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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Why Does God Permit Devil to Block the Gospel?


Audio Transcript

As we speak we discover our means again to a well-recognized theme on the podcast, widespread in emails that you simply ship to us. It’s a subject that’s generated most likely extra inquiries to us than some other matter that I can consider — questions on Devil. You’ve got despatched in over three thousand emails now asking about him. Is he actual? How and why did he first sin? Why is he not snuffed out however as an alternative allowed to roam round? There are questions on his chief methods for killing our pleasure and making us need to quit on life. And may a Christian get handed over to Devil? Can the satan devour us? And there are questions on why Devil has a lot authority on this world. Questions like these have been addressed prior to now in a number of completely different episodes that I’ve tried to attract collectively in a single place as a way to see the bottom we’ve coated. I did that within the new APJ guide on pages 331–353.

As we speak, a listener named Taylor writes in with a particular query for you, Pastor John. He asks this: “Howdy, Pastor John! Thanks on your ministry! I do know that Devil and demons have large bodily energy and affect over the world, the fabric world. My query is about his energy over the religious world. Why did God give Devil such immense energy to blind individuals to the glory of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4) and to grab from hearts the very saving gospel in order that persons are left with none hope of salvation (Luke 8:12)? Why was he given such immense religious energy to abort the gospel within the lives of sinners?”

When the Bible opens, it doesn’t even pause for a second to offer an account for why Devil is there. In a while, there are hints that he’s a fallen angel and that there was rise up in heaven. However that’s not a full rationalization for the place he comes from, as a result of it’s very troublesome to elucidate why a private, rational being — an angel — who’s created good, would ever discover a motive to insurgent in an ideal universe. That’s not simple to elucidate. I don’t suppose now we have a ample rationalization for that. That’s a type of issues that’s cloaked in thriller for now, I believe.

Why the Lengthy Leash?

Nonetheless, though we could not be capable of totally clarify why Devil got here into being, we all know he does exist, and he was there from the start of mankind, as a result of he tempts Adam and Eve within the third chapter of Genesis. We additionally know that Jesus commanded “the unclean spirits, they usually obey him” (Mark 1:27). That’s an incredible assertion. He stated to Devil within the wilderness, “Be gone!” and he was gone (Matthew 4:10). And we all know on the finish of historical past, God will throw Devil into the lake of fireplace in order that he can’t affect God’s individuals anymore or hurt us anymore (Revelation 20:10).

So, from all this, we all know God might have certain Devil utterly the second he fell or at any level in historical past in between. We all know he doesn’t, as a result of in the long run the entire New Testomony is telling the story of Devil’s exercise on this world and the way he deceives, how he tempts, how we have to do warfare in opposition to the principalities and powers.

“Seeing and savoring the superior great thing about Christ is the best way we defeat the evil one.”

And Taylor, who’s asking us this query, factors out that he’s blinding individuals. He’s blinding individuals. And he desires to know what’s God’s motive — for God does all issues in knowledge and for causes; he doesn’t act whimsically — for not destroying Devil till the tip and giving him such a protracted leash, particularly, Taylor says, with regard to his free hand in blinding individuals, it appears, to the glory of Christ, and stealing the phrase, snatching it like a chook taking seed off a path.

So, he’s referring to 2 Corinthians 4:4: “Of their case [the case of unbelievers] the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to maintain them from seeing the sunshine of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who’s the picture of God.” And he’s referring to Luke 8:12, the parable of the 4 soils, the place that first soil is the seed alongside the trail, representing these to whom Devil comes alongside and snatches the phrase proper out of their hearts in order that they don’t consider and are saved.

Taylor desires to know, Why does God enable that blinding, that word-stealing energy?

