The Satanic Overstepping that Crowds Us to the Grace of God
...leaving Us with a Prevailing Hope
PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES is about our minds being made new in Christ. We have some powerful Scripture to explore, especially from the Lord Jesus and Paul. In this article, however, we’re going back to the beginning of trouble that came upon the minds of our Ancestors in Eden leading to the judgment that came in the time of Noah. As we consider this, we’re going to remember how the Lord Jesus said, And as (from káthos, “just exactly as”) it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man (Lk 17:26).
The corruption of our early Parents and their descendents began in their minds. A powerful passage from Genesis tells of the ruinous defilement that finally demanded the judgment of God. It reveals, indeed, what was the debasement of His highest creation that brought Him to this resolute decision: I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth—Gen 6:7.
See the words leading up to this in Gen 6:
5 And God saw that the wickedness (lewdness, moral depravity; injury, wrong done to others) of man (the descendents of Adam) was great in the earth, and that every imagination (the whole framework of their thinking) of the thoughts (the mind as it devises and invents) of his heart (the inner man) was only evil continually (all day, every day).
Take note of the imagination of the thoughts of his heart—three words touching upon the inner man, all of which had become evil to the point that the descendents of Adam were no longer simply useless for the purposes of the Lord, they must of necessity be removed from the earth.
6 And it repented the LORD (made Him regret) that He had made man (Adam) on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart (He was vexed to His heart with pain).
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy (wipe off) man (the descendents of Adam) whom I have created from the face of the earth...
While God determined that He would dispose of the descendents of Adam because their corruption had come to the point He could no longer allow them to inhabit the earth, there was one point of hope. It was the same hope we have for our day. We discover it in the next verse. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD—Gen 6:8.
THERE IS SOMETHING MORE we should see in three verses following in this Genesis passage. Take note of corrupt and destroy. Used four times, they all come from the Hebrew root word shahath, meaning “spoiled to the point of uselessness.” God turned earth’s people over to the very corruption in which they had persisted. They had become spoiled for His use and opened the way for their own judgment.
11 The earth also was corrunt (ruined) before God, and the earth was filled with violence (“wrong; injurious language, harsh treatment, rude wickedness”).
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt for all flesh had corrupted his (“its”) way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them (turn them over to the ruin in which they have continued till they are worthless) with the earth.
The descendents of Adam, with the exception of one man’s family, had become ruined for God’s purposes. Briefly stated, that is Satan’s design and purpose for us all in this awesome hour so evidently close to the end of this age. He would, if he could, ruin us all for God’s Kingdom.
But, let me say this clearly: There is no work of Satan, but that the grace of God revealed in Christ Jesus is greater. That grace, teamed with God’s Word and His Spirit, is ready to work in us, with its beginning in our inner man, reaching into our spirits. We know this is so, for the first Word Jesus spoke about the Kingdom was, “…and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel (the Good News)—Mk 1:15. Repent meant “change your way of thinking.” Believe meant “open your heart and mind to receive what I am saying.”
And, there is this to say about the grace that came upon Noah. If we could only see it, the flood was not so much to destroy earth’s people as it was to save Noah from the corruption overtaking the earth. In his loins was the promised Seed of the woman Who would crush the head of the serpent’s seed and through Whom our Redemption would eventually come (Gen 3:5). Lest the Holy Seed be corrupted and our Redeemer made not pure, and thus no redeemer, God sent the flood to remove the corruption and save the Seed.
I believe it is significant that the name Noah meant “rest.” Could it be that Noah rested in his relationship with God—trusting Him, believing Him, obeying Him. Observing Noah, we can see his was a simple life of submission, so much so that he would do what God said when the world around him thought and moved in a contrary way.
There is something to see with regard to Noah, observed by the writer of Hebrews. By faith Noah, being warned of God (being divinely instructed) of things not seen as yet, moved with fear (reverent awe), prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith—Heb 11:7. He placed implicit trust in what God had told him. He doubted not. He did not argue with God. He did not alter the instructions that came to him. Leaving all the things he could not see or understand to God, he remained simply an obedient believer.
