The Devil’s Schemes (Part Two)- 2 Corinthians 2:11

In our previous post, we have seen that the primary scheme of the devil is to defraud, that he is in essence a con artist who attempts to get us to buy what he is selling, to buy into his lies, twisted truths and partial truths. We also learn from Scripture that the primary area in which he attempts to deceive is us in relation to God. The verse which we are focusing upon tells us that we are “not unaware of his (the devil’s) schemes”, that the Scripture clearly reveals to us exactly how the devil works to defraud us, and we will now examine the Scripture so that we may expose and be able to recognize his deception and not buy into it. We will now look at Genesis 3 and the devil’s original deception of the first of God’s people, for his scheme has never changed, he continues to use precisely the same method to this very day (probably because it has been so successful over the years). We begin in verse 1, in which we come upon Eve in the Garden of Eden, conversing with a serpent. We will not enter into any debate about whether or not this is a literal serpent, we will simply state that the New Testament clearly tells us that Eve was “deceived by the serpent’s cunning” (2 Cor. 11:3) and that the one deceiving her here is really that “ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray” (Rev. 12:9). We find this serpent asking Eve a question, “Did God really say You must not eat from any tree in the Garden?” So we find here that the first step in the process of the devil’s deception of believers is to deceive them about God’s word, about what God says. Did she know what God said regarding the situation at hand, and he does the same to believers today, asking “did God really say don’t do that, don’t go there, don’t say that”. So we naturally reach the conclusion that the first line of defense against falling into the devil’s trap is knowing God’s word, we must know what God says, and the anemic state of the church in our day can be traced primarily to the rampant biblical illiteracy which is so prevalent in the modern church, for in too many churches the bible is not taught, studied or preached upon, but merely used (where it is used at all) as a source for motivational speeches and self help messages. Having failed in this, the devil then moves on to step two, deceiving Eve about what the word of God means. God had told Eve that if you eat of the tree “you will die”, but the devil responds by saying “You will not surely die”. Eve knows what God said, but does she know what it meant, and the devil will ask the very same question of believers, telling them “yes, that’s what God said, but that is not what He meant”. He will say to us “yes, God said to speak the truth in love, but to love there doesn’t mean to tell people what they need to hear (that would be offensive), but to tell them what they want to hear, and much of the church today has also fallen into his trap, preaching to “itching ears”, telling them what they want to hear to fill their church buildings, rather than what they need to hear to fill heaven for all eternity. So we find that the second line of defense against the devil’s schemes is knowing what the word of God means. that all believers need to be taught the proper principles of biblical interpretation, to know how to see what the bible means, in context, by what it says. If this fails, the devil moves on to step 3, yes God said that, yes that’s what it means, but it does not apply to you. Notice in Genesis 3:4, the devil says to Eve “You” will not surely die, what God said doesn’t apply to you, you’re special, you’re an exception to that. He will do the same today, telling us that yes, God said that, and yes that’s what it means, but it does not apply to you, it was meant for people at that time and in that culture but it doesn’t apply today, that that stuff written thousands of years ago can’t possibly be relevant in our modern, sophisticated society. If you follow that you will be out of step with progress, you will be a hindrance to progress, intolerant, narrow minded, bigoted, etc. So we find that the third line of defense against the wiles of the devil is a proper understanding of what the Bible is. It is God’s inspired word, and it explains to us timeless truths, which by their very nature are just as relevant today as they were the day they were written. The Bible does apply to us, it applies to the modern church just as much as it did to the church in the first century, and it is the willingness of the church to move “beyond” the timeless instruction of the Bible regarding how to effect the culture, to embrace the teachings of psychology, marketing, and business management, which also contribute to it ineffectiveness in “making disciples”, in producing genuine followers of Jesus, willing to follow Him to a cross. So we find here God’s means for not falling into the devil’s trap, and it is a three- fold strategy: know what the Word of God says, know what it means, know what it is and how it applies to your situation here and now. If the church is to fulfill its command to make disciples, it must endeavor to teach its people the Word of God, helping them know what it says, how to determine what it means, and how to apply it to the situations which they face in everyday living. My prayer is that more in leadership roles within the church would realize this and begin putting it into practice, beginning with themselves.

No Comments Nature of Man  //  Old Testament  //  Scripture and Truth  //  Sin and Temptation

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