Double Blindness

I believe the important thing lies in the truth that if God had eradicated Devil in order that the one enemy to be defeated is our personal human depravity, a part of the glory of the triumph of salvation could be lacking. I’m going to take care of just one facet of that glory. We might make three or 4 episodes on this, one with every facet of glory. I’m solely going to take care of one. I’m not going to speak in regards to the glory of the cross on this (Colossians 2:15), or the glory of our ongoing warfare with the principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:11–12). I’m solely going to focus for the following couple of minutes on the glory of God’s victory within the second of conversion itself. What occurs at that second of unblinding?

If there have been no Devil to deceive us, we might nonetheless be blind to the glory of God in Christ. We’d not see Christ as extra lovely, extra fascinating than the rest. We wouldn’t. Why? As a result of we’re deeply wicked individuals. Paul describes us like this in Ephesians 4:17–18: “The Gentiles,” which is us earlier than Christ, stay “within the futility of their minds. They’re darkened of their understanding, alienated from the lifetime of God due to the ignorance that’s in them, because of their hardness of coronary heart.”

So, not a phrase about Devil — not a phrase. He’s not our most important drawback; we’re our most important drawback. At root, the blindness is our hardness of coronary heart in opposition to God, producing ignorance, producing alienation, producing darkness of understanding. We don’t want Devil to be blind. We’re blind by our personal wicked nature.

Then the query is that this: Why communicate of Devil as blinding unbelievers the best way 2 Corinthians 4:4 does? As a result of God is exhibiting us the double jail we’re in. We’re doubly darkish: the darkness of our personal shackles round our wrists and ankles, and the darkness of Devil’s locked doorways — like Peter in jail, who needed to have the fingers freed, then he needed to have the gates freed and the doorways freed. There are layers of bondage: the darkness of our personal delusions about God — that’s one degree of bondage and blindness — after which the added darkness of Devil’s lies and deceptions throughout us.

Double Glory

Subsequently, when Christ converts us by the facility of the Spirit, he will get double glory due to this double blindness. He conquers Devil’s deceptions, and he conquers human depravity. And right here’s the important thing that I consider is so essential for why he saves us like this quite than obliterating Devil earlier. If he obliterated Devil earlier, his energy could be glorified. But when Devil stays, and we’re capable of defeat his deceptions by seeing the superior beauties of Christ, then not solely is the superior energy of Christ glorified, but in addition the superior magnificence of Christ is glorified.

“Let’s take up arms and be glad within the Son of God. Gladness in Christ over sin, over Devil, is the victory.”

We are able to see this extra clearly — if that doesn’t make full sense, let me attempt to say it once more — if we understand that the character of the blindness of our depravity is that we discover different issues in addition to Christ extra fascinating than Christ, extra enticing than Christ, extra to be most well-liked than Christ himself. That’s the essence of our blindness. We’re so corrupt, we can not see that Christ is a superior magnificence, a superior value, a superior greatness, and subsequently a superior satisfaction over every little thing else. In our depravity, we’re blind to all of that.

However that’s precisely the identical means that Devil blinds us along with his deceptions. He’s a liar, and the essence of his lie is that the pleasures of sin that he affords are extra to be desired than Christ. Subsequently, to be saved, to be transformed, to expertise the victory, the wonderful victory of Christ and the Spirit in our lives, is to have each these blindnesses eliminated. And that’s described in 2 Corinthians 4:6.

And the best way they’re eliminated is that we’re granted to see, in a single nice miracle, each the delusions of depravity and the deceptions of Devil, as a result of they’re the identical. We’re granted to see Christ, the glory of Christ, as superior to every little thing that our rebellious hearts ever dreamed of and superior to every little thing Devil ever provided. That double glorification of Christ triumphing over each of these blindnesses wouldn’t have occurred if Devil had been snuffed out initially.

So, one large implication — I shut with this — of this for us proper now, at the moment, is that seeing and savoring, wanting, preferring the superior great thing about Christ is the best way we defeat the evil one. So, I’ve stated greater than as soon as, let’s take up arms and be glad. Let’s take up arms and be glad within the Son of God. Gladness in Christ over sin, over Devil, is the victory.

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