The devil is doing it again (Charles Box)
The Devil is not eternal like God, but he is just as real. The Bible says that Satan is the deceiver of the entire world. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:9)
The Devil is busy seeking man’s spiritual destruction. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 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, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1 Peter 5:6-9)
The Devil caused sin to be in the world. (Genesis 3) Sickness, death, disappointment and discouragement are all the working of Satan. Man is tempted to sin, but he is not tempted by God. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13) The Devil perverts the word of God. He perverted God’s truth and lead Eve astray. God said,
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
The Devil was able to pervert what God said with one word. He told Eve, “Ye shall not surely die.” (Genesis 3:4) He deceived Eve. God said “Eat and you will die!” The Devil said “Eat and you will not die!”
The Devil deceived Eve by adding “Not” to what God said and he is doing the same thing again today.
#1. God says the Bible does contain all things that pertain unto life and godliness; the Devil says the Bible does not contain all things that pertain unto life and godliness, instead we need additional revelation.
We read, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” (2 Peter 1:3) Humanity has truly been blessed by God with this great gift, the Bible. If we appreciate having the Bible we should study it daily. The people of Berea demonstrated the attitude that we should have toward the Bible. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11) Our personal Bible study should produce a sincere desire for obedience from the heart. (Romans 1:5)
#2. God says baptism is essential to salvation; the Devil says baptism is not essential to salvation.
Baptism is a very important and often misunderstood subject. Baptism is important because it is commanded by Christ. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16) Baptism is to be done by the authority of Jesus with its purpose being remissions of sins. (Acts 2:38) The blood of Jesus was shed in His death. “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” (John 19:34) Baptism is important because it brings one into contact with the death and blood of Jesus. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4)
#3. God says the one church of the Bible is necessary, the Devil says the one church of the Bible is not necessary.
The church in the Bible was paid for by the blood of Christ. “…feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28) God’s church is those “people” that were purchased with Christ’s blood. The church was never a physical building nor was it a denomination. Christ died to purchase and cleanse the church. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” (Ephesians 5:25) Christ is the Savior of the church. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” (Ephesians 5:23) If a person is saved he is a member of the blood bought church of Christ. Salvation and membership in Christ’s church is the same thing. God adds the saved, and only the saved, to the church. “…And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47) Are you a member of the church you can read about in the New Testament? Salvation and membership in the church of Christ is the same thing. You are not saved outside of the church.
#4. God says division or denominationalism is wrong, the Devil says division or denominationalism is not wrong.
When the word “church” is used, many people think of the building in which the church meets. The Bible never speaks of the church as a physical building. The church in the Bible is always saved people. According to Acts 11:22 the church has ears. Many view the “church” as a group made up of all denominations. A denomination is a religious group separated from others by a particular name or doctrine.
Denominationalism is opposed to the will of God. “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10) In Ephesians 4:4-6 the Bible teaches that there is one church or one body. This one church is the body of Christ. “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22-23) In the Bible there is one body or one church. Today, however, there are hundreds of “churches” in the world.
All who comply from the heart with the conditions set forth in the Bible become Christians; they are members of the Lord’s church. (Acts 2:47) To become a Christian, you must believe (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Acts 2:38), confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized into Christ. (Galatians 3:27) Are you a part of the blood bought church of Christ?
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama. 36037 USA