The Amazing Wonder of Destruction!
Why are Satan and Sin so Critical for
God’s Plan of Salvation?
How to “Glory” in Pain!
Lorraine Day, M.D
New Christians sometimes assume that when one is converted, life will become easier. After all, one is now a “child of God” and doesn’t God watch over His children? Indeed, God watches over His children which includes changing them into His image a very, very painful procedure and often one of long duration.
“God chastens those He loves.” Heb 12:6
Major changes are very painful. There is no other way. That’s why Jesus has promised us:
“In this world you shall have tribulations.” John 16:33
Many times, in many different books of the Bible, we are told that, as a Christian, tribulation will be our lot in life.
“Strengthening the souls of the disciples and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22
But even though the tribulations are often excruciating, God commands us to embrace them, and even to “glory” in them. Why? Because the only way we change and develop a character like Christ is through tribulation.
“We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance produces character, and character, expectation:
“And expectation does not disappoint; because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by God’s breath of holiness which is given unto us.” Romans 5:3-5
“Rejoicing in expectation; persevering in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.” Romans 12:12
When we are hurting, God comforts us, and in turn we can comfort others who are going through their own trials.
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
“Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Cor 1:3,4
The Reason God has Promised us Trouble is Explained in the Story of Mary
“And one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat at his house. And He went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down at the table.
“And behold, a woman in the city (of Bethany), who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,
“And stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed Him with the fragrant oil.
“Now when the Pharisee which had invited Him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him; for she is a sinner.
“And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have something to say unto you. And he said, Teacher, say on.
“There was a certain creditor that had two debtors: the one owed five hundred denari (a denarius was equal to one day’s pay), and the other fifty.
“And when they had nothing to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
“Simon answered and said, I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And He said unto him (Simon), You have correctly answered.
And He turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Do you see this woman? I came into your house and you gave me no water for my feet: but she has washed my feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
“You gave me no greeting with a kiss (the custom of greeting in the middle east), but this woman since the time I came in has not ceased to kiss my feet.
“You did not anoint my head with oil: but this woman has anointed my feet with fragrant oil.
“Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” Luke 7:36-47
In order for us to love much, we have to be spiritually, psychologically, emotionally, and sometimes physically “destroyed” to the point where we have no place to turn but to Jesus. We must recognize our own destitution!
There is much speculation as to the identity of this woman. In John 11:2, we are told that this woman was Mary, the sister of Martha.
“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
(“It was that Mary that anointed the Lord with fragrant oil, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.”) John 11:1,2
So the Bible tells us that this Mary was the sister of Martha and Lazarus. But what had she done that was so terrible? Was this “Mary” the same as Mary Magdalene? Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived in Bethany, the same town where the Pharisee, Simon, the Leper, lived. Mary Magdalene, by definition, was from Magdala. Could that be the same “Mary” from Bethany, who left home for a time to live her sinful life? Is this the “Mary” from whom Jesus delivered 7 demons?
And why were Mary, Martha and Lazarus having dinner with Jesus and the disciples, and possibly others, in the house of a Pharisee Simon? Were they Simon’s children? And why were none of the three grown siblings married a strange fact, knowing how important marriage was in that era? Could they have been single because they were the children of a man who had had leprosy a disease that demanded one be ostracized?
It is presumed that Jesus had healed Simon of his leprosy, but Simon’s gratefulness was sorely lacking: he had not had a servant wash Jesus’ feet, he had not greeted Jesus properly, and he had not been the gracious host to anoint Jesus head with oil, as was the custom for such an important guest.
Simon, the Pharisee, who had been healed by Jesus of the most dreaded disease of that time, did not love Jesus nearly as much as Mary, who had been forgiven of serious sins possibly demon possession, and who knows what else.
Simon, in his arrogance, thought to himself that Jesus would not let this woman touch Jesus if he only knew what a sinner she was. (And could this have been Simon’s own daughter?)
