Monday, August 04, 2008

# 258: The Devil’s Trap

2nd Timothy 2:25-26. “Those who oppose him [the Lord] he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will."

Mark 4:18-19. “Still others . . . hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” These are just a few of the activities most of us may be engaged in, which are the devil’s favorite traps. This similar theme is also presented in Matthew 13:22 and Luke 8:14.

When we initially accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we freely enter into the first phase of discipleship. As new disciples of Jesus Christ, we must learn how we are expected to live in a way that pleases the one who bought us. 1st Corinthians 6:19 [at this time]. “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” Since we literally sold ourselves in exchange for eternal life, we now belong to Christ, and therefore we are obligated to obey all His detailed instructions. As His disciples, there is only one authority as to where we can learn what is expected of us: the New Testament (NT) of the Christian Bible. Let us make sure we have an up-to-date Bible with our modern language and not one of antiquity, like the King James Bible. There are several good ones; I prefer the New International Version.

Now for those who believe they are Christians and disciples of Christ, and are standing firm in the Lord without an intimate knowledge of our instructions in the NT: take warning. It just may be that your faith is in vain and useless. Repeating, all the instructions in the NT are of absolute necessity to know and obey. Because it is our obedience to His commands which is conclusive evidence that we belong to the Son of God. If we are not producing good fruit/deeds/works—they are one and the same—regardless of how much and how loudly we shout from the rooftops that we are Christians, we are being tricked/deceived (in the devil’s trap) without knowing it. It is impossible to be genuine Christians if we are not heading in that direction of knowledge and obedience. If anyone has a legitimate argument with what is being said herein, please leave a comment or send an email.

In the name of Jesus Christ, I strongly suggest to everyone to read the complete NT or listen to it via CDs at the minimum of once a month; the exception is the book of Revelation. If you have never read it before, read it once just so you know basically how confusing and extremely difficult, if not impossible, most sections are to understand. Of course, chapters 2 and 3 are informative concerning the seven churches, as to what God hates and glories in. Even though I think most of you have in past times read the NT, notwithstanding, unless you have a photographic memory, much of what is of extreme importance will/may be forgotten. Just remember, we are not just talking about the ins and outs of religion—this is a matter of your life and death, and I am not excluded.

As we continue to listen to or read the NT and become familiar with its contents, we will notice contradictions, especially in the four gospels. Do not let that trouble anyone. Those errors do not take away from the holiness, love and purity of God and Christ, or the basis of Godly authority in the NT. The most likely reason why one gospel is different than another is because several centuries before any manuscripts were copulated by the early church in the third and fourth centuries, many people attempted to formulate the facts surrounding the life of Jesus. Apart from the four gospels we now have, there were many more accounts written of the life of Jesus Christ. They were rejected as being inconsistent with the four that seemed to be most creditable. Luke 1:1. “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us . . .” And besides that, the gospels and epistles were written—some possibly from memory—20 to 40 and even more years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Then in 315 A.D., after years of squabbling over what letters and gospels were to be included in the Holy Canon, Atheanius, a powerful, early church leader, was influential enough to finally recommend that only 27 books be included as the NT. They remain to this day. That seems to indicate, that individual gospels/letters of the NT were floating around from church to church for over two centuries. Therefore, during that time, human error or intentional changes have taken their toll. Evidence of those individuals’ letters moving from one church to another is seen in several places, but none are more evident than in the first verses of the books of James and 1st Peter. James 1:1. “James, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations . . .” 1st Peter 1:1. “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.” If anyone desires more information on this subject, click on post # 110: “Contradictions and Uncertainties.”

The good thing about knowing that these errors exist is that no one can surprise us by throwing them into our faces, such as atheists or those who just want to rattle our faith. Another good that can come out of these inconsistencies is if someone doesn’t really believe or has a meager faith, these errors will be a good excuse for them to forsake their religion. Good riddance.

Back to the main subject: Even though living in a way which pleases God and Christ cannot save us, it is absolutely necessary as confirmation that our faith is real, without any mealy-mouth excuses. Actually, it is impossible to live a holy life without the information of what Christ commands, which is available only in the NT. Some might say, “But I pray, go to church, watch Christian programming on TV, etc. Isn’t that enough to prove that I am a Christian?” An astounding no! That is the reason Christianity is in the sad shape it is in. Don’t believe all that some preachers of trickery teach, what Christian books exclaim, or even this Biblical blog, even though I elaborate or try to explain the full impact of many of Christ’s teachings.

Some might ask, “How, then, were people saved in the Middle or Dark Ages, or even before, when Bibles were forbidden to be in the possession of the common people?” That is a good question. The only answer I can give is that God is just, and if a person’s heart is right, I am sure exceptions have/will be made. But now that Bibles are a dime a dozen, those exceptions cannot be made for ignoring God’s Word.

Another reason why Christianity has become a passive religion is because we do not obey these upcoming commands and many others like them: 1st Corinthians 15:58. “Therefore, my brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Hebrews 10:24. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” That is one of the main intentions of this blog.

This is worthy of repeating: The only way we can protect ourselves, or better yet, allow God to protect us from Satan’s trickery and trap, is to become familiar with all the instructions in the New Testament as to what is good and what may not appear to be evil, but still is ungodly and of the devil. When we are in the devil’s trap, we, most likely, will be the last ones to know it, since the devil makes his schemes seem acceptable and many times even godly. We must never forget this fact: The devil’s business is deceit. The sad part of deceit is that we all are being deceived—hopefully in a small way—in one way or another, regardless of how holy we may believe we are. The thing is to expose our own deceits by living as closely as possible to every word taught in our instruction book, the NT. Another thing: No one can get all he/she needs to follow the way of holiness and love from going to any church, regardless of how good and decent it may be. It is our own personal responsibility to get it straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were. The reason I say that is because quite often some of the imperative but seemingly impossible-to-adhere-to commands are not mentioned from most pulpits, so as not to lose church members.

Several of those pivotal verses come to mind, the ones we most often are guilty of, concerning living as part of this self-centered world. “Though we live in the world, we are not to be part of the world.” 1st John 2:15-17. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has or does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” Personally, this command poses no difficulties for me, but may be a great sacrifice for some.

This next verse is one of the most difficult for me to obey: Colossians 3:1-2. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” The reason this is difficult for me is because I take this verse literally. The word “set” is what gives this verse teeth; it doesn’t mean occasionally, but constantly.

There are so many worldly chores that have to be done in life where one must put his/her mind completely on what one is doing, which may have nothing to do with “things above.” Therefore, we must attempt to get engaged in as few things as humanly possible that take our minds off heavenly things. No matter how I look at it, this, I believe, is the most difficult command to conform to in the NT. This command is one where the evil one can have a heyday (the devil’s trap). He loves it when we somehow have our minds on important earthly things and not on Godly things.

3 comments:

Pearls and Diamonds said...

Some great scriptures and thoughts...keep writing for Jesus!

Blessings,

Abigail @ Pearls and Diamonds

JC said...

Abidgail

Thanks much for your generous comment. You said so much using only a few words. It is people like you who make the Spirit of Jesus Christ come alive in our lives. jc

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