The Faith of Demons Won’t Help You At All!

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The Faith of Demons Won’t Help You At All!

James R. Aist

“You believe in God. Believe also in Me.” – Jesus (John 14:1b)

There seems to be some lingering confusion among some who claim to be Christians about whom one has to believe in to be a genuine, born-again Christian. For example, some say of their conversion experience, “I found God.” Others may confess their Christian faith by saying “I believe in God.” And surely one must believe in God the Father to be saved. But, does belief in only God the Father really fulfill the requirements for salvation recorded to the Bible?

According to Jesus, one must believe not only in God the Father, but also in Jesus, His only begotten Son (John 3:16, John 6:29 and John 14:1b) to fulfill God’s requirements for salvation. But its not that simple, because even the demons believe in God and that Jesus is His Son (James 2:19; Matthew 8:9), and yet they are condemned to hell. What, then, is missing from the faith of demons?

The answer lies in the fact that there are two kinds of “belief”: there is mere mental ascent to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, and there is mental ascent along with surrender to the lordship of the Son of God. The faith of Demons is the former kind, because Satan is their lord, whereas saving faith – the faith of true believers – is the latter kind, because Jesus is their Lord. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21), and “You believe in God. Believe also in Me” (John 14:1b). As James pointed out, “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:17); dead faith is the faith of demons and will not solve your sin problem.

So, if you have not yet surrendered yourself to the lordship of Jesus Christ, then you have the faith of demons, and you need to take care of that right away. Jesus is not your Savior if He is not your Lord!

(To read more of my articles on Bible topics, click HERE.)

Why Does God Allow Satan to Tempt Us?

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Why Does God Allow Satan to Tempt Us?

James R. Aist

“Then Jesus was led up into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1)

The Bible alludes to “temptations” using various terms, such as tests, adversities, trials, persecutions and tribulations. This is because temptation is portrayed primarily as a testing of our faith in, and loyalty to, God. There’s no doubt about it: every man from Adam to Jesus to us has been or will be “put to the test” (cf., Psalm 11:5; John 16:33; 1 Peter 4:12; Hebrews 4:15; Revelation 3:10). To further establish the truth of this point, let’s expand, somewhat, this trail of temptation in the Bible, so that we may more fully grasp its inevitability. God allowed Satan to tempt Eve (and through her, Adam) in the Garden of Eden using a slanderous lie; God allowed Satan to tempt Job by destroying all of his earthly possessions, except his life and his wife; Abraham was tested by God when He instructed him to offer his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering; David was tested by the fearful sight of a giant, Goliath, who was mocking the God of Israel to his face; Jesus was led up into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil; Peter was tempted to deny that he was a follower of Jesus; we are tempted by Satan (1 Peter 5:8) to sin and to abandon our faith in Jesus; and, at the end of the millennial reign of Jesus, Satan will tempt the inhabitants of the earth to join him in mounting one last army to defeat Jesus and His followers. So, the question arises, “Why does God allow Satan to tempt us?” To put the question another way, “Why hasn’t God forbidden Satan to tempt us during this Age of Grace?” Isn’t it enough that we have declared, sincerely, our allegiance to Him?

