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Joined: 2002/12/11
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 The Life Satan Hates by Stella Paterson

In the last article we talked about the ineffective gospel that Satan loves. It suits his purpose in keeping man from the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. He desires to keep man from understanding that asking to have his sins forgiven will never change what a person is, and that eternal Life comes solely through a work of the Spirit of God.

Peter Xu Yongze, a persecuted believer in China, said:

"Lost human souls are firmly chained prisoners of Satan and his demonic forces. They cannot be argued into the kingdom of God because their problem is not an intellectual one. Nor is there any point in trying to change their outward behavior if they do not have the inward spiritual life that only Jesus can give. . . . There is not the slightest possibility that we can lead anyone to the foot of the cross unless Jesus himself becomes involved. Only his power can save a sinner." [1]
The One who created man in the beginning is the only One who can regenerate a person who is born flesh and must be born again. As Christ comes to dwell in one who is born again it is just the start of his new life. He is a baby in Christ and must begin the process of growing up to maturity, like a child does.

As much as Satan loves the false gospel, there is something he hates even more. And that is the focus of this article. Someone asked a question about sin not being an issue after one is born again, so we will be showing what the bible says about that. But first of all, let's take a brief look at what is behind Satan's hatred for Life.

When Lucifer said in his heart that he wanted to be like the most High[2], God 'heard' his thoughts and this was enough for him to be thrust down to hell as punishment for his rebellion. He no longer held the glorious position as a beautiful angel who was created to worship God--all because he wanted to take God's place. It was self-exaltation that brought his downfall; nevertheless he still clung to his intense desire to oppose the Lord God Almighty. And with Satan's cunning ways, and appearing as a serpent in the Garden, it was self-exaltation that he deceived mankind into pursuing through the knowledge of good and evil, thereby becoming self-sufficient and independent from his God. Satan knew the Creator had said man would die if he ate of the fruit of that forbidden tree, so Satan's plan was to cause man's separation from the life of God.

Thousands of years later as God's plan of redemption was unfolding, and Jesus was going to offer up His flesh as the final sacrifice for sin, Satan was about to learn he wasn't as smart as he thought he was. Instead of his own victory because of the death of Jesus Christ, God's Son, the tables were turned and it was Jesus who was victor over Satan and his crowd when He arose from the dead to give Life to all who would put their trust in Him. Paul put it this way: "Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." (1 Corinthians 2:8).

Believers' life

Satan was powerless to stop God's plan to give Life to those who would come to Him. Therefore, the life Satan hates is the life that is hid with Christ in God. It is the life he cannot touch, as John wrote in his first epistle. In the context of chapter five, John was speaking about death and life, and verse 18 tells us how Satan cannot rob eternal Life from one who is truly born again. "We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." (1 John 5:18-19 ESV).

There is a vast difference between one who has been led in a simple prayer, asking to have his sins forgiven, and one who has come to the Lord because he was drawn by the Holy Spirit. How many millions are there who believe they have been born again because of praying a sinners prayer, and yet there is no evidence of the Lord's work in their life? This is a tragedy of monumental proportion! In the western world, in particular, there are throngs of religious people who go through the motions of what they believe is the "Christian life." There is an abundance of ritualism but no real life in the Spirit. They struggle with condemnation because they hear so much about "sins" according to whatever their religious affiliation calls sin. In reality, they still lie in the power of the evil one who is a master at condemnation which he uses to keep them in his grip. All the while, they are oblivious to the fact that all their goodness is of the flesh and every bit as evil as those things they call sin.

I know all this because I was one of them, until the Lord got hold of me and turned my life inside-out and upside-down. He had always been there, gently calling me. There were times when I sincerely sought Him, but until He got hold of me and I cried out to Him to make me completely His, I really wasn't a true born again believer--I was nothing but an obnoxious, religious prig. Once the Lord had made me His, and I knew it, all I wanted to do was talk about Him. My husband and I went from one church to another, and another, but it was rare to find anyone interested in talking about Jesus. It wasn't long before we finally realized there was no true fellowship in those places. So we just followed the Lord and didn't look back. He has become my sufficiency. Sure, there were times when I didn't remain as close to Him, but the gracious Holy Spirit kept drawing me back to my first love--Jesus.