But Jesus knew her heart. He knew that she was humbly repentant for all her sin, and her heart was changed. She had been at the depths of sinfulness and hopelessness and Jesus had restored her life. Her love for Jesus was overflowing.
That’s why Satan and “sin” are such an important part of God’s Plan of Salvation, because the magnitude of love toward Jesus manifested by a person is in direct proportion to the depth of hopelessness from which Jesus has delivered him.
The more the person has been destroyed, the more destitute he is, the more he must turn to Jesus because there is no where else to turn. And the greater the deliverance by Jesus Christ the greater the love that person has for Him.
The love that Mary Magdalene had for Jesus clearly surpassed the love given Him by His disciples, at least before His crucifixion. It was Mary Magdalene who spent a year’s salary for the oil she used to “anoint” Him “for His burial.” It was Mary Magdalene, along with Mary, the mother of Jesus, the disciple John, and a couple of other women who were the only ones stayed with Jesus at His trial. And it was Mary Magdalene who was at the tomb, horrified that the body of Jesus had been “taken away” or so she assumed. During this time, the disciples were hiding in the Upper Room “for fear of the Jews” (literal = Judeans).
Why was Mary Magdalene so bold? She loved Jesus more than the disciples because her life had been one of destitution and hopelessness when she had been controlled by demons from which Jesus delivered her.
Only after the disciples went through the gut-wrenching pain of losing Jesus by His humiliating and painful death on the cross, and His subsequent resurrection, which “delivered” them from this terrible pain and loss were the disciples able to love Him as Mary Magdalene did.
After King Saul had disobeyed God by offering sacrifices himself rather than leaving it to the prophet Samuel, Samuel told the King that he would lose the kingdom and be replaced. Soon thereafter, Samuel anointed David, a shepherd boy, and the youngest of Jesse’s many sons.
King Saul knew that David was his replacement so he did everything in his power to kill David, including trying to slay him with a javelin, using the King’s army to hunt David down like a wild animal time after time. David had become a fugitive in the land over which he was supposed to be king. His life became almost unbearable because of the cunning schemes of the king (Saul) that David was to replace. David was constantly running for his life, but over and over again, God delivered him from trouble and even from what looked to him like certain death.
David’s gratefulness to God for his deliverance from severe troubles kept him close to the Lord. Even when David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and murdering her husband, Uriah, and David’s subsequent public humiliation when his entire kingdom heard about his crimes, David always repented and turned to the Lord.
Even when David’s own son, Absalom, turned on his father in an attempt to steal his kingdom, God was with David and restored him to the throne.
For David’s entire reign as King of Israel, he never forgot the Lord’s graciousness in watching over him. Even though he committed heinous sins at times, he never permanently strayed from the Lord. Because David had so much trouble during his reign, and because the Lord had delivered him from the trouble so often, David’s love for the Lord far surpassed that of his son, Solomon.
Solomon, considered the wisest man who ever lived, started out by doing the will of God. But shortly into his reign he lost his way. To secure his political future, he took multiple wives from the family of monarchs from the surrounding countries, all of which were pagans. To please these wives he built idols and pagan worship places for sacrifices, including human sacrifices. Eventually, he sunk so low that he offered his children as human burning sacrifices to the pagan god, Molech.
Solomon’s life was one of relative ease. He had fabulous wealth, hundreds of wives and concubines, and there was peace between Israel and all the surrounding nations during the time that he reigned. His life was the opposite of his father’s. With little or no trouble in his life, why did Solomon have any need to trust God? His life was one of selfish pleasure-seeking. Only when he was an old man did he understand that his whole life was nothing but “vanity.”
The name Job is practically synonymous with “trouble.” Few have suffered like he did. When it all began, he was spoken of as an “upright” man in God’s eyes. Why did he have to go through so much trouble?
Job first lost his entire wealth when his oxen and donkeys were stolen by the Sabeans who apparently beheaded his servants, the caretakers of the animals. And before he was able to digest that news, he was told that the Chaldeans stole all his camels and had slain his servants who cared for them.
