|Volume 20 Number 2 February 2018||
Gary C. Hampton
Jesus called Satan “a murderer from the beginning" and the father of liars (John 8:44). He referred to the incident recorded in Genesis 3 when Satan deceived the woman. There are some important lessons for us in this tragic story.
Satan focused on the prohibition instead of the provision (Genesis 3:1). He subtlety got her to focus on the only fruit in the garden she could not eat. Today, there are those who whine because of what they do not have. We need to focus on giving thanks instead (1 Thessalonians 5:18). After all, God has given us the greatest possible gift (2 Corinthians 9:15; Romans 8:32).
Satan denied the reality of the curse of death (Genesis 3:4). The father of lies called God the Father a liar (Genesis 2:17). Some live today as if there were no death, much like the rich man in Jesus’ parable (Luke 12:16-21). Everyone needs to realize that even with the great advances in medicine, each has an appointment with death (Hebrews 9:27).
Satan denied God’s loving kindness by saying God denied man access to something good (Genesis 3:5). We need to recognize God is good and the source of every good gift (Psalm 136:1; James 1:17). God and His Word have been charged with being anti-woman when He actually made her the crowning act of creation (Genesis 2:22-23). The virtuous wife is praised, and husbands are commanded to love their wives in the strongest of terms (Proverbs 31:10; Ephesians 5:25-28).
Satan said man could set his own law by telling him “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5b). Some would have us believe we can set our own path to salvation. Jesus said we must do the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21). Paul said God no longer will overlook ignorance, He but insists that all repent (Acts 17:30). The way to the new life is through being buried with Christ in baptism and raised to live a new life (Romans 6:3-4).
Ignore Satan’s lies. Live each day according to God’s will, knowing that is the path to entering Heaven.
Where Does Following Satan Lead?
According to the church of Satan’s website, from their nine Satanic statements, “Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence” (statement 1), and “Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental or emotional gratification” (statement 8). Just what kind of lifestyle will giving oneself over to sin bring about? What about the individual who engages in sin continually and indiscriminately?
It is true that there is gratification in sin, but it is short-term satisfaction at best. The Hebrew writer wrote that there is passing pleasure in sin (Hebrews 11:25), and the pleasure one can receive from engaging in sin is what Satan wants you to contemplate. As Jesus pointed out, Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), and there is no truth in him. His purpose is to deceive (Revelation 20:10). What he doesn’t include with temptation is the knowledge of to what sin leads, beyond the immediate, short-lived pleasure it offers.
Paul wrote that there is shame associated with a sinful lifestyle (Romans 6:21). Even in Rome in the first century, as wicked and immoral as it was and as ingrained as that lifestyle was, Paul noted that those sinners knew those who engaged in such activities deserved to die (Romans 1:32). Sin doesn’t satisfy desires; it only stirs them up to go further, deeper and until they become entrenched in a person’s life. This is why Paul told us that so many are “slaves of sin” (Romans 6:20) and that sin only leads to more and more lawlessness (6:19). Giving oneself over to the gratification of sin only sets one on a path that is a downward spiral. If left unchecked, it leads to various problems for oneself and one’s relationships with others.
How many drug addicts began taking drugs while thinking addiction would follow from the gratification drugs offer? How many who engage in sexual immorality realized the health issues it can create or the broken homes to which it can lead? How many of those who commit suicide do so because of what sin has done to them, physically, mentally and emotionally? Having spoken to so many about this through the years, those who fall in all of these categories, following after Satan and sin offers a host of problems that worsen over time.
The result of such a lifestyle, however, becomes unmistakable in eternity. Scripture makes clear there is a Day of Judgment. “For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Jesus told us that hell is real, a place where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51). The reality of a place of eternal punishment should cause everyone to stop and reflect on his or her life. For what ought we to live? Sin offers short-term gratification that leads to eternal punishment! Living in the righteousness of God may bring temporal trials, but such leads to eternal life! In choosing Christ and living by the Gospel, there is life indeed, with no shame and no regrets. Satan’s fate is sealed (Matthew 25:41). Choose what is truly life.