mardi 25 juillet 2017

When Satan Does Not Collaborate with our 'Theologies'

Image result for satan"It is impossible, Satan can't even pronounce the name of Jesus", my friend retorted confidently. He was certain I didn't understand the power of God so he took upon himself the task to lecture me on God's power over Satan and his army of evil spirits and demons.

This conversation happened in 2005. My friend was discovering it seemed, the amazing and glorious power of the Lord. Just as it happened to many before him, discovering something new about our faith tend to make people take the extreme position with zero regard to other biblical evidences. I have been a practicing Christians for more than 20 years now and I can still remember time when people claimed all Christianity could be understood through the lenses of:

  • The Blood of Jesus, 
  • The Cross, 
  • The baptism of the Holy Spirit, 
  • Intercessory prayer, 
  • Prophecies 
  • and now the message of Grace.

Different topics, same logic. My good friend in South Africa resumed all of Christianity through the
lenses of the Power of God found in the name of Jesus. My contention to him was simply this, there is true power in the name of Jesus but this doesn't mean that Satan is for that matter incapable of resisting us, attacking us or for that matter speak (uttering) the name of Jesus. This latter one was what made him explode. "Each time we use the name of Jesus, Satan fall from his chair", he insisted. He heard it from someone who used to be a practicing sorcerer He claimed.

Having heard briefly his reasoning, I asked him if he was willing to hear the other side of the story. He smiled and gave me the go ahead. So I opened the New Testament I had with me and read him this:
"Suddenly there was a man in their synagogue who had an unclean spirit. He screamed, 'What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!'" - Mark 1:23-24
After pointing out to him that unclean spirits, also known in some circles as demons, did pronounce (utter) the word "Jesus" without falling from 'their chairs'; he looked a bit surprised but resisted to give in. 'I am not convinced', he said. But I attracted his attention to the gospel of Mark by reading again the text and emphasized this portion, 'What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?'

He reasoned, 'yes, you have a point. The evil spirit did in fact pronounce the name of Jesus but that was before Jesus triumph over them at the Cross as it is written in Colossians. But today they can't dare pronounce His name'. Here is the verse my friend was referring too,
"He [Jesus] took those charges away when he nailed them to the cross. And when he had disarmed the rulers and the authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in the cross." - Colossians 2:14-15
Seeing that he was honest enough to recognize at least that the Gospel of Mark didn't support his position, I pushed for the next step. Probing him to see if he was interested to go the extra-mile in his honesty. 'Can I share with you another text then and you can tell me what you think of it?' I said without waiting for his answer. I quickly turned by New Testament pages and read him this:
"But the evil spirit told them, 'Jesus I know, and I am getting acquainted with Paul, but who are you?'" - Acts 19:15 
This time my friend was really taken aback. He gazed intently into the Bible trying to read preceding texts, trying to find out if there was other hidden meaning or an out of the context verse. Then he laughed. 

'I can't believe demons have dared to pronounce the 'name of Jesus'!''- He was incredulous and laughing nervously. He was convinced I came to learn later. He had elevated stories and anecdotes he heard in different Christian communities above the testimony of the scriptures. His intention was perfectly understandable. He wanted a crushing victory over Satan and all his legions of demons, but the scriptures was revealing to him that even though Christ's victory over Satan was absolute, this doesn't have to mean we have to make up new 'theologies' without taking in account what the bible really teaches.  


I had come to learn that things are not always as simple as some teachers or preachers of the Bible tend to make it sound. Let's take the case on casting out (expelling demons).

Expelling Demons:

St Paul had an episode where he was confronted with a demonic activity and he seemed to have effortlessly expel that demon by using the name of Jesus.
"She kept doing this for many days until Paul became annoyed, turned to her and told the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus the Messiah to come out of her!" And it came out that very moment." - Acts 16:18   
However when we read 3 chapters later, a group of young men also using the name of Jesus didn't find the same successful experience in expelling demons.
"Then some Jews who went around trying to drive out demons attempted to use the name of the Lord Jesus on those who had evil spirits, saying, "I command you by that Jesus whom Paul preaches!" ... Then the man with the evil spirit jumped on them, got the better of them, and so violently overpowered all of them that they fled out of the house naked and bruised. - Act 19:13, 16
Image result for satanIn the case quote above in The Acts of the Apostle, they used the right name, the name of Jesus. They even specified which Jesus they spoke of, Jesus the Christ who Paul was preaching. Despite that, demons were overtly aggressive and hostile to them and refused to leave despite the use of the name of Jesus, and that demons made sure that those praying in the name of Jesus were the one leaving that home in a catastrophic manner.