“And while he was yet speaking, there came also another” and told him that all of his sons and daughters had been killed.
Soon after all this bad news, Job himself was plagued with painful boils from his head to the soles of his feet. His wife turned against him as did his friends. The majority of the book of Job, which contains 42 chapters, relates the dialogue of Job’s friends telling him what a bad person he must be for having all this trouble. His life becomes “hell” but he gets no sympathy for his predicament yet he still trusts God.
He complains to God about his predicament, wondering why this is happening to him, but God answers him with about 50 different questions of His own, including:
“Where were you when I created the earth?”
“Tell me how I fastened the earth in space.”
“Tell me how I made the tides and stop the waves from covering the earth.”
“Have you ever opened the gates of death?”
“Do you know the exact measurements of the earth?”
“Where does the light dwell?”
“Can you tell me how I make the snow and hail?”
“How does lightning form?”
“Does the rain have a father?”
“And who has given birth to the drops of dew?”
And dozens of other questions.
Job has no answer for any of them, and God doesn’t expect any answers from Job. God’s questions are rhetorical, designed to give Job an “attitude adjustment.” Job needs to learn that God is God - - and Job is not.
Job’s trouble were so intense, he had no place to turn other than the Lord who eventually pulled him through. Finally, Job understood the necessity for all the pain and suffering when he said:
“I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye hath seen thee.” Job 42:5
Through the trouble, Job learned to know God in a way that he had never known Him before. Job admitted that up until that time, he had only “heard” about the Lord not knowing Him personally. But now, through all the trouble, Job’s eyes had been opened so He could “see” the Lord for who He is.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall SEE God.” (They shall know God and understand His character.) Matt 5:8
Job’s heart was joined to the Lord in a much tighter bond after his ordeal than it was before. Previously, Job believed in the existence of God and believed that God ran the world and everything in it. But after he became diseased and totally destitute, his relationship with the Lord became personal and spiritually intimate, something that would never have happened otherwise.
As has often been said, “Soldiers often ‘find’ God in a foxhole.” There’s nothing like catastrophic trouble or imminent death that turns a person to God at least some people.
Young Joseph was the favorite son of his father, Jacob a situation in which Joseph reveled, but a sin on Jacob’s part that almost cost Joseph’s life. And as far as Jacob knew, Joseph was dead, causing him immense grief.
Joseph’s life was so painful, it’s difficult to ponder it in detail. As a young lad of 17, Joseph was obeying his father’s orders to check on the safety of his brothers who were tending the flocks a distance from their home. But when he found his brothers who all hated him because he was his father’s favorite they decided to kill him. Soon they changed their mind and decided to make a little cash by selling him into slavery.
Joseph never saw his mother again. When the caravan arrived in Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, the Captain of the Palace Guard. Joseph, now hundreds of miles from home, in an age where the mode of transportation was by horse, camel or on foot, with no communication available (no cell phone, no means of texting, no fax, no telephone, no UPS, Fed Ex, or even the Post Office), Joseph had nowhere to turn except to God.
Because Joseph’s behavior was without reproach, Potiphar put him in charge of his household. But trouble was lurking. Potiphar’s wife framed Joseph. Because the young, apparently handsome, Joseph refused the advances of Potiphar’s wife, she framed him by accusing him of trying to seduce her.
Joseph was falsely accused and put in prison for doing the right thing! Again, because of his exemplary behavior, he was made an assistant to the warden, even though he was a prisoner. During his prison stay, Joseph correctly interpreted the dreams of two other prisoners. The prisoner who was restored to his position as Pharaoh’s cupbearer forgot Joseph immediately on his return to the palace, even though Joseph had asked for him to speak a good word for him to Pharaoh. And Joseph continued to languish in prison.
