The Devil IS the Problem!

 In 1 John 5:18-19 we read, “He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of God and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” That last statement is quite disturbing! “The whole world lieth in wickedness.” Why is that? And what, if anything, can be done about it?

 The answer to the first question can be found in the eighteenth verse where it speaks of those born again Christians who “keep themselves and that wicked one toucheth (them) not.” That is not the case with the rest of this world that “lieth in wickedness.” The wicked one does indeed touch them and he does so on a regular basis. Ephesians 2:2 calls him “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” Disobedience to God’s Word is worldwide! Consequently, the wicked one’s impact is also worldwide – for closing the door on God opens it to the adversary. And he walks through that door at every opportunity!

It is interesting to note that there was never any trouble in Heaven until Lucifer gave birth to it. Heaven had always been a perfect Paradise until Lucifer contaminated its atmosphere. “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou was created, till iniquity was found in thee.” (Ezekiel 28:15 – emphasis mine) Iniquity had never existed before. Lucifer fathered it! Perhaps it was for that reason that no offer of mercy was extended to him. Nor was any compassion shown towards the angels who chose to follow him in his mutiny.

In John 8, Jesus told his listeners, “Ye do the deeds of your father…ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do…When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (verses 41 and 44) Iniquity or lawlessness was begotten by Lucifer. He fathered disobedience. And his sin was so repugnant, so totally disgusting, so thoroughly dark and unacceptable, that there was no hope of his ever being reconciled to God. Lucifer’s sin was irreversible and unresolvable – for it gave birth to something that had never before existed! SIN!

And God’s response was immediate! Jesus said, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (Luke 10:18) Heaven had been a magnificent place until Lucifer spoiled it. And once he was cast out, it became a glorious place once again.

Earth was also a wonderful place until the devil came along and ruined it. There was no trouble in Eden until the subtle serpent, the tempter, came spewing out his lies.

And, very shortly, when Satan is bound and cast into the bottomless pit for 1000 years, this earth will once again become the Paradise it was created to be. Isaiah 2:4 says of that time, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them…They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:6, 9)

But look what will transpire as soon as the devil is released at the end of the Millennium. “When the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations…to gather them together to battle, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” (Revelation 20:7-9)

The devil IS the problem! Often times today people cut him far too much slack, saying, “The devil gets all the blame.” Let me assure you – he deserves it! God certainly didn’t feel sorry for him – nor should we!

For you see – the Lord had no trouble whatsoever in getting the angels in Heaven to obey – until iniquity was fathered by Lucifer. And Adam and Eve had no difficulty obeying God’s command to not eat of the tree in the midst of the garden – until that subtle deceiver made his entrance into Paradise. And the people on the Millennial Earth will have no problem with obedience to God until the devil is released to tempt them once again. And while man will certainly be held accountable for his actions – God chose, unlike with Lucifer, to extend mercy to him. It’s the devil the Lord wants destroyed – not mankind. The devil, not man, gave birth to sin. We were tricked into it! We were victimized by it!

When Lucifer was expelled from Heaven, he took himself with him. The plague of sin and iniquity that he possessed followed him wherever he went. He did not cease being who he was when he was kicked out of heaven. Thus, in the atmosphere of Earth where he now found himself, he was just as determined in his insurrection against God as he had been while in Heaven. He was still as resolute as ever to spread the effects of his revolt to as many as he possibly could. Sad to say, he has been extremely successful!

In Heaven he succeeded in corrupting 1/3 of the angels. Unfortunately he has been even more efficacious on Earth. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…” (Revelation 12:9 – emphasis mine) His evil influence has now covered the entire Earth! His evil heart’s desire to be the god of something is being fulfilled right here and right now on this planet where we live! Three times in the book of John, he is referred to as “the prince of this world.” (12:31, 14:30, 16:11) In 2 Corinthians 4:4 he is called “the god of this world.” In Ephesians 2:2 he is said to be “the prince of the power of the air.” And, several times in scripture, he is labelled “the tempter.” The devil IS the problem! But here’s the good news! Jesus IS the problem solver!!

In John 14:30, Jesus said, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me…” Try as he may, the devil could never get a foothold in Jesus’s life. He tried time and again to trip up this last Adam as he had the first one – but all to no avail. Consequently, there was nothing the devil could do to stop Jesus. He could not touch Him! “Behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.” (Matthew 9:32-33) “And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this?…For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.” (Mark 1:27) This man, Christ Jesus, exercised complete authority over all the evil spirits who themselves had exercised authority over everyone else. And there wasn’t anything they could do to stop Him!

This was perhaps the most important reason that God had come to Earth in the form of man. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8 – emphasis mine) “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who…were all their lifetime subject to bondage…” (Hebrews 2:14-15 – emphasis mine)

Jesus defeated the enemy of our souls so that we, through the power of the Holy Ghost, might be delivered, once and for all, from bondage to him! “We know that whosover is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” (1 John 5:18) Through the power of the new birth of water and spirit – we former slaves of the adversary can now tread him under foot.

Jesus has given us His very own Holy Spirit so that we might continue in His mission of destroying the enemy’s influence in our own lives and in the lives of others. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…because the prince of this world is judged.” (John 16:7,11) Here Jesus said that whenever someone receives the Holy Ghost, the prince of this world is judged. When we received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, the enemy’s power was broken in our lives. If we will “keep ourselves” full of the Holy Ghost and thus free from sin – the devil will not be able to successfully touch us from that time forward. Romans 13:14 tells us to, “Put…on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (emphasis mine) Ephesians 4:27 instructs us to – “Neither give place to the devil.” If we’ll make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts – we will then give no place to the devil – for it is our uncorralled appetites that he uses to find inroads of influence into our lives. By the authority of the Holy Ghost within us – we can successfully resist that influence.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:8-9)

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

“He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.”

That’s a worthy goal for 2014!

Rev. Robert Stroup is the District Superintendent of the Indiana District, United Pentecostal Church International. He is Pastor of Pentecostals of South Lake in Merrillville, Indiana.

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