This is a brief testimony I found online a few years ago of a man who had been taught that it was his sins that were the problem, rather than his sinful state:

"I wanted the Lord with all my heart, but in all honestly I couldn't say that I truly repented. And I knew it. I just wasn't 'sorry' for my past sins as I knew I should be. As I knew I HAD TO BE! And not being truly sorry, or seeing my sins as being so evil. . .well, I could not honestly repent. It bothered me that without being repentant over my sins that I would never become a born again Christian. But I remember a verse that stated that 'if any man lack any thing' he could ask the Lord for it. So, I asked the Lord to help me to feel truly repentant. That next morning, on my long commute to work (55 Miles) the glory of the Lord, the purity of His presence, came into the cab of my truck. So Holy. Holy, holy, holy! So pure. I immediately felt filthy, vile, dirty in His presence. . .true repentance came very, very easy that morning. I was totally broken, and weak with tears. What a wonderful God we have!"
In places like China, North Korea and Iran, there are millions of souls coming to Jesus. He is at work in places where those souls who come to Him, and who experience His love and His presence, are forever changed. They immediately have a burning desire to share the good news (Gospel) with others. Of course, in China and North Korea, it is Communism that rules. And in Iran, it is Islam. But the believers in those places do not fear the reprisal of such oppressive regimes; they suffer persecution with gladness, even witnessing to their persecutors. The testimonies of persecuted Christians are so phenomenal that it is almost hard to believe the torture they endure with such patience.

There are millions of souls coming to Christ in all those places mentioned, as well as in other places. We in the western world can only hope for such a revival in our nations and in our time. Has God turned His back on our nations because of the hardness of our hearts? P. K. Yohannen, the founder of Gospel for Asia, said,

"Unbrokenness is a fearful thing. It is the spirit of Satan, whose nature is incurable pride that can forever resist God. God's greatest problem is not our sin (for He dealt with that on the cross), but the hardness and unbrokenness of our hearts. That is God's greatest problem, the root of all our troubles."
Do we realize that our precious brothers and sisters in China pray for us? Are we ready to deal with the answer to their prayers? "You might be interested to know, that one of the underground Church prayers for the western church, is that we will suffer persecution, so that perhaps we will be roused from our slumber and see how far from the mark we have fallen." [3] How many saints at one time had a relationship with the living Christ, and yet have grown lukewarm? Maybe they have turned from trusting in Him back to trusting in self. We addressed the folly of such in the last article.

Sin and death

"Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" (Romans 5:20-21; 6:1-2 ESV).

In the book of Romans, Paul goes into great detail to explain the difference between law and grace and the fact that sin has been dealt with, once for all. "For the death [Jesus] died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God." (Romans 6:10 ESV). Then Paul continues by saying that we must also consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Yes, our salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit and our Christian walk is governed by the Holy Spirit, but we do have a responsibility; we have a free will--we are not puppets. So Paul's admonition is found in the 13th verse: "Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness." (Romans 6:13 ESV). He said something similar in Romans 12, admonishing us to present our bodies a living sacrifice.

This next verse is one that must be clearly understood if we desire to walk in the freedom of the Spirit. Paul said, "For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace." (Romans 6:14 ESV). When "under law" our lives are dictated by rules that must be obeyed in the strength of our flesh--we are not in Christ, but "in self," which is diametrically opposed to God's will. But when "under grace," we are under the divine influence of the Holy Spirit; our life is free from the "dominion" of sin. Death has no hold on us because we are a new creation in Christ Jesus, with His Life--Eternal Life--living through us by His Spirit. Paul's words help make this more clear: "We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin." (Romans 6:6-7 ESV).