The short answer to this question is, “No, mere words, by themselves, are not enough.” But why Does God require more than our solemn word on it? I believe that the Bible gives two, interconnected and fundamental answers to this question. First, let’s take a close look at Genesis 3, where we can find one answer. Satan was allowed to test the fidelity of Adam and Eve toward God, and the first man and woman, representing to God all of mankind, failed the test. What followed, necessarily, was a cosmic consequence of “biblical proportions”: Adam and Eve had to be banished from God’s presence in the Garden of Eden to an outside world ruled by God’s arch enemy, Satan. Adam and Eve got it wrong, and the whole of creation has been paying the price for their transgression ever since. What if God, in giving mankind a second chance, requires us all to get it right this time by willfully obeying God, not Satan, when Satan tests our loyalty to Him. Our loyalty to God must be demonstrated by our willful obedience to God when we are tested. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15).” That is the proof that God requires, beyond mere words to that effect; words are cheap, but actions can have eternal consequences. So, in my view, that is one reason why God is allowing Satan to remain active on the earth during this Age of Grace. My perception is that God is using Satan to test and prove our faith, in order to demonstrate that what we have is not mere mental ascent to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:21), but saving faith that endures to the end (Matthew 10:22; 1 Corinthians 10:13). The other answer to this question can be gleaned from a study of Job 1-2. Satan challenged Job’s faith in God and received God’s permission to try to persecute Job into cursing Him. This challenge, in effect, turned into a contest between God and Satan to determine if God’s power to keep Job faithful to Him was greater than Satan’s power to get Job to deny Him. Now, the Bible says that it is by the power of God that believers are kept faithful to the end (1 Peter 1:3-5). By allowing Satan to test the faith of Job, God demonstrated that His power to keep Job faithful was greater than Satan’s power to destroy Job’s faith. The Apostle Paul said it like this, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities nor powers, neither things present nor things to come, neither height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).” So now we can surmise that God has a dual purpose in allowing Satan to tempt us: To demonstrate that a) saving faith is the kind of faith that withstands even the assaults of Satan, and b) God is more powerful than Satan in the battle for the souls of mankind. To me, these are reassuring insights concerning my own eternal destiny.

But that’s not all. In the Bible we find that the testing of our faith has other important purposes. It strengthens us against future temptations (2 Corinthians 12:10); it prepares us for future ministry in His kingdom (Hebrews 2:18; 2 Corinthians 1:4); it helps to perfect us in God’s eyes (Romans 5:2-4); and it reveals to us what is in our hearts and minds, so that we will know that He judges rightly when the time comes (Jeremiah 17:10).

And, there’s still more. When this Age of Grace is over, Satan will no longer be allowed to tempt us; he will have fulfilled God’s purposes in allowing him to tempt us during the Age of Grace, and he will be banished to the Lake of Fire for eternity, far away from us. As a result, those of us who are born again in this life will be able to enjoy the next life with Christ (Matthew 10:2) in a new and amazing world free of temptations. What a glorious day that will be!

(To read more biblically oriented articles on this website, click HERE)

 

The Forgotten “WHYs”

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The Forgotten “WHYs”

 James R. Aist

“We know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22)

Why is there rampant evil and suffering in a world created by a sovereign, loving and perfectly moral God? In other words, why do hatred, murder, so-called acts of God (earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fire, etc.), lying, stealing, betrayal, pride, greed, poverty, injustice, racism, suffering and political corruption abound, if a good God created the world to be “very good”? Inquiring minds want to know why.

It occurs to me that, as life on this planet becomes seemingly more and more fraught with evil of one kind or another, it is God who is being blamed for these various trials and tribulations. I suppose that is partly due to the fact that the God of the Bible is all-powerful (omnipotent), and could, at least theoretically, put an end to all of it at any time, if only He really wanted to. Although much of human suffering is actually a direct result of human choices and actions, far too few of us are willing to take responsibility for our part in it. It is too convenient to just blame God and acquit ourselves of any wrongdoing. We may ask “Why?”, and then quickly point a finger at God.

I am not claiming to know fully why it is that God allows such evil and suffering to continue in this present age. But the specific questions I want to address here are 1) “Did something happen in the Garden of Eden that changed the dwelling place of man from a utopia to a dangerous, burdensome and painful abode?” and 2) “Who is really behind all of this suffering?” Of course, the answers to these questions are not a mystery to those of us who are familiar with the Word of God (the Holy Bible) and believe what it says. But the younger generations are increasingly looking everywhere except the Bible to find answers to these important questions. And if God even enters their process of searching for answers, it is ultimately to blame God, rather than to seek real answers where they may be found; i.e., in the Bible. So, let’s see if we can shed some fresh light on this question and stop “passing the buck” by blaming God. If you really want to know “why” there is so much evil and suffering in this world, then here are some of the “WHYs.”

The Perfect Beginning

Let’s begin at the beginning. The God of the Bible, the One who created the Universe, is, in fact, morally perfect. And, as one would expect, His finished work of creation was also perfect (complete and without flaw), as attested by His description of it as “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The first two human beings, Adam and Eve, were also created as morally perfect creatures. They apparently had a close, personal relationship with their Creator, being accustomed to walking and talking with Him in the cool of the day, as implied in Genesis 3:8-10. They had no knowledge of good or evil, and all was well in the Garden of Eden. But then, something went terribly wrong. To fully understand and comprehend the impact of what was to follow, we must bear in mind that Adam and Eve, as the first human beings, were representative of all humans who followed, including us. As progeny of Adam, we have inherited the kind of world he left for us.    

Remember “The “Fall”!

“Satan lured Adam and Eve to compromise one single act, one slip of holiness, and from there he has brought unspeakable carnage to the human race and to the earth.” – John Eldredge, “The Utter Relief of Holiness”

One day Adam and Eve were persuaded, by the lies of Satan, to disobey God, thus committing what is known as the “original sin.” They were no longer morally perfect, having fallen from their morally perfect condition, and they had to be cast out of the presence of the holy God because of it (Genesis 3:23-24). This changed everything, as Adam and Eve soon learned that there is a big price to be paid for disobeying God. And we are still paying this price today; we have inherited, so to speak, from Adam a “sin nature”, an inborn desire to reject God’s provision and follow our own path in life. That, my friends, provides a basic explanation for what we commonly refer to as “man’s inhumanity to man”, which includes such things as hatred, murder, lying, stealing, betrayal, greed, racism, poverty and injustice.

And there is another dimension to the consequences of the Fall, as eloquently explained by David Limbaugh in “The Emmaus Code”: “…the one thing that best revitalizes my faith during intermittent moments of doubt is, paradoxically, the pervasiveness of evil, suffering, and despair that we see all around us, and the inexplicably twisted values that increasingly define our culture. This unfathomability of the human condition, this perverse moral inversion we witness, this willing abandonment of logic and distortion of the language, cannot possibly be understood, in my view, apart from the Bible. Without the Bible, none of this makes any sense to me, but with it, I see how sin entered the world in the fall and how it has corrupted God’s perfect creation.” So we can see that the inexplicably twisted values, the perverse moral inversion, the willing abandonment of logic and the distortion of the language, which so many of us have run up against in trying to resist the liberalism and progressivism that increasingly define our culture, are also consequences of sin entering the world in the Garden of Eden.

The “Curses”

In response to this original sin, God pronounced curses on the Devil, on Adam and Eve, and on the whole of creation (Genesis 3:14-20). Not only were Adam and Eve (and us, by extension) banished from the presence of God, but Adam would now have to eke out a living by hard labor and the sweat of his brow, and Eve would experience greatly multiplied pain in childbirth and submission to her husband. But, perhaps the most significant curse of all is that Adam and Eve (and, by extension, us) were to suffer both spiritual death (separation from God) and physical death (return to dust, Genesis 3:19).

Even the ground itself was cursed because of Adam’s sin, for from now on it would bring forth thorns and thistles (Genesis 3:17-18) in place of edible food. In this regard, the Apostle Paul had this to add: “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but by the will of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now” (Romans 8:20-22). And so here we have the basic explanation for so-called “acts of God” (earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, etc.) and, most likely, for political corruption as well: the whole of creation is being subjected to “futility”, to “slavery to corruption”, to “groaning” and to “travailing in pain.” We may not know for sure everything that Paul is referring to here, but we do know for sure that it is all bad and all a result of sin entering the world.

But, there’s even more to it than this, much more.

