In this ELEVEN part GTY Blog series they explore the great lies that the world believes:
CONTEXT: Chapter 2 ends the story of a sinless world and here in chapter 3 we have the story of the willful fall of mankind into sin.
Most of the time when this story is related the emphasis is on Eve, the tempted and the Satan (serpent) the tempter. Common headings include things like “The serpent deceives Eve” or “The Fall of Man.” While I will not argue these are factual in the end result, there seems to be (at least to me) a missing emphasis in almost all these commentaries, sermons and stories I have heard and read. Who was Satan really attacking?
Was Satan attacking Eve, Adam, or God? If you answered the latter, we are in agreement. Eve was a tool nothing more to Satan, to attack God’s authority and character. Look at v.1 Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not… and v.5 For God doth know… Satan’s attack is upon God thinking he can use man to achieve his goals.
Nothing has changed in the 6000 +/- years since the Garden. Satan is still the ever deceitful wandering the earth seeking victims of his delusions. The object of those delusions inevitably is always God. It is common for him to impart unbiblical wisdom such as:
- God does not really love you
- God won’t forgive a sinner like you
- God has left you to your own demise
- God won’t care it’s only a “little” sin
Attacks on God’s Character
“Stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).
One of Satan’s most effective tactics is to challenge God’s credibility.
CONTEXT: From Dr. John Gills Commentary:
INTRODUCTION TO ZECHARIAH 3
In this chapter, under the type of Joshua the high priest, is showed the state and condition of the priesthood, and of the church of God, in his times; and in it are various promises concerning the true High Priest, Christ, and of the efficacy and permanency of his priesthood. The vision of Joshua is in the form of a judicial process: Joshua is the person accused, and is described by his situation, standing before the Angel of the Lord; and by the filthy garments he had on, which were the ground of the charge against him, Zechariah 3:1 The accuser of him is Satan, who stood at his right hand; and his Judge is the Angel of the Lord, before whom he was, Zechariah 3:1. The sentence given against his accuser is by way of rebuke, enforced by the Lord's choice of Jerusalem, and merciful deliverance of this person; and, as given in his favour, is an order to take his filthy garments from him, and clothe him with change of raiment, and to put a fair mitre on his head; which were accordingly done, Zechariah 3:2 and a promise is made him, by way of protestation, that if he would walk in his ways, and keep his charge, he should judge his house, and keep his courts, and should have a walking place among those that stood by, Zechariah 3:6 and next Joshua, and those that were with him, are addressed as men wondered at; and are called upon to hearken to a promise of the Messiah, under the character of the Branch, Zechariah 3:8 and under that of a stone with seven eyes on it, and engravings in it, by whom the iniquity of God's people is removed, Zechariah 3:9 and the chapter is closed with an account of the prosperity, peace, and safety of the saints under the Gospel dispensation, Zechariah 3:10.
Our text for today makes it clear who is in charge of the situation, And the angel can only refer a member of the Godhead for only they could silence Satan the accuser. While it is clear from the Hebrew text that the intent was to prophesize the revival of the Jewish nation after its long Babylonian exile, we can look at it with a modern and personal application.
Joshua represents us, the believer, constantly being accused before our High Priest, Christ Jesus. It is important to note where Joshua is, directly standing before the angel of the Lord. The is the position that every TRUE believer needs to be in. Not some lollygagger hiding in the shadows, no business standing before the idols of this world but directly in front of the one and only true High Priest, Hebrews 4:14-16.
It is only Christ the redeemer who can transform our filthy rags (sin nature) into clothes as white as snow. He and He alone paid the price at Calvary for all mankind’s sin.
Are your clothes as clean as new-fallen snow today?
In this portion of scripture, Paul is describing the Man of Lawlessness and the coming “Day of the Lord.”
Our text in the picture above combined makes a clear and convincing argument that God is not sitting on the sidelines while the world is running amuck in chaos. Despite what the naysayers and poorly read theologians think, God and God alone restrains evil.
Today I offer an article/sermon from John Macarthur and Grace to You ministries on the subject. May it bless you greatly.
Protoevangelium is the combining word of two Greek words, protos meaning “first” and evangelion meaning “good news” or “gospel”. Genesis 3:15 is commonly referred to as the first mention of the good news of salvation in the Bible and is therefore called the Protoevangelium.
The first promise Genesis 3:15 is like the first small spring or head of a great river, which the farther it runs the bigger it grows by the accession of more waters to it. Or like the sun in the heavens, which the higher it mounts the more bright and glorious the day still grows. – John Flavel
Anyone even remotely familiar with the bible knows the basic story of Genesis 3. As a reminder here is my condensed outline of the first 15 verses.