Put down in a well to die, pulled up from the well to be sold into slavery by his own brothers, falsely accused of attempted rape by the wife of his boss, put in prison for several years on false charges, forgotten by the fellow prisoner whose dream he correctly interpreted which told of the prisoner’s restoration to his former job in the palace - - - how much more trouble can a person handle!
Finally, after Joseph had been appointed next in line to Pharaoh, as a ruler of Egypt, and had saved his entire family from famine and provided a home for them in the land of Goshen in Egypt, and had been reunited with his father who thought Joseph was dead, he realized that through it all God had a plan. Not only was his life spared, but he was appointed to the second highest position in all of Egypt. Furthermore, through the entire ordeal, his brothers’ hearts were changed. All their hatred towards Joseph had vanished even before they knew he was still alive, and they repented to their father for their lies about Joseph’s “death.”
After their father Jacob died, the brothers came to Joseph pleading for their life as they assumed Joseph would take his revenge and have them killed. But Joseph had learned the lesson that every person eventually will learn after encountering and overcoming severe trouble: the absolute need finally to turn to God. He responded to his brothers:
“Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you intended evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
“Now therefore fear ye not: I will provide for you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly to their hearts.” Genesis 50:19-21
When Joseph was sold into slavery at the tender age of 17, he knew “about” God. But after his 13-year ordeal from the time he arrived in Egypt until he was appointed Prime Minister of the country, Joseph had learned to trust God and to know God as a personal friend, and to exhibit the character of Jesus Christ.
There is nothing that cements us to the Lord like severe trouble. And the greater the destitution and sorrow from which God finally delivers us, the greater our love for Him.
“The greatest difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and His blessings are what make it so difficult. Troubles almost always make us look to God, but His blessings tend to divert our attention elsewhere. . . Our difficulties, our trials, and our worries about tomorrow all vanish when we look to God.” O. Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Jan 21
“We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance produces character, and character, expectation:
“And expectation does not disappoint; because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by God’s breath of holiness which is given unto us.” Romans 5:3-5
The whole goal of this life is to get to know God up close and personal and to learn to trust Him with everything in our life. It is only “trouble” that gets us there!
Learning to deal with trouble builds character! When everything is going well, no one will change his or her behavior.
The Difference between Evil and Sin
“All is of God” according to Romans 11:36, but when it comes to Satan and sin, that basic truth of divine revelation is so severe a strain on Christendom that men instinctively reject it. They excuse their lack of faith on the ground that it is repulsive to their spiritual natures to associate God with “evil.” They set aside the truth of the Bible, that “ALL is of God,” by making the devil the source of all evil, yet they fail to tell us how the enemy could originate evil unless the power were given him by his Creator. The text says:
For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are ALL things: to whom be glory forever, Amen.” Romans 11:36
The reason most shrink from associating evil with God is because of their conception of evil and sin, even though God’s plain statements concerning them are clear. But most modify God’s Word to suit their misconception and to suit their own preconceived theological beliefs. That is why further study is so important.
God’s Word contains many passages that reveal the great truth that ALL things the evil as well as the good come from God, who alone can originate. Paul tells us that the Creation was not subject to vanity (futility sin) willingly (voluntarily). It has no will or choice in the matter. God is subjecting the Creation against its will!
“For the Creation (“creature” is an incorrect translation here) was made subject to vanity (futility sin), not willingly (voluntarily), but by reason of Him who has subjected it in hope (literally - expectation).
“Because the (entire) Creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption (sin) into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Romans 8:20,21
This text tells us that God has subjected His entire Creation to sin, against our will (we did not ask for this), in order to bring about an expected outcome which is the delivering of the entire Creation, including ALL humanity and ALL of nature, from the bondage of sin into the glorious liberty (salvation) of the children of God.
“Behold, I make ALL new.” (Revelation 21:5)
This subjection is only temporary. It is in the expectation that our afflictions will lead to an overwhelming glory for which these sufferings are essential. Creation is enslaved by corruption with a view to a future liberty that can be enjoyed only by one who has tested its opposite.