The Prince

In trying to understand why evil and suffering are so rampant in the world, we mustn’t overlook the one who started all the trouble in the first place: ol’ “slew foot” himself, Satan. When Satan rebelled against God, he was cast down to the earth (Job 1:7 and 2:2, Isaiah 14:13, Luke 10:18 and 1 Peter 5:8). And, as part of the curse on Satan following Adam’s original sin, God said “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring” (Genesis 3:15). This is why the Bible refers to Satan as “the enemy of our souls” (Psalm 143:3). For the time being, he is the Prince of this world (John 14; 30) the Prince of the air of this world (Ephesians 2:2), meaning that he has power and considerable influence over worldly affairs, including the affairs of mankind. Jesus said of him that he comes only to kill, to steal and to destroy (John 10:10). And Peter warned us to “Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Rest assured, then, that the devil, Satan, and his minions, are ultimately behind much, if not most, of “man’s inhumanity to man.” The Apostle Paul put it this way: “For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). While man’s sinful nature is clearly at work here, Satan is hard at work also, usually behind the scenes, to encourage, amplify, multiply and reward our sinful deeds.

The Promise

At this point, you may wonder if this morally perfect God will ever set things right and restore His Creation to its original, perfect condition. The answer is, “Yes, He will eventually do just that.” God promised to do this when He said to Satan “…he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15), a clear reference to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, the offspring of Eve. When Jesus came the first time as the sacrificial Lamb of God to pay the price (death) for our sins (John 1:29), He set this restoration process in motion. When he comes again, He will complete the restoration by judging all of mankind (Matthew 25:31-46) and rewarding each, even Christians (2 Corinthians 5:10), according to his deeds – whether good or bad – and ushering in a new heaven and a new earth where justice, righteousness and peace will prevail forevermore (Revelation 221:1-8), to the glory of God.

The Waits

“Justice delayed is not justice denied.” – Raymond F. Culpepper

But, you may ask, “If God intends to restore His creation to its original, perfect condition, why is He waiting so long to do it?” There are actually two questions here: 1) “Why did He wait so long to send Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, to pay the price for our sins?”; and 2) “Why is He waiting so long to send Him back as the Lion of Judah to conquer evil and establish His perfect Kingdom here on earth?”

I am not aware that the Bible clearly addresses the first question directly, but it does talk about “the fullness of time” and “the time is fulfilled” in reference to the timing of Jesus’ First Coming (Galatians 4:4-5; Mark 1:14-15; and Ephesians 1:7-10). And, in reference to the timing of His Second Coming, Jesus said “It is not for you to know the times or the dates, which the Father has fixed by His own authority.” So, we can surmise that God, in His sovereignty, set the timing of Jesus First Coming in order to best fulfill His divine plan of salvation. Personally, I am inclined to speculate that God was waiting until His relationship with His chosen people, Israel, had been fully and firmly established and formalized before bringing Jesus onto the scene bodily, so as to fully verify Jesus as the promised Messiah and to facilitate the rapid establishment of the Christian church.

This brings us to the second question: “Why is God waiting so long to send Jesus back as the Lion of Judah to conquer evil and establish His perfect Kingdom here on earth?” This is also a tough question to answer fully. The Apostle Peter, however, offers this explanation: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). But, who is the “everyone” to whom Peter refers here? I believe the Apostle Paul has provided a clue: “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25). Taken together, these scriptures seem to imply that God has a particular number of persons in mind to be saved, and He will not complete the restoration until that number of people has been saved. This may be a new teaching to some, and it may seem harsh, but keep in mind that if God does not, at some point in time, close the door to heaven, then the end time events will never be completed, because, for one reason or another, there will always be people who are not yet saved.

Summary

One need only look to the Bible to get a basic understanding of why evil and suffering are so rampant in today’s world. The fall of man, original sin, the sin nature of man, the resultant curses and the Prince of the air of this world (These are the forgotten “WHYs”) have all conspired to put the world in the godless, degenerate and immoral condition it is in. But God is already in the process of restoring the world to its original, good and moral condition through the initial work of Jesus on the earth and the continuing work of His disciples, including you and me. When Jesus comes again and the “full number” of people (as determined by and known only to God) has been saved, He will complete the process.