- v.1 – A cunning serpent (the fallen angel Satan) temps Eve in the garden of Eden
- v.2-3 – Eve reply’s to the serpent
- v.4-5 – The serpent calls God a liar
- v. 6-7 – Adam and Eve both sin against God (eat the forbidden fruit) and their sinfulness is revealed to them
- v.8-9 – Adam and Eve try (unsuccessfully) and hide their sin from God
- v.10-12,13 – Adam makes excuses for sinning (blames Eve), Eve answers God
- v.14-15 – God curses the serpent
George Whitefield, (1714-1770)
In this 4th chapter of his Epistle to the church at Ephesus, Paul begins v.1-16 with an exhortation to Christian Unity. In v.17-24 we find his opening of today’s theme Living the New Life in Christ where Paul emphasizes putting away the old life and adopting the new life wrapped in the likeness of God.
In order to get to pour main text above I need to again put it in context of the whole with which it was written v.25-32:
25 Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor,[j] because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin.[k] Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the devil an opportunity.28 Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. 29 No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need,[l]so that it gives grace to those who hear.30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him[m] for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you[n] in Christ (CSB)
If we just take v.32 it sounds goo, in fact I am sure many of us have heard if said by non-believers accusingly something like; ‘I thought you Christians were supposed to be king and caring full of forgiveness.’
So how is it “we Christians” can answer those accusations? Paul tells us in the text:
Always speak the truth to our neighbors.
If you get angry (natural for all men) do not let it cause you to sin.
Do not give the devil a toe hold in your life. If you are angry at someone deal with it Matthew 18:15 (note while this addresses Christian brothers it is applicable to all)
Work hard and share with those in need. Haters will always be out there, but it is hard to argue with hard work and caring. (Matthew 25:40)
We (God’s Chosen Elect) Christians are indwelled by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) the Third person of the Triune Godhead. As such He cannot abide with sin Psalm 5:4 says For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil cannot dwell with you. By putting away sin that is making every effort not to sin and when we do to quickly confess our sins, we avoid Grieving the Holy Spirit
Finally whatever comes out of our mouths must be Graceful to the hearers. You do not want folks hearing you trash talk others, curse and carry on. In all our speech Glorify God.
We cannot on our own do any of this. That is (in my opinion) why Paul reminds the Church at Ephesus to Unify in fellowship and as individuals to put on the new life in Christ. Our strength to defeat our old ways and the devils temptations comes not from self but from God and fellowship with like minded brethren.
Tim Counts | April 03, 2020
It happened again. My wife and I heard of yet another Christian couple—whom we knew and loved—ending their marriage. I felt sick. I couldn’t rid my mind of the years, likely decades, of unrest that would trickle from this.
It seems as if Christians are beginning to be okay with their marriages mimicking the world’s broken marriages. We are growing accustomed to leaving the gospel on the sideline when it comes to our wedding vows. Divorce has become something of a car crash: unpleasant, destructive, but sometimes simply inevitable. A wreck, however, pales in comparison to the ripple-effects of divorce. A fractured marriage not only affects the family, it devastates our witness as ministers of grace to a broken world.
But just consider the impact of a couple who says and actually means their wedding vows—”for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
Several years ago, I officiated a memorial service for a woman who had had a long fight with Alzheimer’s. She rarely recognized her husband the last years of her life. Yet week after week he drove four hours to be with his bride. On his last visit, something changed. She held his face in her hands and whispered, “I love you.” What a beautiful picture of the stubborn, never-wearying love of the gospel—a love that gives and forbears, even in days and years of forgetfulness.
The following are two biblical truths that help us to understand why God calls us to reflect the gospel by keeping our marriage covenant.
Satan Hates Your Marriage
In marriage, we do have an enemy, but that enemy is not our spouse. Understanding that will make all the difference. That enemy is the one who delights in deceiving, distorting, and dividing. Satan has hated marriage from the beginning, just as he hates all of God’s good creation.
When God created Eve and then led her to Adam as his bride, the Scriptures says: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Immediately following God’s institution of marriage, the enemy of marriage enters: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made” (Gen. 3:1). In the following verses, we see the immediate results of Satan’s temptation. Eve tempts her husband to sin. And Adam resentfully points the finger, blaming his wife and God for his sin. Satan wasted no time, creating a chasm of resentment and struggle between man and his wife.
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Satan continues to hate marriage to this day. Why? Because God formed this institution to reflect the relentlessly-loving relationship between Christ and His bride—the church (Eph. 5:31–32). When we throw in the towel on our marriages, when we are unfaithful through infidelity or pornography, when we stop fighting for our marriages with a holy stubbornness, we fail to reflect the One who never stops assuring His bride, “No matter what, I will not let you go.” We too quickly let Satan win.
Jesus Will Never Leave His Bride
Jesus will never leave nor forsake His bride. Sally Lloyd-Jones described God’s covenant love as His “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.” Oh, that our marriages could be described like that. When Jesus came to earth as God in the flesh, He put skin on unconditional love. He showed what love looks like towards the unlovely—the prostitutes, the tax collectors, to those who had nothing to offer in return. When we display Jesus’ love by maintaining our marriage covenant, we become a practical demonstration of the love of Christ to a broken world.
Jesus will never leave His bride. Followers of Jesus shouldn’t either.
Yet Jesus does more than provide an example of stubborn love. The good news of the gospel is that believers are given the strength to live and love righteously. Because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, we can lean into the embrace of Jesus to find the strength to love our spouse.
