Step Towards Transformation
An old song I remember starts with “There’s something wrong with the world today”. I have not found anyone who has disagreed with that. Things just seem to get worse everyday.
This week, we look into who Satan is and how he deceived mankind into rejecting God and accepting his way of death and destruction.
We need to know this to know what is wrong with the world today. This is the 1st step in setting things right.
Jesus said in John 8:32 that “… you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
When we walk in that freedom, we can stand our ground and say to Satan what Neo said at the end of Matrix: “I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you in control.”
A. MAN – THE IMAGE OF GOD – MADE TO HAVE DOMINION
God had a very real reason for creating man (male and female). He had a wonderful plan and purpose for them. Because God is love. He desired to have beings of like-mind and like-heart with whom He could share His life… all that He is and all that He is involved with … who would rule the heavens and the earth with Him like sons. So He created man – in His own image.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:26,27).
God created many wonderful things before He created the heavens and the earth. Among them were the angels – spirit beings whose purpose is to fulfill God’s will. Angels worship God and serve Him continually (Rev 5:11-14).
However, when Lucifer, one of the great leading angels, understood about God’s plan to create man, he rebelled against God. He wanted to be above God’s Throne. He wanted the position and authority God had planned for mankind. He wanted to rule all creation from above God’s Throne in Heaven
When Lucifer rebelled, God cast him out of Heaven. At the same time, one-third of the angels joined in his rebellion and were cast out with Lucifer (Rev 12:4).
“How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star (Lucifer), son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
“You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa 14:12-14).
Lucifer was cast to the earth, where he is now known as ‘Satan’ or ‘The Devil’. Separated from the glory of the Creator God, he lost the beauty and light he had once had (Eze 28:11-17) and became evil and full of darkness
The angels who fell with him also lost their glory and became evil spirits, in God’s newly created world. But Satan’s evil ambition did not change and so he set about with another plan to try and usurp (unlawfully take) God’s Throne – he went after the man God had created.
God gave His first man and woman (Adam and Eve) authority over all the earth, and told them to keep it under His dominion.
To keep them safe from Satan and his evil spirits, God planted two special trees in the garden where Adam and Eve lived. God called them ‘The Tree of Life’ and ‘The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil’ (see Genesis 2:9,17).
The Tree of Life represented the Life and Authority of God Himself – so in eating its fruit, Adam and Eve would be filled more and more with God’s strength and love and glory.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represented Satan’s life and authority, and as long as Adam and Eve did not eat its fruit they were safe from the evil spirits which filled the earth. The dominion of the whole Creation would always be theirs if they obeyed their loving Creator God (Heb. 2:8).
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man.
“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen 2:15-17).
However, Satan deceived Eve. He told her the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil wasn’t really bad – rather it would make them like gods. She believed the lie and ate the fruit of the Tree. Adam, although he knew it was a lie, also ate of the tree (1 Tim 2:14).
“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” (Gen 3:6).
Through that one act of sin, man lost the glory and image of God and the dominion over the Creation. Satan then took the throne vacated by Adam and Even and exercised his dominion over the earth, and death filled the world (Heb 2:14,15).
“….sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because [in Adam] all sinned…. (Rom 5:12).
All the generations following Adam and Eve have inherited their fallen nature. All have come under the power and dominion of Satan.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath” (Eph 2:1-2).
People’s hearts, everywhere, are now filled with:
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave their thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Rom 1:21-23).
“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.
Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (Rom 1:24-27)
“Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.
They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these things, but also approve of theose who practice them” (Rom 1:28-32).
E.GOD’S GREAT PLAN TO RESTORE
God did not give up man because of his sin. No! Instead, He put into action another great plan – the plan to save mankind from Satan’s power and to restore him to His original plan of being His sons and sharing His Throne. He began to prepare the world for the coming of the Savior – Jesus.
“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22). The New Testament records the story of Christ, the One Who would come to save us from our sins.