There are times when we will slip up and do something that the Holy Spirit will quickly convict us of. First John 1:9 tells us: "If we confess [Greek: 'acknowledge'] our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The Greek word for "sins" is the same one that is used in the verse which speaks of the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world. It is abstract, and therefore the meaning would more accurately be "sinfulness."

A Chinese brother from the underground Church told of a time when he "sinned," as he called it. He had wavered in his trust in the Lord's provision and keeping power while he was in prison for preaching the Gospel. It grieved him greatly, and he cried out to the Lord to forgive him. He even acknowledged that if the Lord saw fit to leave him in prison for a longer period, he would accept it as punishment for his "sin." To Brother Yun, unbelief (not trusting) was a grievous thing.

If we really think about it, unbelief truly is a grievous thing. How many of us in the western world think nothing of wavering in our trust in the Lord, even turning to trust in our own ways many times? To the persecuted brothers and sisters in China and other places, their very lives depend on a firm trust in the Lord. Without it they would never survive. Or when they are killed they go peacefully, for it is with great joy that they give their lives for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many times, because of witnessing such faith in God, the persecutors have come to know the Lord.

As long as we live in this physical body, we will slip up many times. But it does not mean we have given ourselves over to the dominion of sin and death. We would never tell Jesus we no longer want His Life dwelling in us, and that we desire to go back to the death we inherited from Adam. That would be unthinkable for one who has truly known the presence of the living Christ in his innermost being. It all boils down to one thing. As someone once said, "There is a cross and there is a throne in all our lives. If 'I' is on the throne, then Christ is on the cross. If Christ is on the throne, then 'I' is on the cross."

Walking in the Spirit

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul the Apostle said, "In the Spirit walk ye, and the desire of the flesh ye may not complete; for the flesh doth desire contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit contrary to the flesh, and these are opposed one to another, that the things that ye may will--these ye may not do; and if by the Spirit ye are led, ye are not under law." (Galatians 5:16-18 YLT).

The Holy Spirit is referred to as the "Spirit of grace" in Hebrews 10:29. Although the Greek word "charis," (which is translated "grace"), has a wide variety of definitions, its use in most New Testament passages is seen as the Holy Spirit's work in a believer's life. The familiar words in Ephesians 2:8-9 tell us: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (ESV). Using the definitions for "grace" and "faith," the 8th verse says, "For by the divine influence upon the heart you have been saved through reliance upon Christ for salvation." That is the message the ekklesia at Ephesus received when they read Paul's letter to them.

When a person is under law, he obeys in his own strength; it is simple obedience to rules--a life lived in the flesh with no real acknowledgement of God. But under grace a person submits to the inner leading of the Holy Spirit. Rees Howells, the well-known intercessor, said, "In my boyhood days the strictest man I knew was my schoolmaster, but how often I said that the Holy Ghost was a thousand times more strict--the schoolmaster could only judge by actions, but the Holy Ghost was judging by the motive." [4] Man judges according to law, but God knows the thoughts and intents of the heart.

In his letter to the Galatians, just after he said they were not under law if they were led by the Spirit, Paul spoke of all the manifestations of the flesh that keeps man out of the kingdom of God. He then followed with these words:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control-against [Greek: 'according to'] such things there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-25 EMTV.
The divine influence of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ is the same "grace" that keeps us as we faithfully walk in submission to His leading. The Holy Spirit's presence in us is our Life. It is the Life of Christ living through us, and what is visible to others is His fruit--the evidence of His presence. Like Paul said, if we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
If Christ is our Life, then why would we not follow His leading? Why would we ever consider taking the New Testament, and adopting it as a book of rules to follow? The Holy Spirit will never lead us contrary to the printed words of God. However, the King James translators used words in translation that were in line with hierarchical thinking, which was prevalent in the 17th century. And today, we have distorted ideas that come from verses that were translated with phrases such as, "Obey those that have the rule over you," [5] or "let the women keep silent," and words such as "bishop," [6] when the definition does not agree with such.