I remember hearing the testimony of a young couple who had been on the brink of divorce. The husband had battled anger for years. The wife had committed adultery. After he and his wife had separated, the husband repented and turned to the Lord. In an attempt to reconcile, the husband looked at her and said, “Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and rose from the dead?”
Yes, was her replay.
He continued: “And do you really believe that God could raise a dead man back to life and not breathe new life back into our marriage?” Restoration soon flooded this relationship—God breathed life into brokenness.
If Satan seems to have the upper hand in your marriage, if you are weary of trying to love your spouse with whatever endurance you can muster, the gospel has a better word for you.
Cling to Christ as you seek to reflect His faithful love to your spouse:
O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow,
May richer, fuller be.
[Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated.]
So yes, the title is a little deceptive, but in essence we as “True Christians” need to be ready to be “Cry Babies” if we have the expectation of reaping the JOY’S of Heaven.
Life is and should be tough for the elect of Christ. If you are cruising through it then Satan does not recognize you as a true believer and you need to check your faith and salvation. If you are constantly hitting speed bumps HARD, (attacks from all sides it may seem) then you are working for the kingdom and likely on the right path. That path is full of tears and heartache but the reward is worth it all.
Los que sembraron con lágrimas, con regocijo segarán. (RVR 1960)
Exposition, Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings; C.H. Spurgeon;
In every country there are family names which everyone recognizes, names which are keys to understanding that country’s history. For New England, such a name belonged to the Mathers.
Richard Mather brought the family seeds to America. A well-educated minister in the Church of England, he had been suspended from his pulpit for refusing to conform to the mandatory practices of the established church. He migrated to Boston in August 1635 where he became a Puritan pastor, exerting his influence not only from the pulpit but through production of the Bay Psalm Book. His son, Increase Mather, was likewise a pastor and author, whose life is closely intertwined with the history of Massachusetts. Perhaps his greatest service was to act as an agent of the colony in resisting Charles II’s revocation of its charter. He also served as president of Harvard and earned America’s first Doctor of Divinity degree.
The third person of this Mather trilogy was perhaps the most notable of all. Cotton was born on this date, February 12, 1663. Like his famous father and grandfather he entered the ministry. Acutely aware of sin in himself, from a young age he subjected his body to fasts and vigils and his mind to periodic self-examination. Six times a day he broke off business to pray and meditate. As a man he was unusually introspective. One wonders if he placed trust in works or in Christ. Sometimes he claimed direct illumination from God and at other times groaned or swooned. Often he felt plagued by demons.
Convinced from his own experience of the real power of Satan, he supported witch hunting. At the urging of the Salem court, he wrote Wonders of the Invisible World which described the Salem witch trials. It is unfortunate that he did not pay more heed to his father’s opposite views. Cotton’s name is forever blemished by the Salem witch trials, which show how badly superstition can warp an otherwise intelligent man.
For he was an intelligent man. 444 of his works were printed in his day, including a fascinating and valuable history of God’s workings in New England. The Royal Society of London elected him a member and read his scientific papers. The Christian Philosopher was his foray into apologetics. “The works of the Glorious GOD in the Creation of the World are what I now propose to exhibit; in brief Essays to enumerate some of them, that He may be glorified in them…” He quoted often from his large and valuable personal library.
Cotton was not merely a scholar. His pastoral care and rapport with troubled teens won admiration. He actively participated in the hour’s political roly poly, for example, justifying the seizure and imprisonment of the colonial governor Edmund Andros.
He died February 13, 1728. With him the Mathers fade from New England’s center stage. However, the first three were so great that their name remains inseparable from the history of the region.
Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just [a]when You speak,
And blameless when You judge. (NKJV)
Contra ti, contra ti solo he pecado, Y he hecho lo malo delante de tus ojos;
Para que seas reconocido justo en tu palabra, Y tenido por puro en tu juicio. (RVR 1960)
Some folks refuse to accept God’s gracious invitation of eternal life through Christ because they “feel” they are unworthy, their past “sins” are too great. Yet here is King David calling out the the Lord in probably the greatest recorded confession and repentance letter (Psalm) ever, acknowledging his sins, pleading with God for forgiveness.
David understood that above all else we sin against the Holy God of all creation. He also understood that a Holy God is a merciful God and Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins [a]and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
No matter your past (Adulterer, Arsonist, Murderer or even Rapist) if you are a truly converted and redeemed child of God (producing fruits of the Spirit for all to see) then it is time for you to move on from your past offending behaviors. You must resist Satan’s attempts to keep your mind behind Isaiah 43:18 “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old” and look to the future.
That does not mean that you completely forget or ignore your past mistakes. How stupid would that be? In Philippians 3:13-14 Paul makes the following statement: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have [a]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” He is not dwelling on the past (Paul was a mass murderer of Christians) in order that he may carry on the work of Christ Jesus.
In conclusion the next time you are tempted by Satan or his minions (that is anyone doing his bidding telling you you’re unworthy) to Be Defined by Your Past I want you to remember these verses:
You are a new person in Christ– Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Satan and his minions future is set– Matthew 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:”