In Who’s Offense and Who’s Defense in Spiritual Warfare? we begin to see–in the ignorance of what the game is, who’s playing which side, and the stakes–the first glimmer of the grand delusion the world lies under. The belief that it can go against God and profit from it
For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Mark 8:36
Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. Matthew 26:14-16
or, conversely, believing they have something to lose by following Him.
So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, “What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.” John 11:47-8
It’s delusional because there is no way that God was ever going to create a world in which He could be defeated by His enemies. So when it appears to be otherwise–the death of Christ–one has to ask, “What’s really going on?” What is the game?
The game is to not sin. Christ, to be an acceptable sacrifice, had to die sinless. Christ’s death and resurrection was not a matter of God simply experiencing death just because we do, sleeping for a couple of days, and getting back up. For God to redeem man, then God had to become man and succeed where we had failed. If he wanted to beat the devil who had tempted them, then He had to be susceptible to the same temptations. Compare these two verses:
And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. Luke 4:6
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Matthew 28:18
Now, remember, it was Lord Jesus whose authority and power was so vast He could command demons to come out of people and they had to obey (He could have ordered the devil to back off), He had the power to instantly heal people (He could have healed Himself), to multiply bread and fishes (He could have fed Himself), and to calm storms (He could have calmed the crowds). He could have done all of that, but it would have been an abuse of power, misuse of authority, and a betrayal of trust. Because Lord Jesus would have been using them to profit Himself instead of the purposes they were intended: to glorify God. Compare that to the devil in Luke 4:6 who uses his authority to profit himself with the temptation of Christ. The fall of Christ would in no way have glorified God.
Even though Christ never sinned can you imagine how incredibly tempting it must’ve been? Especially, while He was dying on the cross.
For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. John 10:17
We get a little taste of this each Lent when we intentionally set something aside for 40 days: something which is completely in our power and authority to pick up again. If we have a hard time doing this, think how much harder it would be to set aside one’s own life? To undergo death rather than to be tempted to use that power and authority to save oneself.
If Christ had given into those temptations, then He would have failed. Mankind would not have been redeemed, Christ would not have been resurrected, no justification, no saving grace, no mercy, no forgiveness of sins, and no Holy Spirit to comfort us and guide us. Mankind would have been lost just as it had been before.
Christ achieved a great victory at Golgotha by remaining sinless even unto death
Does that mean that the devil would have won? No. Oh, he would have been successful in what he was trying to accomplish, but that’s not the game. The game is to not sin. The devil lost that game the moment he rebelled against God. When he later went up against Christ during His passion he was defending an indefensible position. All he would have accomplished was to add to the number of sinners and sin in the world. A short-term gain for a long-term loss. That’s the grand delusion: the more we gain through sin the better off we are. When it’s just the opposite: the more we gain through sin the worse off we are. We think we are winners, but we lose the moment our foot steps on that path. Consider those who wanted Christ crucified. They were probably feeling like winners when Christ died. That lasted for about three days. That was while they were alive. There’s still the judgment to come after death. Wonder how they’re feeling now?
I just have one more thing to add. Anytime anyone turns away from God they are leaving the rational for the irrational and the truth for a lie. This is why the more the world sins the more irrational it gets. And having no rational basis for what they do the arguments become one of emotion rather than truth. Now, this isn’t always going to be the case. There are times when someone simply can’t explain the positions they hold even when they are right, but it’s a good rule of thumb. If you want to discover whether something truly is a sin, then just look for the lie whether it be in the premises, the logic, intentional omissions, intentional obfuscation, or in the meaning of the words.
May we all come to appreciate the great things God has done for us! God bless!
Original post photo provided by Ben White @Unsplash