Before sin entered their life, we have no record that Adam and Eve ever thanked God for the beautiful Garden in which they lived. How could they? They didn’t know anything else.
They didn’t thank God for their health. How could they? They didn’t even know what sickness was.
They didn’t thank God that nothing in the Garden of Eden died. How could they? They had never seen anything die. They didn’t even know there could be such a thing as “death.”
They didn’t thank God for being allowed to walk and talk with Him every day. How could they? They didn’t know anything else.
It is impossible to appreciate our life, our health, beauty around us, or being one with God, unless we have known what it is to be without them.
It is impossible to know good without knowing evil. That is why the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden was not the Tree of Evil but the Tree of Good and Evil.
The big problem is that most people fail to distinguish between evil and sin. Yet God Himself, tells us that He is the “Creator of evil.”
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things]. Isaiah 45:7
But that does not mean that we teach that God is a sinner. After all, this is the Word of God, Himself.
In the language of the original Greek and Hebrew Biblical revelation, evil and sin are clearly distinguished by terms that are not in any way related to each other.
The word evil means calamity. A specific calamity may or may not be a sin, as will be illustrated below.
With very few exceptions, the Hebrew stem ro underlies the English rendering evil (see Job 24:21, Psalms 41:8, Psalms 140:11, Proverbs 12:21). This word is rendered in many different ways, including break, displease, ill, effect, harm, hurt, mischief, punish, vex and wicked. To these uses in adjective form are added these interpretations: adversity, calamity, distress, grief wretchedness, wrong, trouble, sorry, etc. But this wide diversity of translation does not help us to form a correct or concise conception of the real meaning of the word.
It will help if we look at Psalms 2:9 or Daniel 2:40 where this word is translated break. The word is equivalent to the present English word “smash.” In Daniel it is used to mean break in pieces or to pulverize. In its literal root meaning it describes the effect of iron, the hardest of the common metals, when used to smash and destroy.
In these renderings, the Hebrew word ro, translated evil, has no moral bias such as we usually associate with it. In the following passage quoted, the evil is done by the hands of the Son of God.
“He shall deal out evil to the nations with a rod of iron when He comes again.” Psalms 2:9
This same adjective is used to describe the ill-favored cattle (kine) of Pharaoh’s dream in Genesis 41:3-27:
“And behold seven other kine (cows) came up after them out of the river, ill-favored (evil) and lean-fleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the bank of the river.” Genesis 41:3
Because theologians firmly associate sin and immorality with evil, they try to shield God from all association with it (evil). A common translation correctly states that:
“An evil spirit from God” troubled Saul. 1 Samuel 16:14
The evil spirit was not an emissary from Satan but from God! The translators have tried to hide this at times, as when speaking of the waters of Jericho they say, “The water is naught.” Actually, the original says:
“The water was evil.” 2 Kings 2:19
The neutral character of evil is evident when both sin and evil are used together.
Zimri “sinned in doing evil.” (1 Kings 16:19). From this we may freely infer that evil is not necessarily sin.
The word evil has no “moral” bias. An act of evil may or may not be wrong. Jeremiah 42:6 says,
“Whether it be good or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of Jehovah our God.”
Moral evil is sin, and God does not demand that His people sin.
Calamity usually leads the list of evils that have nothing to do with morality or immorality.
Evil, as spoken of in the Scriptures, is an act that smashes and demolishes and brings with it a train of trouble and distress, but it is neither right nor wrong in itself.
An earthquake is evil because it is a calamity, but it has no moral bias. However, if you purposely blow up your neighbor’s house, that is a calamity that most certainly has to do with morality (or more accurately immorality). That calamity is evil AND it is a sin!
The Source of Sin
The traditional mistranslation “Sin is the transgression of the law” is clearly misleading, for sin was in the world long before the giving of the law (Romans 5:12-14). A more accurate translation is:
“Sin is lawlessness.” 1 John 3:4
Failure to conform to God’s standard is sin.
