Thursday, October 22, 2009
Know Your Enemy
I have been reading through Revelation in my Bible. Years ago when I first read of John's experience I have to admit it scared the heebie-jeebies out of me. I couldn't read it after dark. Now being this is the 3rd of 4th time studying it I am discovering that I can read it without (a lot of) fear. After all, God does remind us that He is in control of even this. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints (Rev. 13:10). Which to my limited understanding clearly shows that the saints will have to endure the trials and tribulations that are layed out, as much as I am still looking up and waiting for that trumpet call before it all begins.
I have been reading, and re-reading, chapter 12. It is heaven's side of the birth of Jesus, the devil's rebellion, man's walk on earth, and salvation through the blood of Christ on the cross. I have been pondering for some time how our lives (the way we live them, the choices we make, the beliefs we believe, etc.) and Christ's atoning blood sacrifice go together. It is only by the blood of Jesus as a perfect sacrifice that we are saved, but yet because of that the Holy Spirit begins a work of righteousness that is revealed in the believers life. That work of righteousness is the mark of our salvation. It is a response to salvation; a result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will only do what glorifies Christ, therefor in a Christians life He will only prompt us to that which glorifies the Lord. Which is why there is such a transformation in a person's life when they are saved. If we are not continually being put in line by the Spirit (according to scripture) it would be wise to reconsider again where we are with God.
But on the other side of that, in Revelation 12:9, is the devil. Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He is called the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night. He is filled with fury because he knows his time is short. Elsewhere in scripture he is described as an angel of light, the prince of the earth, the sower of weeds (false doctrine, beliefs) the serpent, a lion that prowls around seeking to destroy. I don't know what your beliefs are about the devil, but I have seen and experienced enough in my own life to know that he is real. If nothing else that he has done he has made me realize how real God is. I don't think we begin to understand the battle that is ensuing, even right now, for the souls of the world. God knows those who are His and their names will never be taken from the book, but the devils whole job is to lead the world astray. I would say he is doing a pretty good job at it.
How then can a Christian stand? I think of Noah who lived in a time (maybe not so different than ours?) when all the thoughts of man where evil all the time. God could only find Noah and his family as faithful. How popular do you think he was? Or Abraham and Lot. When God was going to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham begged him to spare it for the sake of 10 faithful people. They could not be found, yet Lot and his family stood for the Lord in these wicked cities. Or Elijah, who thought he was the last one left of the faithful. I am fully convinced that one day we will come before God and give an account for our lives. Our actions, thoughts, deeds, and beliefs will be brought before him for reconciling. Our lives have a ripple effect on all those around us. Things that appear to be small and insignificant really become the pattern for something huge that has eternal consequences. If it is the devils primary goal to lead us astray, how much more than shall we cling to the Word and the Saviour of our souls? If we are inclined to sin and to our own selfish ways and desires how much is too much to give in to? What is a little sin to tolerate? And, let's just bring it up again, why are our churches not preaching like Hell could be somebodies tomorrow? For eternity! Why have we watered down the Scriptures and the gospel? Could it just be because Satan's primary goal is to lead the whole world astray?
Although these are the times set for the world and the way God chose to show His glory, in the end He promises He is the one who triumphs. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7:17. He promises.