Vol. 3, No. 10
The Devil, also known as Satan, is real. Though he is a spirit being without a fleshly body, the devil is a real person. (God the Father, the Holy Spirit and the angels are other spirit beings who do not have fleshly bodies. They are all real persons, too.)
We can know that Satan is a real person since: (1) He is mentioned along with other real persons, including Jesus Christ. (2) He is described with personal characteristics such as speaking, tempting and lying. (3) The devil is one of several angels who sinned and was punished by God. (4) God has prepared an eternal place for Satan and his angels. See Matthew 4:1-11; 25:41; John 8:44; and 2 Peter 2:4.
The devil is evil and desires people to become evil like him. Further, Satan will be punished forever in hell and he wants everyone to suffer the same punishment. In a figure, Scripture views the devil as a vicious lion stalking his prey. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
Fortunately, the power of Satan today is limited by God. See 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6. Therefore, mankind is able to resist the influence of Satan. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
However, evil people are servants of the devil and they influence others around them to become evil also. The apostle Paul called a man a "child of the devil" (Acts 13:6-12) for trying to prevent another man from hearing the Word of God. Sometimes men who serve Satan appear to be righteous.
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
When anyone practices sin, he is serving the devil. "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8). To turn away from righteous living is said in Scripture to be turning to Satan. "For some are already turned aside after Satan" (1 Timothy 5:15). Sadly, many people turn from God to Satan. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1).
The devil is real and his evil influence is powerful. Many people are also evil and are children of the devil. However, remember, Satan can be resisted. Therefore, each of us has the personal responsibility: (1) to resist the devil, (2) to not practice sin, and (3) to submit to the will of God. Daily study of the New Testament will help one to accomplish these three goals (2 Timothy 2:15).
By Louis Rushmore
Many of the names for God's people that appear in the Old Testament are found in the New Testament, too. These names include: "members" (1 Corinthians 12:27), "disciples" (Acts 6:1; 20:7), "believers" (Acts 5:14), "saints" (Acts 9:13; 1 Corinthians 1:2), "brethren" (Romans 8:14) and "children of God" (1 John 3:1-2).
Additional New Testament names for God's people include: "beloved of God" (Romans 1:7), "heirs of God" (Romans 8:17) and "royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9). There is also a special, new name for God's people used in the New Testament; that name is "Christian."
Several hundred years before the time of Jesus Christ the prophet Isaiah foretold of a new name that God would give his people. By divine inspiration he wrote:
"For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name" (Isaiah 62:1-2). (emphasis added)
Isaiah taught that once the Gentiles gained entrance into the kingdom (which is the church), all of God's people would "be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name." After the admission of Cornelius and his household the new name, CHRISTIAN, was given to God's people. The new name Christian appears three times in the New Testament:
". . . And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26).
"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian" (Acts 26:28).
"Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf" (1 Peter 4:16). (emphasis added)
The term Christian uniquely describes one's relationship to his Redeemer and serves as a constant reminder of Christ. Appropriately, Christians are the individuals who comprise the "churches of Christ" (Romans 16:16). Both of these individual and church names for God's people glorify Jesus Christ. Do the individual and group names by which you are known religiously glorify Jesus Christ? Every soul should strive to be a Christian only since only Christians comprise the one, true church of the Bible.