Saturday, March 20, 2010

Who Has Power Over You?

A lot of people seem to hold onto this idea of God being the big angry one in the sky, throwing lightning bolts at those who for whatever reason get on His nerves.  And even more troublesome, the assertion that God’s anger is unjust.  Really?

When disasters strike... be they earthquakes, tidal waves, or floods... people simply write these off as “acts of God.”  Further, many simply assume that He is just messing with His children for some capricious reason.  Couldn’t be anything related to mankind’s sins now, could it?

We took note earlier of a comment by actor and activist Sean Penn who stated on the CNN series Larry King Live that God was bullying the people of Haiti when the earthquake struck... and people felt great outrage when Pat Robertson blamed the earthquake on something the people of Haiti had allegedly done.

The simple reality, however, is that Haiti’s (pre-earthquake) woes are completely man-made.  From the exploitation of the island’s wealth in the 1700’s to the acts of genocide during the Parsley Massacre in the early 20th century to further political and diplomatic abuses... we see the hands of men driven by selfishness and greed.  Substandard building codes created a horrendous devastation in Haiti.  Yet, in Chile where an even more severe earthquake hit, there was less damage (because the infrastructure was better constructed).  Had the people been given better constructed homes and buildings, the devastation would not been nearly as great.

Still... people find it so easy to just blame God whenever things go wrong.

Oh, and for the record... earthquakes are continuing and will continue to strike all over the world.  After all, Jesus told us in Mark 13:7-9 that these are simply labor pains signalling the birth of the new heaven and earth that will replace this demon-infested world that we are living in (see Revelation 21:1-3).

But when the concept of the devil being behind this world’s tragedies is introduced, people simply shrug that off as medieval mythology that has no part in rational thinking.  After all... assuming that God has all power... why doesn’t He just do something about all the bad things that happen?

For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers' minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God.
2nd Corinthians 4:4 [AMP]

In 2 Corinthians 4:4, we read that satan is the god (small “g”) of this world.  Yes, it is the devil who blinds the minds of people so that they cannot see or even discern the truth.  And Jesus is the truth.

Elsewhere in the scripture, we see further affirmation of this fact. For instance, satan is called the prince of the power of the air in Ephesians 2:2. In John 12:31, he is called the ruler of this world. We could site other scriptures, but you get the point.

The refusal to accept the fact that there is a devil who is intent on fouling everything up was the theme of one of our favorite songs by Keith Green.

Have a listen to the song:

If you are under the reign of the devil... the one who has such authority on this earth... then you are subject to the outcomes of his behavior. And how does the devil behave? Well, I like the way Greg Laurie put it. While God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life... satan hates you and has a horrible plan for your life.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).
John 10:10 [AMP]

  • He is a thief... he steals whatever he can from you. Your health. Your relationships. Your sanity... whatever he can get his hands on, he will take from you.
  • He is a murderer. He will kill you if he can. But even if he can’t get to your life... he will destroy your enjoyment of life... if he can.
  • He is a destroyer. He will destroy your career ambitions... your desire to have a happy family... your reputation... whatever he can get is hands on.

So, how does one stop the devil if he is so powerful?

Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are no longer under the power of the devil. The Bible tells us:

Since, therefore, [these His] children share in flesh and blood [in the physical nature of human beings], He [Himself] in a similar manner partook of the same [nature], that by [going through] death He might bring to nought and make of no effect him who had the power of death--that is, the devil--
Hebrews 2:14 [AMP]

Jesus defeated the devil by His sinless life... by his sacrificial death... and by his victorious rise from the dead. Jesus was tempted by the devil, shortly after His baptism by John.

THEN JESUS, full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led in [by] the [Holy] Spirit

For (during) forty days in the wilderness (desert), where He was tempted (tried, tested exceedingly) by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they were completed, He was hungry.

Then the devil said to Him, If You are the Son of God, order this stone to turn into a loaf [of bread].

And Jesus replied to him, It is written, Man shall not live and be sustained by (on) bread alone but by every word and expression of God.

Then the devil took Him up to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the habitable world in a moment of time [in the twinkling of an eye].

And he said to Him, To You I will give all this power and authority and their glory (all their magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, and grace), for it has been turned over to me, and I give it to whomever I will.

Therefore if You will do homage to and worship me [just once], it shall all be Yours.

And Jesus replied to him, Get behind Me, Satan! It is written, You shall do homage to and worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.

Luke 4:1-8 [AMP]

Notice in Luke 4:6, satan said that the power and authority of the world has been turned over to him.

When did that happen?

When God created man (see Genesis 1:26), He gave man dominion over everything on this planet. When Adam and Eve sinned by rebelling against God, they in effect turned that dominion over to the devil. It was handed over to satan... but Jesus took it back (see Matthew 28:18 and Revelation 1:17-18).

Those who believe in Jesus are no longer under the rule of Satan (Colossians 1:13). Unbelievers, on the other hand, are caught “in the snare of the devil” (2 Timothy 2:26), and lie in the “power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), and are in bondage to satan (Ephesians 2:2).

When you accept Jesus as Lord over your life, you receive His righteousness (Romans 5:19-22) which is better than man’s hypocritical self-righteousness... as it is the only thing that will free you from the power and the penalty of sin and release you from the authority of the devil.

According to 1st Corinthians 1:30:
But it is from Him that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our Wisdom from God, [revealed to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as] our Righteousness [thus making us upright and putting us in right standing with God], and our Consecration [making us pure and holy], and our Redemption [providing our ransom from eternal penalty for sin].

1st Corinthians 1:30 [AMP]
I could never be holier-than-thou... but in Christ, I hold the position that He has won, because I rely on, lean on, and wholly depend on Him. How cool is that?

And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.

Philippians 3:9 [AMP]
The penalty of sin no longer applies to me... not by any work that I have done... but because of the love and mercy of God through Jesus Christ my Lord. Woo hoo!

Hold your mouse over these scriptures to see how you have been (or can be) justified before God by what Christ has done:
  • Romans 4:25
  • Romans 3:20-25
  • Romans 5:1-9
Yes, satan may be the god of this world... but he ain’t got nothing over me. And, if you have accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made on your behalf, you are also free from the devil’s power.

As earthquakes, wars, and other phenomena continue to occur... be encouraged that heaven is just getting that much closer. While that might be terrifying for those in this world, it is reason for rejoicing by those of us who are in Christ.

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