In the war between the tribe of Benjamin and Israel, the tribe of Benjamin gathered 700 chosen men. Every one of these men could sling a stone at a hairbreadth and not “sin.”
“Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men left-handed: every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss.” Judges 20:16
The King James Version says they could not miss, which is quite correct. The same Hebrew word is translated sin in hundreds of other passages!
Sin and miss are identical in meaning. In Romans 3:23 Paul says,
“All have sinned and are wanting of (or deficient in or fall short of) the Glory of God.”
This means that we have failed to reach the divine standard. When God charges all with sin, He does not mean that all are guilty of heinous offenses, but that all are mistaken, all have missed the mark, all fall short of God’s ideal. Even their best efforts their “good” deeds are performed in error. A sinner doesn’t need to do anything that man may condemn in order to deserve his name of “sinner.” He only needs to fail to fully realize God’s high standard of holiness and glory.
The important question is this: Since all things are of God, yet God cannot sin, how did sin originate? From where did it come and how?
Virtually all so-called “solutions” trace sin up a blind alley and stop short of God. But these “solutions” are neither scriptural nor satisfactory. It is true that sin came into this world through Adam and Eve, but we cannot stop there. Sin did not originate in Adam or Eve. The serpent was in the Garden of Eden before Adam sinned. The serpent, Satan, was already a sinner.
Nor is it enough to go beyond Adam and say “sin is of the devil,” or Adversary, because the Adversary, like Adam, is a creature a created being and as such, originated nothing.
The Bible tells us in 1 John 3:8 that
“The Adversary (Satan) was a sinner from the beginning!”
From the beginning of what? From the beginning of this world? No. Satan was sinning long before he was found in the Garden of Eden. He was a sinner in heaven, and so effective that he (Satan) convinced one-third of God’s angels that Satan was right and God was wrong.
From the beginning of what? The answer is: “From the beginning of him (Satan)!” Satan was created by God AS the Adversary to do the job he is doing tempting the whole world. The name “Satan” means Adversary.
If we allow that God created Satan (as such), the crucial question arises, Did God SIN in creating the Adversary? The answer will depend entirely upon the object God had in view. Was it God’s intention that sin should invade the universe or was it due to an error on God’s part? Remembering our definition of sin, if sin’s entrance into the universe was a mistake, then God sinned!
If God created Satan perfect as “Lucifer” and his defection was a surprise and a disappointment to God, then there is no use in hiding behind mere words. God failed! He started out to make a flawless creature who turned out bad! There is NO ONE else to charge with this failure but God. But this is ALL WRONG for God NEVER fails, or sins.
Sin has an essential, though transient, part in God’s purpose. God made preparation for it before it came.
“The Lamb was slain from the (foundation) disruption of the world.” (Revelation 13:8)
There can be no Saviour apart from sin. There can be no reconciliation apart from enmity.
“God locks all up together in stubbornness that He should be merciful to all.” Romans 11:32
The only way we can experience the perfect peace of Oneness with Christ is to realize our need for Him in our life, to realize our need for Him to run every aspect of our life. In order to reach this place, we must have trouble lots of trouble. If everything in our life is fine, we never change. “Trouble” forces us to change.
“Since sin must enter this scene and play its part, since it is essential to God’s purpose, and Absolutely under His control, since it will eventually change the universe from cold, independent creatures into a loving family circle, and God from a distant Creator into an affectionate Father, it was by no means a mistake (or sin) on God’s part when He created a creature who should not only commit sin but scatter it throughout all creation.” Knoch, A.E., The Problem of Evil and the Judgments of God, Concordant Publishing Concern, 1976, p. 22
We have now arrived at the answer. It was no mistake for God to create Satan, for the Adversary did exactly what God had intended he should do: bring sin into the world And the astonishing conclusion forces itself upon us that the moment we try to shift the ultimate origin of sin to Satan, then we are making God into a SINNER! For - - if God did not intend that Satan sin, and Satan did it on his own initiative, then God missed the mark!