There is one example in particular where bible verses are used as law to place in bondage a great number of God's servants. I speak of those who diligently follow passages in the New Testament to muzzle women in the body of Christ. This is a wide-spread problem, even amongst honest and sincere men and women of God. There are some who almost live in fear of allowing a woman to speak before an audience that includes men. This is something that is prevalent in the Muslim world, and has no place in the body of Christ where in Him there is neither male nor female.

In Acts 2:17-18, Peter was repeating the words of Joel's prophecy when he said, "And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy." (ESV). If God had Joel deliver such a prophecy, and directed Peter to repeat it, why would He go contrary to His own will and have Paul speak otherwise?

The passage in Genesis which tells of the curse man brought upon himself included the part which said, "Unto the woman He said, 'Multiplying I multiply thy sorrow and thy conception, in sorrow dost thou bear children, and toward thy husband is thy desire, and he doth rule over thee.'" (Genesis 3:16 YLT). Male dominance is the result of man's evil, not a part of God's ideal plan. Unfortunately there are millions of women who are mistreated and horribly abused in situations where men believe it is their right to subjugate their wives into submission. This type of thinking must have affected the King James translators when they translated Paul's personal letters to young Timothy and Titus. I Suffer Not a Woman - Was Paul a Mail Chauvinist? is a good resource that explains more of what Paul was speaking to Timothy.

If a woman is walking by the Spirit in obedience to Christ, her life will be in accordance with God's perfect will. She will not fear when she speaks under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which is what "to prophesy" means and which Joel prophesied would come to pass. And she would never, ever, attempt to control another person, let alone a man. At the same time, if a man is walking by the Spirit, in obedience to Christ, his life will also be in accordance with God's perfect will. He will not be attempting to silence a woman whom God has called to obedience to Him. He will not be taking verses of scripture and applying them as law that must be adhered to. As Paul said, "If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law." And the Spirit will never go contrary to God's will.

Life in Christ

A true life in Christ is, first and foremost, one of prayer and communion with the One who means everything to us. Unless we talk to Him and listen to Him there is no relationship, for relationship is based on communication. Samuel Chadwick (1860-1932) said, "The one concern of the Devil is to keep the saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayer-less studies, prayer-less work, prayer-less religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray."

The bible is full of the richest treasures. In it we learn what it means to live our life in Christ. The Holy Spirit, being our Teacher, will lead us into all truth as we read the written word. He will never cause us to become as the Pharisees and use the scriptures as rules to live by and to place others in bondage. As believers in Christ, we are entrusting our spiritual well being to Him, which is what it means to "believe." We must never attempt to take care of our own spiritual well being. We will surely fall short. It must grieve our Lord immensely when we fail to heed the Holy Spirit's teaching. Jesus went to the Father so He could send us His Spirit. He is faithful. Let us not reject Him!

Here are some wonderful examples of refreshing to be found in the printed word:

"With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." ~ Isaiah 12:3
"For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants." ~ Isaiah 44:3
"Jesus said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'" ~ John 4:13-14
"Whoever believes in [Greek: 'entrusts his spiritual well being to'] me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" ~ John 7:38 ESV.
F.B. Meyer said: "The longing of the soul for God only makes itself felt when all lesser delights and earthly joys are relegated to their right place. If you are not conscious of this soul-thirst it is because your heart is trying to satisfy itself from the world, and is engaged in digging wells that can hold no water."

The life Satan hates is the one that is hidden with Christ in God; the life he cannot touch. But those who are not truly born again and living a life in the power of the Holy Spirit are fair game for Satan's deceptive schemes. Those schemes target religious flesh, tempting deceived souls to function in the strength of self, all the while giving them the appearance of godliness.

Let us forsake self and become lost in Jesus Christ, our wonderful Lord and Saviour. Life in Him is a life of surrender to the Holy Spirit--the life Satan hates.

[1] Back to Jerusalem, by Hattaway, Paul; Wang, Enoch; Yongze, Peter Xu; Yun, Brother (2012-01-09).
[2] Isaiah 14:14
[4] Rees Howells - Intercessor by Norman Grubb


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