Are you one of those people God will save? What are you waiting for? Stop running from God, and let Him save you today!

(To read more Bible Teachings by Professor Aist, click HERE.)

God Does Not Make Anyone Homosexual!

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God Does Not Make Anyone Homosexual!

James R. Aist

 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

Introduction

In a separate article (click HERE), I have gone into considerable detail to show that “born gay” is a monumental myth being perpetrated by gay activists in a vain attempt to validate and legitimize homosexuality. Many so-called “gay Christians” claim further that homosexual people are not only born gay, but that God created them that way (with same-sex attractions). The implication is that, since God made them “that way”, both their homosexuality and their practice of homosexuality should be fully accepted and celebrated by Christians and the Christian church as a “gift from God.” So, let’s take a closer look at the Scriptures and see if we can discern the truth: are same-sex attractions from God, and, if not, where do they come from?

Same-sex Attractions Are Not from God

The claim that same-sex attractions are a gift from God is diametrically opposed to the biblical witness; there are scriptural proofs that God is not the source of the same-sex attractions and desires that homosexual people experience. Firstly, the Bible clearly and consistently condemns homosexual behavior, in any context, as sin (Genesis 19:5 with Jude 1:7; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9-10; and I Timothy 1:10). Now, if God himself were to instill same-sex attractions and desires into homosexual people, then, by doing so, He would be tempting them to sin sexually. However, the Bible also states, emphatically, that God does not tempt anyone to sin (James 1:13-14). The necessary conclusion is that the God of the Bible would not create anyone homosexual, because to do so would violate His very nature and character, which is to hate sin. And secondly, after God had created Adam and Eve as heterosexual people, the Bible says that “God saw all that he made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). “All that He had made” could not have included homosexuality, because the Bible clearly and consistently condemns homosexual behavior as evil, not as good. And that — the creation of Adam and Eve –- was “…the last of the work of creation that God was doing” (Genesis 2:2). It follows, then, that God not only would not, but He also did not, create anyone homosexual. What kind of a “god” would create human beings that he purposely made to be an abomination to himself?! Homosexuality must have first appeared at some later time, after God had finished creating. That is what the Bible teaches us about the matter. It is up to us to honor God by believing His Word.

Since God made us male and female in the beginning and told us to multiply and fill the earth, it would be both contradictory and counterproductive to, then, make some of us homosexual. The God of the Bible does not act at cross purposes with Himself! But we know of someone who does act at cross purposes with God, don’t we.

Where, Then, Do Same-sex Attractions Come From?

The Bible says that sin entered the world through the “original sin” of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-19) after the last of the work of creation that God was doing (Genesis 2:2), and that “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed” (James 1:14). Thus, same-sex sexual attraction (i.e., homosexuality) is a result of sin entering the world through the disobedience of Adam, just as are all other temptations to sin. Moreover, the root source of the original temptation to sin was none other than Satan (i.e., “the serpent”) himself: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:1-6). Thus did temptation to sin enter the world.

Implications for Today

Since Satan, not God, is behind the same-sex urges that homosexual people experience, it follows that such urges do not constitute a valid argument that God approves of either same-sex attractions or their volitional consequences, namely, homosexual acts. In fact, it is slander of the worst kind to accuse the God of the Bible of making anyone homosexual! God’s moral laws were given to communicate the sinfulness of our urges (e.g., lying, stealing, vengeance, adultery, fornication, and homosexual sex) that are opposed to His will. And, as born-again Christians comprising the true Christian church, we are called to love homosexual people enough to be witnesses to these truths (Matthew 5:13-16), so that the Holy Spirit can use our witness to help convict them of their homosexual sins and lead them to repentance and salvation. “The Lord is … not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). And neither are we willing that any should perish.

(For more articles on HOMOSEXUALITY by Professor Aist, click HERE)