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Sunday, 16 October 2016

1 John 3:7-8

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 

Jesus came to undo what Satan has done. Satan came to bind, to lie, to accuse, to imprison, to hurt, to maim, to kill. (John 10:10) Jesus came to destroy him - to "luo", to unbind, to loosen, to break up so that something no longer holds together. Jesus came not only to unbind what Satan has bound (Luke 13:16, John 8:32), but to unbind Satan himself: to undo him utterly, to expose him, to pull the carpet out from under his feet, to unstitch his seams.

First and foremost what Satan has done is lie. He is a liar, incapable of truth, the very reverse of the God who cannot lie. Satan cannot not lie. (John 8:42) And the thing he loves most to lie about is God. He loves to lie about the Creator to his creatures, and then to the creatures about themselves and each other. The story of the Garden starts with a twisting of the truth, a seed of doubt sown into Adam and Eve's beautiful understanding of the One who has made them and loved them: did God really say? (Genesis 3:1) We all fall prey to such a lie. Tozer defines idolotry as the entertainment of thoughts that are unworthy of God (The Knowledge of the Holy, p.4); Satan sows idol thoughts. Subtle whisperings that gather momentum until we are utterly blinded (2 Corinthians 4:4). God is not really love. He is not really holy. He is not really good. In fact, he is not really there at all. We cannot see what is true. We cannot see the truth of God's character amidst a mindful of distortions.

And so, Jesus. Jesus came to dispel lies, to correct our understanding. He came that we might know what God is really like (John 1:18): "Christ walked with men on earth that He might show them what God is like and make known the true nature of God to a race that had wrong ideas about Him." (ibid p.108) The work of the devil is to paint a false picture of our good God; the work of Christ is to scratch it out, to scrape off the layers of paint and oil, dust and decay, and reveal the true masterpiece. (Hebrews 1:3, Colossians 1:15)

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