But God does not fail or sin. It is only by acknowledging that God created Satan to sin that we can possibly clear God from the stain of sin. If one believes that sin has broken loose from the control of God, or never was under God’s control, then all we can look forward to is chaos.
We are assured that God is in total control of Satan when we read the first two Chapters of Job.
In Job, Chapter 1, Satan complains to God that Satan is unable to have full access to Job because God “has made a hedge (or protection) around Job.” Satan asks for it to be removed. God then allows Satan limited access.
Satan answered the Lord, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing?
Have you not made a hedge of protection about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
But stretch forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has and he will curse You to Your face.
And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your hand; only upon his person you cannot put forth your hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. Job 1:9-12
Satan then had the power to harm Job’s family and his possessions, but he could not harm Job, himself. It is clear that Satan can do nothing unless God allows it. Satan has no power of his own.
In Job, Chapter 2, Satan again meets with God and, being previously unsuccessful in drawing Job away from God, even after Satan had all of Job’s children killed and all of Job’s possessions stolen, Satan now asks God to remove the hedge of protection around Job himself so Satan can attack Job directly.
Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man has will he give for his life.
But stretch forth your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.
And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold he is in your hand; but save his life. Job 2:4-6
Here, again, the Bible reveals that Satan has no power or authority of his own. He can only attack Job physically now that God has allowed it. But God limits Satan’s attack by saying, “You cannot take Job’s life.”
Satan is under the total control of God. He is a created being and can do nothing unless God allows it.
The true understanding of the entire question of “Who is in charge?” lies in the acceptance of God’s Word that says:
“ALL is OUT of Him and THROUGH Him and FOR Him.” (Romans 11:36)
Even though theologians attempt to distance God from being in charge of everything, God states His position boldly.
“I have created the waster (destroyer) TO DESTROY!” Isaiah 54:16
To waste, or corrupt, is not simply evil (a calamity), it is sin. God does not claim to DO it, but He does claim to have created the one WHO DOES. If the destroyer were created by someone else, or if he is “self-existent,” then he would be out from under the control of God and God could not control the evil or harness it for His purpose.
You may ask, “What Scripture do you have for the statement that God created Satan, as such?” But you may then be asked, “What Scripture do you have that God created YOU?
God’s plain declaration in the Bible is that ALL came into being through the Word, and apart from it NOTHING has come into being.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God
And ALL things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:1-3
For by Him were ALL things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or rulers, or authorities, all things were created by Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16
Satan is specifically included as the chief of the aerial “authority.”
“Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. Ephesians 2:2
At present, the evil in the world is in accord with the Scriptures, and an essential ingredient in God’s plan. It is the only way to the highest blessing for ourselves and for the human race as well as for all creation. Evil is necessary as a background for the display of God’s grandest glories because stars only show brightly on a backdrop of darkness. Our understanding of that necessity will prepare us to endure with thankful hearts all our present trials and tragedies that He sends to us.
The only way mankind can realize what God is to them is by an actual experience of what it means to be without Him.
Lessons from Job about Evil and Sin
When we are passing through difficult times and all seems contrary to us, we must remember that all around the world, the unseen hand of God is operating, in accord with a law that is above our understanding.
“Job was sifted, as was Peter, and his faith held. In spite of his recriminations he looked beyond the immediate, regarding his affliction as of God. And this is the strong note of the narrative. The origin and purpose of evil is OF and WITH God. There is a meaning in its existence beyond human knowledge.
“Men do evil, but apparently no good comes of it. But when God employs it, it is ONLY and essentially for good. The ordering and the end are His own.
“Satan is just an instrument, powerful as may be his office. Men, too, are unconscious agents of God’s supreme will. Through it all, however, the Lord’s consummation is sure.