THE WORD IMAGINATION IN GEN 6:5 from the Hebrew yehtzer is similar in meaning to the New Testament Greek word phrónema about which we learned in The Framework of the Inner Man. Amazingly, the root of this Hebrew word is used in Gen 2:7 where we find the LORD God formed man.
This means He framed man as a potter would form a vessel, but the emphasis was on the inner part of the man, the framework of the inner man. This was the part of man that thought, devised, meditated, imagined. Basically, it was his frame of mind that made him like his Creator—not the physical being but the inner being. The serpent both feared and hated this intention of God for mankind. Thus, that evil one took it as his determination to corrupt the mind in all of Adam’s descendents. In doing this, he reached for the inner man which God had formed to be like Himself.
A song from Isaiah calling for confidence in God has this line in it. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind (“frame of mind,” also from yehtzer) is stayed on (finds its support and sustenance from) Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.
While we have all been corrupted by sin, it is God’s high intention to make us new in Christ Jesus. There is no other way. It is simply in Christ. Paul knew this. Thus he spoke of the simplicity that is in Christ. And he could say, If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (a new kind of creation) (II Cor 5:17). Fearing this, the enemy would do all imaginable to divert us from this very most basic and simple desire of the Lord for us.
And, oh! Much of his deception can still leave us quite religious—yet spoiled for the Kingdom.
NOW, LET ME SAY THIS: THE MAIN BATTLEFIELD for the enemy in the closing of this age will again be in our inner man, in particular, our minds. Paul held concern for this. See this from II Cor 11:3. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled (deceived) Eve through his subtlety (trickery), so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. Here the word minds is from the Greek nóema, describing the mental outlook of a person, with the feelings and disposition that go with the way a person thinks. It names the mind as it can conceive a thought or come to a conclusion regarding a matter. That it can become corrupted (from the Greek phthéiro meaning “spoiled” or “ruined”)— even the mind of a believer—means it can become degraded to the point that it has no ability to think in line with God’s intentions for His Kingdom.
As bold a move as it may seem, the enemy will try to take our minds from the simplicity of knowing Christ. This was Paul’s concern for the Corinthians. It is our concern for you today. This simplicity that is in Christ means the purity and singleness of heart that will keep us in sincere dedication to Him, and Him alone. There is no place in His Kingdom for a double minded person. This is because such a one is unstable in all his ways (Jas 1:8).
This spoiling of the mind in our early Parents and their descendents that brought them to the judgment of the Flood came through the crafty work of the serpent as he beguiled (“deceived”) Eve through his subtlety. Through knavish trickery he adulterated the Word God had spoken to Adam. It is apparent the Man cared not precisely for what his Creator had told him, therefore he and his woman were open to the deception. Paul held this concern for believers in the early days of the church. We’re lead to conclude this same satanic strategy will be at work as the age draws to its end. But, we have this beautiful hope: The peace of God, which passeth (“surpasses”) all understanding (which goes beyond all the mind can conceive), shall keep (stand like a sentry over) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus—Phil 4:7.
Just simply knowing we are in Christ brings us to the most guarded and safe place there is.
EARLIER I MADE REFERENCE TO THE GRACE OF GOD, teamed with His Word and His Spirit, that will make—better we should say remake—us into useful instruments for God’s Kingdom. Some years ago as we studied the passage in Genesis where the serpent beguiled Eve, we took note of four ways in which the Woman together with the serpent weakened the Word God had spoken in Eden. When I saw this I determined to renounce these abuses of the Word. Even today, I know I can have no success in this apart from the grace of God that has received me in Christ, or apart from the Holy Spirit that so readily comes to my aid, and were it not for the love and deep respect He has placed in me for God’s Word. In the inception of this, the Holy Spirit called me to renounce “the lie” of Satan. We’ll return to this in the next article.
But first, let us go to this very revealing Genesis passage so full of imagery and revelation. In it we have the introduction of the evil and deception that would finally bring Adam’s descendents to their ruin. It provides keen insight into his latter day plan.
1 Now the serpent (a bright shining creature like an astonishing angel) was more subtle (sly, cunning) than any beast (animal) of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Rev 12:9 leaves us with no doubt as to who the serpent was. He was the great dragon..., that old serpent (that serpent of old), called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world. That wicked one approached Eve to cast doubt on God’s intent and desire for Man and Woman by suggesting their Creator was withholding good from them.
