Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Nice try, but, um...not quite!  I get the whole good verses evil thing, satan and demons against God and His angels in spiritual warfare:

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  (Eph 6:12. ESV.)

But, if satan was bound and imprisoned tomorrow (no longer able to wreak havoc on earth), would man still struggle with sin?  With satan as the originator of sin...would it stop if he was not around?  Wayne Grudem does not sound as though he believes so.  He states,
"[T]he New Testament wants us to understand that there is some degree of demonic influence in nearly all wrongdoing and sin that occurs today.  Not all sin is caused by satan or demons, nor is the major influence or cause of sin demonic activity, but demonic activity is probably a factor in almost all sin and almost all destructive activity that opposes the work of God in the world today."  (SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY. 1994. Grand Rapids, MI. pg. 422)

Though God is all powerful and everywhere, satan is not! (This is not to say spiritual warfare does not take place. I believe it does. I am simply stating satan most likely picks and chooses his battles carefully...spending majority of his time (of course) on people or things that will cause the most damage.)

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. (Rev. 20:1-3. ESV.)

Regarding this scripture, Grudem states,
"Here satan is described as completely deprived of any ability to influence the earth.  During the millennium, however, there will still be sin in the hearts of the unbelievers, which will grow until the end of the thousand years when there will be a large-scale rebellion against Christ, led by satan who, having been 'loosened from his prison' (Rev. 20:7), will come to lead that rebellion (Rev. 20:8-9).  The fact that sin and rebelliousness persist in people's hearts apart from the activity of satan, even during the thousand year reign of Christ, shows we cannot blame all sin in the world on satan and his demons.  Even when satan is without influence in the world, sin will remain and be a problem in people's hearts."  (SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY. 1994. Grand Rapids, MI. pg. 419)

The Punishment of Sin

I have been asked why a loving God would sentence people to an eternity in hell where there will be gnashing of teeth. I feel my own words are so inadequate on this matter but it is my opinion Grudem explains it well. He says,
"Although God's punishment of sin does serve as a deterrent against further sinning and as a warning to those who observe it, this is not the primary reason why God punishes sin.  The primary reason is that God's righteousness demands it, so that he might be glorified in the universe that he has created.  He is the Lord who practices 'steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, says the Lord' (Jer. 9:24)."  (SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY. 1994. Grand Rapids, MI. pg. 509)

Why not sin? Why no misbehave and do things on my terms, my way?! Who does it hurt if I tell a little lie or "borrow" something that does not belong to me? It's not like I'm committing murder or adultery! Besides, no one would even know!

One of my favorite pieces of scripture regarding sin is Numbers 32:23. It kind of has a "What goes around, comes around" ring to it and reminds me to stay in line.

23 But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.  (Numbers 32:23. ESV.)
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