Every day we hear reports of violence, theft, hatred and war. Not one day passes on our planet without a murder, rape, assault or acts of racism. Humans are certainly involved but is there a devil involved as well?
Recent events in Charlottesville, have received a great deal of attention in the Christian community. I have heard and read several leading pastoral responses. For the most part they are well thought out and scriptural. It is sad that Christians are feeling the need to defend their faith when it comes to racial reconciliation. Christianity in its purest form is crystal clear that God accepts, loves and has created all mankind. We are all equal in His eyes and that’s what true Christianity puts into daily practice.
It would be impossible, in my mind, for anyone to be dismissive of evil in our world. We see it, experience it and have practiced it on one another. The presence of evil on our planet in and of itself is testament to a nature of sin in human kind. It would be one thing to disagree with another human but to climb into your vehicle and run that person over intending to kill them and silence their voice forever, that is an act of extreme evil. What force pushes the bounds of human anger and justifies an act so evil?
In some ways, talking about a "problem of evil" is a false start. A better quandary to start with would be the problem of sin. How quickly we rush to raise a self-righteous fist while our other hand digs in the cookie jar.
"Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?" (Ezekial 18:25).
Whatever we think we understand about God, it is clear from His actions toward mankind that God is Good. It is easy to prove as we look at his gift in the sacrificial work of Christ on the cross to redeem mankind from the consequence of sin and evil. His goodness is also seen in the “free will” He grants his creation. We are not slaves of the most powerful being man could imagine, we are instead, granted SONSHIP. We are invited to choose. We choose to be family members of God or not. The choice is ours to make.
That presents the problem of sin for us. With God, we have the power to overcome sin to make a good and right choice. Without Him we find ourselves more and more the slave of sin. The master of sin is given descriptive names in the Bible. Here are a few: Angel of the bottomless pit (Rev. 9:11), Accuser (Rev. 12:10), Dragon (Isa. 27:1 & Rev. 20:2), Evil Spirit (I Sam. 16:14), Father of Lies (Jn. 8:44), Satan (Job 1:6) Prince of Devils (Matt. 12:24)
Each name (there are 31 total) describes the content and purpose of his nature and being. He was not always this way. In fact, he was with God, many scholars believe he was an Archangel. God had given him the name Lucifer. That name means: “Son of the morning”. His rebellion against God was brief and a complete failure (Ezekiel 28 and Isa. 14).
He was also a creature of free will and he chose himself over God. Mankind made an identical decision. A decision to throw off the authority of the God who created us and embrace the illusion of self-rule. I say illusion because when we walk away from the authority of God we also walk away from the protection of God. Leaving us at the mercy of the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4).
That title for him with the little “g” is a squatter’s title. He has no legal right to the planet it all belongs to the God with the big “G”, the one and only God of the universe. That said, those who do not follow God are following the purposes of the devil. God warned Cain (one of the sons of Adam) in the early Bible:
“But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it." (Gen. 4:7)
Cain refused to do what was right, to put God first, to make God ruler in his life. As a result, SIN won out in a most evil fashion…He killed his own brother.
The ‘serial killers’ of our day look surprisingly normal to us when we see them on TV. Often, they have led very normal lives except those brief hours in their lives where they were overcome by evil in submission to their sinful nature. The joy of the devil (if you can say he has one) is not mankind’s acts of sin but rather mankind’s rejection of God.
IS THERE A DEVIL?
Yes. He is the author of sin. It is important that we recognize there is a force for evil on the planet. But the devil is not the author of your sin…You are. The devil decided to be his on god long before the creation of man. The choice now is ours. We can worship God or attempt to be our own god. If we choose to be our own god we invite sin to rule and set the table for evil to work through our lives.
Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News… (II Cor. 4:4)
Rejecting God is not rejecting religion. Rejecting God is saying: “I know better than God”. If you are wiser than God you are god in your own mind, philosophy and world view. Without God, there is no power to resist a sinful nature and do good. We will do what seems right to us even when doing so hurts someone else and or destroys us physically, emotionally and mentally.
Is God your God?
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