“The infliction of evil is for our learning, and thereby, we are shown, as was Job, the nearness of God.” Mealand, Wm., Lessons from Job; Unsearchable Riches, Nov 1998, pg 267
God’s Use of the Counterworker
“The object of the book of Job is to set out, once and for all, that God uses one who works contrary to Himself, and through this method God reveals Himself to His creatures to a fuller degree than is possible otherwise. The adversary, as a counterworker, is in this way lifted out of an obscure position that lacks either reason or value, and is shown as a factor NEEDED in the ways of God.
Thus the Adversary fills that part for which he was intended. And the result is that God is able to reveal the glories of His righteousness and His love. These are glories which show Him to be the Father, the One Who is to be All in all His creation.” Clayton, E.H., Lessons from Job; Unsearchable Riches, Nov 1998, pg 268-269
God’s Underlying Purpose
“The underlying purpose of God in dealing with mankind is brought before us in the book of Job, who lived before the law was given. According to popular notions prevailing in religious circles today, Job should never have suffered, for he was a just man and feared God, though he obviously was NOT perfect. (The ONLY “Man” who has ever been Perfect is Jesus Christ!)
“We rarely consider the end result that the Lord has in view. We imagine that all evil must be related to something bad in the past - instead of something good in the future. We do not realize that evil is a gift from God, designed to bring us down to our proper place and raise God up to the position His deity demands in the glorious consummation, when He will be All in all.
Trial, testing and tribulation are things God does not need for Himself, since He knows all.
“But His creatures need them, for they are here to learn, like Job, not only what is in themselves, but also what is in God.
“We NEED evil for what we ARE, and SHALL BE, not merely for any wrong that we have done.
“Evil is not essentially a penalty, but a preparation. It is humbling and revealing and necessary for the appreciation of good and of God.” Knoch, A.E., God’s Underlying Purpose, Unsearchable Riches, Nov. 1998., pg 269,270.
We are Saved THROUGH Fire!
1 Corinthians, Chapter 3
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Cor 3:13-15
We are SAVED NOT lost by fire (by fiery trials).
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trials which are to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12
It is the “fiery law” that burns the sin out of our life.
“And he said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them: He shined forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints: from His right hand went a fiery law for them.” Deuteronomy 33:2
In the Old Testament, the fire was physical. Literal fire burned Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness. Literal fire burned up the Lamb brought by the Israelites for a sin offering, representing the death of Jesus Christ.
But in the New Testament, “fire” is spiritual. It burns the sin out of our life through “fiery trials (tribulations).”
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, expectation;
“And expectation maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by God’s spirit which is given unto us.” Romans 5:3-5
Trials and tribulations cause us to “grow up” in Christ: to become mature in Christ.
Why is Sin “Necessary”?
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve fell into sin with the first recorded temptation. They had never seen the results of sin which are trouble and death. They were as innocent as little children.
But after they had sinned, they brought horrific trouble on themselves to the point that one of their sons murdered the other. That would be disastrous for any parent today even in this sinful world but think what an overwhelming tragedy it was for Adam and Eve who had never even heard of such a thing.
Over the 600+ years of their life, they had to watch the animals become vicious and kill each other. They had to watch vegetation, including flowers, die. They had to experience the effects of sin in order to understand the result of sin and their absolute need for a Savior.
And the same holds true for us. God doesn’t want us to be innocent of sin, because we would be susceptible to sin because of our innocence and ignorance, just like Adam and Eve were. God wants us to be purified from sin. He wants us to experience sin so fully by our own actions as well as observing the actions of others that eventually everyone will abhor and detest sin. They will want nothing to do with it.
That’s the only way the universe will be “safe” from sin for eternity.Why is Sin “Glorious”?
Because sin brings trouble, and it is “trouble” that eventually will be the means by which we recognize our destitution; we will recognize that we are incapable of running our own life, and that we need Christ to run everything in our life.
It is through sin that all, eventually, will be saved. Without sin, no one would need a Savior!
Jesus knows exactly what it takes to get us where He wants us: One with Him!
Only with Jesus Christ does the “end justify the means.”