2 And the Woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
Looking carefully at Eve’s reply and comparing what she said with what God had said in Gen 2:16, we find she weakened God’s Word. He said, …thou mayest freely eat—literally, “eating, you may eat.” This came from a Hebrew figure of speech in which a word is repeated to add emphasis or strength to a statement. Eve dropped this and made the divine statement weaker than it actually was, caring not for the exactness of God’s Word.
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die (lest perchance you might die).
She knew something of what God had said to Adam, but either with him, or with her, there was a carelessness about her knowledge. In addition to weakening and doubting the Word, she did two other things against which we must guard. She added to it and she altered its meaning. God did not say, neither shall ye touch it. Eve added that. God did not say, lest ye die. He said, Thou shalt surely die (dying, you shall die; death will start its process in you). What Eve said took away from the certainty of God’s statement and interpreted it to mean “there is the possibility that you might die—but maybe you can escape death.”
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
The serpent denied outrightly what God had said.
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
The serpent and the woman showed their disregard for God’s Word. In their conversation we see it was weakened, added unto, altered, and denied. When I saw this, over thirty years ago, deep conviction came upon me to renounce these attitudes toward God’s Word, not even knowing then in all the ways I had thus treated it.
I remembered what the Prophet Jeremiah had said: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer 17:9) Could my heart have been deceitful enough to have held so slight a regard for God’s Word? I had to leave that to the Holy Spirit, giving Him His full authority to deal with every conception of my heart and my mind that was contrary to God’s truth, holiness and His will for my life. Sometimes the fires of adversity and pain burned hot in my spirit. Conviction has sometimes been deep along with personal grief and regret, but it has all been of use in the purifying of my life and in drawing me in closer to the heart of the Lord with a high regard for the exactness of what He has said.
IN EPH 2:1-3, PAUL NAMES A MALIGNANT TEAM that will work to bring corruption in us upon whom the end of the age has come. This team, at work with Satan, has the same goal as that of the serpent in Eden. If left to complete its work, it will ruin us for the high purpose God has for us. It must be overcome in its entirety if we will move effectively with Christ in His Kingdom. Even though we began our acquaintance with this team in the previous article, let us take a quick review to prepare us to meet each “member” and discover the triumph that can be ours in Christ.
Please keep in mind from the last article that we were drawn to this Ephesians passage because it contains the New Testament Greek word dianoía, the mind as it pierces through a situation or condition to form a conclusion. Sometimes the word is translated understanding. Because it has become darkened, it has become part of the team of evil that will escalate its work in the closing of this age. The intention of Satan, at work with this team, is to corrupt us for God’s purposes, both in this age as it plays out, as well as in the age to come.
1-3 And you hath He quickened, who were 1dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past ye 2walked according to the course of this world 3according to the prince of the power of the air the spirit that now worketh in the 4children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in 5the lusts of our flesh 6fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind (the dianoía; and 7were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Again, see the team as we pull it from the passage:
1—trespasses and sins;
2—the course of this world;
3—the prince of the power of the air:
5—the lusts of the flesh;
6—the desires of the dianoía and
7—the wrath of nature.
Some of these work inwardly and some outwardly. The inward ones are trespasses and sins, disobedience, the lusts of the flesh and the desires of the dianoía. The outward ones are the course of this world and the prince of the power of the air.
The wrath of nature may well come upon us from without but works its way inward till it has imposed its ways upon our natural man that rules us from within. Oh, what we have to learn here!
It will not be our purpose in these articles to see the exact identification of the latter day team with the first satanic incursion in Eden. But, any careful student of the Scriptures can place the above seven upon the early Scriptures from Genesis 2 through 6.
Our purpose in these articles is to take each point from Ephesians and press it in upon the grace of God till we know our freedom is complete and we become acceptable for an inheritance in the Kingdom. As we do this, we will keep in mind the opening statement from the Ephesians passage—you hath He quickened. This points to the work that has already been accomplished for us by the Lord Jesus and is made available for us through the grace of God. We call this The Finished Work.
We will not hurry. Beyond doubt this will take us through several more articles. Our present concern is to become settled in the simplicity that is in Christ.
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