Spiritual Warfare

Rebellion

 

Things were perfect.  God was God and we were His adoring creation.  A perfect world.

 

However, Satan hated the adoration God was receiving from mankind.  He also hated the deep love that God had for us.  Satan wanted to separate us from Him.  He whispered into our ears, "You can be god.  You can decide for yourselves what is right and what is wrong. It is your life.  Do whatever you feel like doing.  You don't need God and you certainly don't need to obey Him.  Trust me."

 

We trusted him.  We became rebels from God.  We became traitors.

 

Satan knew what our rebellion meant.  Rebellion deserves death.  We would physically die, making it impossible for us, when we are dead, to love God and to be loved by God. We would also spiritually die.  We would become broken. We would become insecure. We would become anxious.  We would become so messed up that it would be impossible for us to love God and to feel loved by God.

 

Who did Satan intend to hurt? God! He wanted to deprive God of us.  Our death and destruction was the means to that end.

 

It seemed like a perfect plan for Satan.  There was no hope for the human race.  We had become rebels.  Our minds were twisted and deceived.  Once a rebel, always a rebel. Every attempt to make ourselves right with God would be tainted by our desire to do things our own way.  We invented our own religions, telling God under what conditions He should accept us. We wanted to do things our own way, even defining how God should relate to us.  This continuous desire to do things our own way would negate every good deed or religious action we did.  God would always see the false motive in man's attempt to be religious and, therefore, man could never make things right with God.  From Satan's perspective, it was the perfect plan.

 

The Plan

 

However, Satan did not anticipate how far God was willing to go to rescue His people from their rebellion.

 

There is God the Father. God the Son. God the Holy Spirit.  They are three but they are also one.  They are united and they counsel together.  They came up with their own plan.

 

The Son would become a human being Himself.  (It is not a challenge for the Creator of the world to put Himself into a human body).   His name would be Jesus Christ.  He would be human, needing food and sleep.  He would need companionship.  He would have parents to be accountable to.  He would have a body susceptible to injury and death.

 

He would live a perfect life, never rebelling from God.  He would never try to be His own god.  He would live as a human should live, in total surrender to God.  He would be completely obedient to His Father in heaven.  He had to be without rebellion or else He would deserve punishment Himself.

 

He would prove His authority to forgive people of their rebellion because He would prove Himself to be God by the miracles He would perform.  He would be an example to other humans for how to live life - loving God and loving their neighbors.

 

The whole point of His becoming a human was to die.  God would punish Him for all of the rebellion that man has ever committed.  It would be an excruciating death.  The Son would experience spiritual separation from the Father.  However, the Son was willing to go through such agony because He loved people so much and He knew the Father loved them incredibly too.

 

God the Father was pleased with His Son.  "You would do that for my people?  I will certainly raise You from the dead and restore You to your rightful glory with Me.  I will see to it that You are glorified above all.  I will give You all authority in heaven and on earth.  Every knee will bow before You.  Anyone who believes You died for their rebellion will be forgiven of their rebellion and will be with us for eternity."

 

The Son asked the Holy Spirit to do His part.  When any person asks for forgiveness for their rebellion in the name of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit will work with that person - helping them surrender their lives to God and to help them grow in their love for God and others.

 

"Agreed!"

 

The History

 

The Old Testament is the story of the coming of Jesus Christ. It predicts His birth, life, and death.  It is the story of His ancestors, all of whom were broken people, just like us.  It is the story of man's inability to follow the law of God.  We cannot possibly satisfy God by being good because of our continuous inclination to rebel.  It is the story of the severity of our rebellion in God's eyes, requiring death as the punishment.  It is also the story of God longing to save us from His punishment, to find a substitute that will take on that punishment on our behalf.  In the Old Testament, the innocent animals He created and loved deeply paid the price for our rebellion.  In the New Testament, it was His precious and beloved Son who died once and for all for our rebellion.  (God was as eager to end animal slaughter just as much as any animal rights activist in the 21st century).

 

Few experts, Christians and non-Christians, doubt that there was an historical figure named Jesus Christ.  Few experts doubt that this person was crucified.  Few doubt that His disciples were entirely different people after Jesus was said to have risen from the dead.  Cowards before His death, they became bold men of God, willing to die for their faith.  They truly believed He was the Son of God.

 

The New Testament introduces the church as the new people of God.  Anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior is a member of that church.  Matthew through Revelation teaches believers in Christ how to live their lives.  In short, love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.  It is the Holy Spirit that helps us live that way.  It is our surrender to God, our acknowledgment that we are not God ourselves, that enables us to live our lives like Jesus did.

 

The last 2,000 years has been the story of the growth of the church.  It started in the Middle East and grew throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are working to bring forgiveness for rebellion to as many people as possible.  They call upon Christians all over the world to live lives of compassion for those who are hurting.  They also call upon Christians to tell their story of how God has forgiven them.

 

The Opposition

 

Satan does not like this plan!  He did everything He could to try and stop Jesus Christ from coming to earth.  He did everything He could to make things very difficult for Jesus while He was on earth.  Satan had Jesus killed (an act that aligned perfectly with God's master plan).  He did everything He could to try and stop the spread of Christianity.  He has created false religions.  He has created wars.  He has spread plagues.  He has killed as many people as he could before they came to faith in Christ.

 

He has ridiculed Christians and had them lampooned and ostracized.  He has falsely accused Christians of atrocities they didn't commit.  When Christians make mistakes, which they will continue to do, he makes sure the world accuses them of hypocrisy.  He will use Christian failures as proof Christianity is nonsense.  He will make Christians feel like failures and He will hold them back from spiritual growth.  He will do everything he can to make the work of the church ineffective.  He will discourage believers from sharing their faith or helping their neighbors in need.  While the church is experiencing phenomenal growth in some parts of the world, the church is also in decline in other parts of the world.  Whole continents have turned from faith in Christ, much to Satan's satisfaction.  When he is not attacking individual Christians and the church, he is continuing to deceive those who do not know Christ.  He tells each person that they are their own little god, their life is their own to do with what they want, and they don't need a relationship with God. Many have believed his lie that God doesn't exist because they don't want to be accountable to any god but themselves for how they live their lives.

 

This is the spiritual warfare that we live in.  Satan wants to deprive God from a relationship with as many humans as he can.

 

The Ultimate Victory

 

God is God and He will be victorious.  At the end of time, Satan and all who rebel against God will be defeated.  God is compassionate, withholding the final act of history so that as many people as possible will come to faith in Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ will reign over a perfect world.  God will enjoy an adoring relationship with His people.

 

Until then, believers must work to spread the love of Christ in a dark world.  It will not be an easy life.  People like to think they are in control of their lives and they bitterly resent any message to the contrary. Our message of faith and hope has its greatest power in our adversity and suffering.  However, believers can live difficult lives knowing that when they die they will no longer have pain and suffering and they will be with Jesus Christ forever.

 

Why Do People Reject Him?

 

God's plan for the human race is beautiful.  It is wonderful.  The love of Jesus Christ is astonishing.  Why on earth do people reject this message?  Why do people hate it so much?  It is simple.  It goes back to the very beginning of human history.  We are still the same people today we were thousands of years ago.  We want to be our own god.  We want to do things our own way.  We want to decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong.  We don't want to be accountable to God.  We don't want to turn from our rebellion.  We like being rebels from God.  Therefore, we hate what Jesus Christ stands for..surrendering our lives to God.