1, 14:6). Counterfeit Christianity takes pride in religious rituals as if they put people in right standing with God, adding human merit to the person and work of Christ.
Jesus declared at the end of time, “False Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible” (Mt 24:24). It is our responsibility to be so familiar with the truth of God’s Word, having a close relationship with the Lord and walking in obedience to the Holy Spirit so we are not taken in by what appears to plausible, yet is actually “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Mt 7:15). Jesus said, "By their fruit you will know them" (Mt 7:16,20).
See also: cheap gospel, deception, false, genuine, truth.