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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SIN AND SATAN

I can hear the complaints ……what a subject to address just before Christmas; this is celebration time, who wants to hear about sin and Satan – not us, not now!  This may be true, but I feel a clear direction to bring this topic to light.  Possibly the information I share today may be just what you need to know as you gather with friends and relatives throughout the Christmas season. 

If there is an ultimate truth, don’t you want to know it and be able to defend this truth?  As often happens, the Lord brings an event or person into my life that causes me to dig deeper in search of what is true, and what is not. When given the choice of being ‘popular’ – going along to get along – or being true to the living Lord, I’ll take the latter every time.  If you really care for someone, and most important, if it’s God’s will, you’ll risk sharing truth.  Then, be at peace, because God is in charge of who will ‘hear’ this truth. You are not the One who sits on the throne!  When Jesus spoke in the New Testament, He often said, ‘Those who have ears, let them hear’.  Everyone had ears; Jesus wasn’t speaking about the physical, but rather the spiritual.  Some have ‘spiritual ears’.  Those are the ones that will hear the message.  So relax, share and then leave the result to God.  It may take years for the seeds you plant to grow.  God’s timing is perfect.
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”  Romans 10:17

God will use us as believers to share His gospel.  The word ‘gospel’ means ‘good news’, and indeed it is.  “…..the message is heard through the word of Christ” simply means Jesus speaking His message through those who believe in Him.  If you are a believer, you qualify to share the gospel.  It’s a simple message.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have.”   I Peter 3:15

We know heaven is a real, literal place, and so is hell.  We are flawed human beings, we sin. Who, me?  I’m a good person!  Most people are aware of the Ten Commandments, but did you know that Jesus said in Matthew 5:22 that if you’ve ever been ‘angry’ with your brother, in God’s eyes this is like ‘murder’?  The first commandment states that “You shall have no other gods before me.”  God means it; He shares His glory with no one.  The ‘law’ (Ten Commandments) was given to show us we need a savior.  God took on the appearance of a man in the person of Christ, not in anyone else, to become our Redeemer, the Messiah God.

“There is no one righteous, not even one….” Romans 3:10
God does not accept sin so He created a way for us to change from being a sinner to becoming a saint.  How great is that?  We have one God, but He comes to us in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to redeem us and make us ‘righteous’ and ‘perfect’ in God’s eyes by dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin so we can spend eternity in heaven with Him.  When Jesus left this earth to join His Father in heaven, He left us with His Holy Spirit.  Believers have Christ’s Spirit in them!

God doesn’t let us choose the way.  Our heavenly Father has a plan and we must follow it.  This truth will bring ridicule from those who are searching for a different ‘way’ to peace, and spiritual ‘enlightenment’.  In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me”.  I guess you might say that Jesus is ‘narrow-minded’.
God doesn’t give us any ‘wiggle room’.  We’re not allowed to come up with our own way.  King Solomon wrote in the book of Proverbs that “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death”, vs. 14:6.  He is speaking of eternal death as opposed to eternal life.

Enter Satan!  Let’s look at Genesis, chapter 2, and witness the debut of Satan.  The Lord created Adam and Eve who were living in a type of ‘heaven on earth’, a paradise called the Garden of Eden.  God had a personal relationship with them and supplied all their needs.  The weather must have been perfect because they were naked, no problem!   Adam tended the garden and named all the animals.  Eve gave birth without the pain and suffering that every other woman has experienced since that time.  And then, Satan appeared as a crafty ‘serpent’.  God had told Adam that he and Eve were free to taste any fruit of the garden but they must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil or they would die!    In Genesis 3, the serpent comes to Eve and challenges her.  Trust me, if you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will be challenged.  Just like he places a doubt in Eve’s mind, so will Satan come today and place a doubt.  This doubt never comes from God.  Satan still roams the earth – see Job 1:7.  The woman told the serpent that if she ate the fruit or even touched it (like most women, she embellished the story) that she would die. 
Now think of how this scene would play out in our modern day.  Someone might say to you, “You mean if I don’t believe I’m a sinner and need Jesus Christ as my Savior that God will reject me? “  How does that make you feel when you’re standing there looking at a ‘good’ person that you sincerely care about?  You feel just like Satan wants you to feel!  Your unwillingness to compromise your beliefs makes you ‘bad’.  An unbeliever will invariably get you in the position where you profess you know the truth and what they believe isn’t true. They are more than willing to point out that unless you explore other gods, religions, faiths, and spiritual avenues to heaven; you are NOT politically correct and that is practically a crime!  Jesus was never ‘politically correct’, in fact He was just the opposite and said,

“Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”.  Matthew 7:13 – 14.
Jesus goes on to say that we need to watch for ‘false prophets’ who are in sheep’s clothing.  Satan came to Eve in the garden with false teaching.  He caused her to question God’s truth.  He was crafty but appeared to be nice, friendly, and caring when he tells her ‘’You will not surely die”.  He told her that if she ate the fruit her eyes would be opened and she’d know ‘good and evil’ as God does.

That is a strange thing to tell your child, “Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…” Most parents make a great effort to teach their children good from evil and right from wrong.  Why would God tell Adam and Eve not to be concerned about this?  God had a plan, a perfect plan.  We can’t see into the next day and know what will happen, but God sees into eternity.  He knew He’d be doing some things that would not look loving to us.  We suffer in this world.  Premature death, divorce, painful disease like cancer, addictions to drugs and alcohol, children who go astray, and lack of basic needs…..we see it all here on earth.  But what God desires is for us is to trust Him in any circumstance and not ‘judge’ what He is doing.  We trust by faith which comes by hearing and in Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith - Hebrews 12:2.
Satan is the ultimate liar, in fact, he is the ‘father of lies’…..John 8:44

Satan masquerades as an angel of light, he sounds good, appears ‘reasonable’ and just ……..II Corinthians 11:14

The character of God has never changed.  “God is love”, I John 4:16.  Read through the book of I John.  It’s a short book and you will be blessed. Neither does the character of Satan change.  He is still the ‘father of lies’ and comes as an ‘angle of light’ to destroy truth.  Don’t allow Satan any power in your life, you don’t have to, you are a child of God!  When someone says, “You believe that?”  Just say yes that you believe the truth.  Some will say things like, "The Bible has been changed" – not true, newer translations have given us more understanding, but from Genesis to Revelation the theme of a loving God redeeming His people through His Son atoning for their sin has remained the same.  No other writings have come under the same scrutiny as the Bible which is the number one best-selling book in all of history.  The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is one proof that God’s word is complete and intact!  And some people won’t even read it, they cannot see themselves as needing a Savior and sad to say, have no idea how to please God, John 6:29.
Churches cause many problems among unbelievers. They see dissension, because there is dissension among the various ‘Christian’ churches.  Biblical doctrine and church doctrine can be two different things.  This is why God gave us the Bible, His Living Word.  When we study and know what it says, we’ll know if a particular church is following the doctrine of the Bible, or coming up with their own humanistic philosophy. 

Interesting topic, but this piece is already too long.  What is true and what is not is something we believers should always be pursuing. 
We thank you Lord that you have given us Your truth and we don’t need to be fooled by Satan wandering to and fro on earth.  We are absolutely safe and secure in You.  Help us to share the gospel with confidence and authority.  We who believe pray that You give spiritual ears to those who have been blinded by the ‘father of lies’.

**If you enjoy this blog, you may want to buy my book, ‘Blogging God’s Word: Seeing Ourselves Through God’s Eyes’.  It’s available on Amazon.com, Crossbrooks.com and also as an E Book.