The Apostle of Power

In those days of St. Paul ministry, he experienced great divine power and we are told that demons were expelled even by the presence of some of his handkerchiefs. 
"And God did works of power through the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons from his skin being brought onto the sick, the diseases were released, and the evil spirits went out of them." - Act 19:11  
If you only read this, you might think nothing could have resisted to St. Paul in his earthly life. You couldn't be more wrong if that is what you thought. Paul himself explained,
"Therefore we desired to come to you, truly I, Paul, both once and twice; but Satan hindered us." - 1 Thessalossians 2:18  
St. Paul is writing to the Church of the Thessalonians explaining why he hasn't be able to come and visit them despite his desire and certainly not by lack of trying. He tried more than once to organize a visit and knowing Paul, He certainly prayed for that. But in both occasions Satan hindered him, prevented him. At this point some over-zealous Christian might think, "but Paul, just cast out Satan in Jesus'name! Don't you know that there is power in the name of Jesus?" Right!?

Sometimes, the reality of the spiritual battlefield is more complicated than we are sometimes thinking. In another occasion we read that God permitted Satan to inflict severe discomfort to St. Paul, 
"... and by the surpassing revelations, lest I be made haughty, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be made haughty." - 2 Corinthians 12:7 MKJV  
Or as this other version put it,
"To keep me from becoming conceited because of the exceptional nature of these revelations, a thorn was given to me and placed in my body. It was Satan's messenger to keep on tormenting me so that I would not become conceited" - 2 Corinthians 12:7 ISV  
Paul knew about Jesus victory over Satan on the Cross, he was the one who wrote Collosians 2 that I quoted above, and he was still the same Paul who did amazing miracles and casted out demons in Acts as already mentioned. But we see him at this particular point of his Christian life unable to defeat Satan. Why? Because things are not always as simple as some preachers pretend it to be.

Fight the Good Fight

We are exhorted to fight the good fight in the New Testament because the truth of the matter is that the Christian fight against the enemy is not also Black & White or straight forward. We have to stay alert and collaborate with the Spirit of God who will train us in fighting the good fight. One group of Christians were not careful in their fight against the enemy and found themselves Bewitched. 
"O foolish Galatians, who bewitched you not to obey the truth, to whom before your eyes Jesus Christ was written among you crucified?" - Gal 3:1  MKJV
 The bewitching of the Galatians Christians is troubling to many. How can they be affected by demonic interference some wonder? It is not possible for someone who have the Spirit of Christ in Him to be victim of Satan. Well, as already said above, things are not as simple as preachers tell us. As for the Galatians, they made a fatal mistake, they opened themselves to a false gospel. they started believing in receiving their justification through the law of an Old Covenant instead of receiving it from the person of Jesus. By doing so, they forfeited the divine protection which is their inheritance through Jesus Christ.

How do I know that? Because Paul said as much:
"you who are justified by Law are deprived of all effect from Christ; you fell from grace." - Galatians 5:4 
If protection from Curses (Gal 3:13) and the power of the enchantress comes through Christ victory at the cross, then to be 'deprived of all effect from Christ' will entail to be deprived from the victory of Christ. That is why Paul said to them, 'you fell from grace'. You can only fall if you were standing, and the Galatians fell from that position of strength which the position of divine grace, hence became victimized by the enemy (Satan).

The word 'bewitched' is an ancient word used for 'occult' practices known in in the middle East as the 'Evil Eye'. The Greek word for that is, 'baskainō' (Strong Hebrew and Greek Dictionary). Here is two other different translations of the same verse.

International Standard Version: "You foolish Galatians! Who put you under a spell? Was not Jesus the Messiah clearly portrayed before your very eyes as having been crucified? " - Galatians 3:1  (ISV)

Easy-to-read Version: "You people in Galatia are so foolish! Why do I say this? Because I told you very clearly about the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. But now it seems as though you have let someone use their magical powers to make you forget." - Galalatians 3:1  ERV

For this reason, let us remember the warning of the scriptures, "so that we may not be outsmarted by Satan. After all, we are not unaware of his intentions." - 2 Corinthians 2:11 (ISV)

And if we are outsmarted by Satan, we can not expect him to leave us alone. He will endearvor to destroy us. That is why you should stick to correct biblical doctrines and proper Christian living otherwise the enemy might find a door to destabilize our lives. For this warning was also written to Christians 2000 years ago and it is still relevant to us in the 21st century,
 "When you are angry, don't let that anger make you sin, and don't stay angry all day. Don't give the devil a way to defeat you." - Ephesians 4:26-27
I will end with this words, Christ victory is historic and irreversible. We on the other hand, we are call to be overcomer by the power of Christ. If we stay in line and do not believe false teachings we will overcome despite adversities that may fall upon us as it did with St. Paul. We have to keep fighting the good fight and learn fast how to excel in that. 

Let us speak the truth to each other, especially doctrinal truths. Some may not like what I wrote but it doesn't change the fact that it is still the truth, the biblical truth.
"So have I now become your enemy for telling you the truth?" - Galatians 4:16  

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire