In Defense of the Faith

Dear Reader: the following is an question concerning the authenticity of the Bible that was received by The Berean Call. Dave Hunt, the author of the God Makers, The Mind Invaders, and The Woman Rides The Beast, gives an excellent answer. I pray you are blessed by the discussion. Carl

February 1, 2019 Dave Hunt – Berean Call– February Newsletter

What about Satan as Serpent?

Question: I think one of the great evidences against the authenticity of the Bible is its treatment of the serpent. In the Bible, the serpent is the embodiment of evil, whereas ancient myths and religions give exactly the opposite view. The Bible equates the serpent with the devil, but the most ancient religions, some of which are even practiced  to the present time, almost universally identify the serpent as the Savior, or at least as benevolent and to be worshiped. How can the Bible be true at the same time be so much out of touch with what is clearly the common intuition of humanity?

Response: This is a fascinating subject, and its implications go beyond our ability to understand fully. There is no doubt that the Bible repeatedly identifies Satan both as the serpent and the dragon, not only in Genesis 3 but elsewhere. For example, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation:12:9 – “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”)

In view of the usual human revulsion and fear of both dragons and serpents, one would think that Satan would do everything possible to deny such a connection, yet the opposite seems to be the case, for some strange reason. How intriguing it is that both are so closely associated with nearly all pagan religions. The dragon is found on thousands of temples throughout Asia, while the serpent permeates and even dominates the religion of India.

Serpent Worship Everywhere

In the temples of ancient Egypt and Rome the body of the god Serapis was encircled by the coils of a great serpent. In Hinduism one of the three chief gods, Shiva, has serpents entwined in his hair. Yoga is symbolized as a raft made of cobras, and its goal is to awaken the kundalini power coiled at the base of the human spine in the form of a serpent. Numerous other examples could be given, from the plumed serpent Quetzalcoatl, the Savior-god of the Mayas, to the annual snake dance of the Hopi Indians. One of the greatest authorities on the occult (himself a practitioner of occultism) has written:

“Serpent worship in some form permeated nearly all parts of the earth. The serpent mounds of the American Indian; the carved-stone snakes of Central and South America; the hooded cobras of India; Python, the great snake of the Greeks; the sacred serpents of the Druids; the Midgard snake of Scandinavia; the Nagas of Burma, Siam, and Cambodia . . . the mystic serpent of Orpheus; the snakes at the oracle of Delphi . . . the sacred serpents preserved in the Egyptian temples; the Uraeus coiled upon the foreheads of the Pharaohs and priests—all these bear wintess to the universal veneration in which the snake was held. . . .”

” The serpent is . . . the symbol and prototype of the Universal Savior, who redeems the world by giving creation the knowledge of itself. . . .  It has long been viewed as the emblem of immortality. It is the symbol of reincarnation.” (Manley P. Hall, The Secret Teachings or all Ages: An Encyclopedic outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Sybolical Philosophy (The Philosophical Research Society, Inc, Lost Angeles, CA 90027, 1969)

In Greek mythology a serpent was wrapped around the Orphic egg, the symbol of the cosmos. Likewise at Delphi, Greece (for centuries the location of the most sought-for and influential oracle of the ancient world, consulted by potentates from as far away as North Africa and Asia Minor), the three legs of the oracular tripod in the inner shrine of the temple were intertwined with serpents. As one further example, consider the Greek and Roman god of medicine, Aesculapius, whose symbol of modern medicine, the caduceus, was derived.

In the temples erected in his honor, Aesculapius was worshiped with snakes because of ancient myth that said he had received a healing herb at the mouth of a serpent. Here again we have the Genesis story perverted: The serpent is not the deceiver and destroyer but the Savior of mankind, replacing Jesus Christ. At graduation ceremonies of medical schools around the world, where prayers to the God of the Bible or to Jesus Christ would not be allowed, graduates, upon receiving their MD degrees, still repeat loudly in unison the Hippocratic oath. It begins, “I swear by Apollo, by Aesculapius, by Hygeia and Panacea, and by all the gods and goddesses. . . .”

Surely the Bible’s depiction of Satan as a serpent and dragon, the deceiver and destroyer of mankind, and then as the god of this world who originates pagan religions, fits the evidence. Furthermore, the very fact that the Bible stands alone against all ancient religions provides further evidence that all of them have a common source and that the inspiration behind the Bible is, exactly as it claims, independent of theirs. In fact, the two sources of inspiration are obviously diametrically opposed.

The Making Of A “Footstool”

The Lord says to my Lord

“Sit at My right hand,

Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet”

The Lord will stretch forth Thy strong scepter from Zion

saying,

“Rule in the midst of Thine enemies.”

Psalm 110: 1-2

Let us begin 2019 by remembering that our Heavenly Father is in control of the future. “As consistently explained in the New Testament, this opening verse describes the determination of God the Father (the Lord) regarding the ultimate victory and dominion of God the Son (my (David’s) Lord) …” (Moody Bible Commentary).

As we read about Christians being persecuted and killed in Laos, Nigeria, North Korea, China, India, Egypt and other Muslim countries, let us remember that the Messiah is coming to Jerusalem (Zion) again. Coming to judge the nations and establish His Kingdom on the earth.

Not as a suffering Messiah but as a Warrior King.

This is no New Age Christ-consciousness, cosmic panentheistic Christ, some spark of divinity in everything, Higher Self, Avatar, or just one of the faces of divinity that flow to the All encompassing One. This is the One who died on the Roman cross for the sins of the world returning as the powerful Holy Son of God, in the splendors of holiness, to judge the wicked who have rejected Him.

All of these people who take pleasure in destroying and persecuting His children will themselves be suddenly destroyed by the Warrior King, King Jesus. The terrible day of the Lord will come. His patience will be exhausted. The iniquities of the rebellious will be ripe and full measure.

Listen:

“The Lord is at Thy right hand;

He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.

He will judge among the nations,

He will fill them with corpses,

He will shatter the chief men over a broad country…

Psalm 110: 5-6

Isaiah 63:1-6 gives us a vivid description of what Psalm 110 tells us:

Who is this who comes from Edom,

With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,

This One who is majestic in His apparel,

Marching in the greatness of His strength?

“It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?

“I have trodden the wine trough alone, And from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger And trampled them in My wrath; And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, And I stained all My raiment.

“For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption has come.

“I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So My own arm brought salvation to Me, And My wrath upheld Me.

“I trod down the peoples in My anger And made them drunk in My wrath, And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” …

Though Revelation tells us the rebellious and idol worshippers will cast their idols away and try to hide from “terror of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty” (Isaiah 2:21), NONE will escape.

Psalm 110 is cited directly by the writers of the New Testament nine times with exclusive reference to Messiah. In Hebrews it quotes the following verse in a discussion on how “the atonement afforded by the priestly work of Messiah is not only perfectly efficacious but is also eternal”. (Moody Bible Commentary)

“THE LORD HAS SWORN

AND WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND

‘THOU ART A PRIEST FOREVER’ ”

Hebrew 7:21 (Psalm 110: 4)

God gave visions to Daniel in Babylon that revealed Gentile world dominance would end in the future and the Messiah would come to Israel. This gave the stunned captives HOPE as they reflected on how God had severely disciplined them (Israel) for forsaking Him.

In like manner, as we see the world and parts of Christendom fleeing from a loving God into the arms of the great Seducer, as we are confronted with our own shortcomings and failures, may we be STRENGTHENED knowing that our Savior Jesus is coming as a Warrior King. He will rescue His Bride, the Church, and Israel and bring justice. His numerous enemies will become His “footstool”; they will be put under His feet once for all. God the Father is even preparing it now and will bring it to pass in His own time.

“…then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. I Corinthians 15:24-25

This “PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET” is the “footstool” that God is preparing for His Son.

Are you already in subjection to Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you fear or reverence His name? The following reveals the difference in the lost and the saved on that terrible day of God’s wrath:

… For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” [2] “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. [3] You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the LORD of hosts. …. Malachi 4:1-3

If you are not born again according to John 3, please call upon the Lord now while He is still seated on His throne of grace. Repent of your sins and ask Him to save your soul from destruction.

… THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”— that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says,“ WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED …. Romans 10:8-11

Heavenly Father, the One who holds the future in His hand, thank you for your purposes and ways that you have revealed to the Church. Thank you for protecting your children and keeping them from the evil one as Jesus prayed in John 17:15. Be with our brothers and sisters who are suffering and dying in other countries for the sake of Jesus. Help them to remain faithful until the end. Give them the grace and love of Jesus to endure their sufferings. Do not let us forget these people but to pray daily for them and help physically where we can. Save those who torment them for they know not what they do. In Jesus’ precious name we ask these things. Amen

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20) God’s mercy and grace be upon you.

Carl

Meditation and Yoga

Recently, on a morning news show, the host interviewed a company whose sole purpose evidently is to promote meditation. Their website’s homepage simply states “Meditation made simple.” The interview revolved around the fact that the company will be applying for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for their meditation app. With this approval, a medical doctor could prescribe meditation according to their app. If I understood correctly, this would be a first-of-its-kind government approval. Though it was not revealed on the show, my research revealed that one of the company founders is a former Buddhist monk. Their website just states he is a former monk.

I find it very interesting that in the future, if the company is successful in their attempt to gain FDA approval for their app, your doctor may be able to prescribe meditation for its alleged benefits, based on this app.

With this in mind, I want to share a quote from The Kingdom of the Occult by Walter Martin.

“The New Age movement today must be recognized for what it is: the ancient world of the occult presented in new terminology. ”

(Note: the term “New Age” is also expressed by the terms “spiritual” or “spirituality” in today’s culture.)

” The New Age movement has mushroomed throughout the world, particularly in the United States. Cloaked in acceptable and seemingly harmless terms, such as the widespread exercises of yoga and meditation, is the hidden agenda of the occult. When one meditates or practices yoga, the mind is said to be emptied to allow the person to become one with the universe, but this is where the person opens the mind and heart to false spirits that await every opportunity to invade a soul that is normally guarded.”

“Noted German authority on the occult Dr. Kurt Koch states the following about the occultic side of yoga: “This technique of relaxation and these ’emptying exercises,’ so highly spoken of by the yogis lead to the inflowing of another spirit—other spirits. The students of yoga did not notice it.” Similarly, Dr. Koch, who has compiled volumes of case studies on people involved in the occult, wrote the following about meditation: “My counseling work in East and West has given me insight into the nature and practice of meditation…I am totally opposed to meditation in the Far Eastern pattern… We cannot empty ourselves by means of techniques and postures—-then other powers flood in.”

“It is difficult to find any New Ager who does not practice either meditation or yoga, but Dr. Koch’s warning is clear: if one empties the mind, it becomes an open vessel for other spirits.”

“It is important to note what Jesus said concerning spirits, particularly demonic spirits that invade human bodies: ‘When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Matthew 12:43-45).”

“From Jesus we learn, then, that demonic spirits can inhabit human beings. Rather than experiment with the occult and New Age practices, where the person unwittingly opens the soul to demons, it is much better to close the door and refuse participation.”

As you can see, the practice of yoga and Far Eastern meditation, can open a person up to demonic spirits. And Dr. Koch said the participants never noticed the demonic spirits entering them.

Think about that for a moment.

Jesus spent time in His earthly ministry casting demonic spirits out of people. The number of evil spirits in people varied. One boy had one demon. When Jesus confronted a demonic mad man, He asked him “What is your name?” . The demon said ” ‘Legion’; for many demons had entered him”, i.e. the man. (Luke 8: 26-33) A “legion” of Roman soldiers consisted of 5000 soldiers. Scripture does not say it was that number of demons but understanding that fact adds weight to “many”.

As far as alleged benefits, the Dalai Lama, a Tibetan Buddhist, said if we would start teaching meditation to every 8 year old, in one generation we would have a peaceful world. Researchers in New Zealand, The Netherlands and the UK found out that meditation does not change how adults behave toward others. To find the whole article, search for “Meditation DOESN’T make you a calmer person – The Berean Call”.

We encourage you to keep away from any occult practices and keep the door to your mind and soul closed to all except Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. And never participate in any practice that requires you to empty your mind. Biblical meditation does not require an emptying of the mind.

Thank you for your time and may God richly bless you in wisdom and understanding.

Carl

Root of All Evil

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This tip jar is at a south Louisiana convenience store.  The clerk modified the scriptural message to fit her need. Some people were taking advantage of her offer.

This image reminds me of the apostle Paul’s instructions to Timothy in I Timothy 6:9-10:

“…but they that after giving the matter mature consideration desire to be wealthy, fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful cravings which are of such a nature as to drown men in destruction and perdition; for a root of all the evils is the fondness for money, which certain ones, bending their every effort to grasp, have been led astray from the Faith and have pierced themselves through with many consuming griefs.  (Wuest Expanded Translation – added emphasis)

May money have the proper place in our lives and not be an idol.

“Let your manner of life be without love of money, being satisfied with your present circumstances. For He himself has said, and the statement is on record, I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you.  I will not, I will not, I will not let you down.”  (Hebrew 13:5 Wuest Expanded Translation)

Bless be God The Father who has redeemed us out of the slave market of sin by the precious blood of Jesus His Holy Son and transferred us into His eternal kingdom in-Christ!

Keep yourself from idols.

Carl

“…not having hope and without God in the world.”

no hope

A few weeks ago I visited a local church to hear a friend share about suffering as a Christian. During the Q&A that followed, a middle aged woman asked how she was to cope with the sucides occurring in her family circle and among her acquaintances. There had been four in a short time, maybe less than a year.  The latest was a forty year old man who committted sucide only two weeks ago.  She had only recently come to Christ.

This discussion reminded me of Paul’s comments to the Ephesus Christians about their condition before they became Christians. He said

“…you were at that time separate from Christ…not having hope and without God in the world.” (Eph. 2:12 NASB)

This is one of the saddest statements in the whole human vocabulary when we  understand the implications.

“…without God in the world.”  (Eph. 2:12)

The world is satan’s kingdom. The night Jesus was betrayed by Judas, who satan had entered (John 13: 27), He told the disciples “The ruler of the world comes and he has nothing in me.” (John 14:30).  To be in satan’s kingdom without God on our side is a very dangerous place to be. We are satan’s slaves, on the way to destruction until we are born again.

“…not having hope…”. (Eph. 2:12)

 People who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior have no hope.  What a deep, dark abyss to find yourself in.  Add to that the demonic torment in the mind telling you that “you are hopeless, no one cares about you, you’ll never amount to anything, you can’t do anything right, look what you did!, God could never love someone like you”, and finally, “you may as well kill yourself and “escape” from this rejection and loneliness”. Then they find themselves in a Christ-less eternity.  Is it any wonder people are depressed and hopeless, taking their own lives?

“…you were at that time separate from Christ,…” (Eph. 2:12 NASB)

This also describes us before we came to Christ.  We were without a Messiah in an evil tyrant’s kingdom. We did not know the Deliverer.  No One to redeem us from the slave market of sin. Flying solo, deceived by the powers of darkness. Headed to eternal torment.  Thank you Father for saving us out of this horrible, hopeless situation!

Why don’t you and I be a witness today to someone who is  without a Messiah, without hope and without God in the world. Let the “rivers of living water” flow out of us today on to someone’s parched, hopeless life.  We can share the Messiah with them. He is the God of hope (Romans 15: 13).   Tell them God considers them so precious that He sent His only Son to die for their sins! Tell them He has a purpose for them existing and that He will conform them to the image of His Beloved Son. That He is preparing a place for them in Heaven and will come and get them one day. Hold forth “confident expectation of good” (biblical hope) to them if they will repent and believe in God’s Only Son.

Pray for the lost. Give someone a gospel tract or Gospel of John.  Take your authority as a child of the King and be His ambassador in the earth today and every day.

Be “…children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life…” (Phil. 2: 15-16 KJV)

Thank you for your time.

“…fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” (I Peter 1:13 NASB)

To Him who saved us by His grace and is able to keep us from stumbling, be all the glory before all time and now and forever!  Amen.

Carl

Part Six : “…to the saints…”

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Religion which is pure and undefiled in the sight of God, even the Father, is this: to look after orphans and widows…and to be keeping one’s self unspotted from the world.”  (James 1:27) (Emphasis mine)

As the earth rises over the surface of the moon in this NASA photograph, I hope the truth about the world is rising in your consciousness as you read this conclusion to the blogs concerning the Lord Jesus rescuing repentant sinners from this present evil age. (Galatians 1:4)  To access the other five parts on this subject, scroll to the end of this post.

There is one word in the New Testament (NT) that describes born again believers and their relationship to the world.  When the Apostle Paul writes the Ephesians, he addresses his letter  “…to the saints,…”.   The word translated “saints” in the English language is “hagios” in the Greek language and to the Greek it meant “devoted to the gods”.  The Greeks used it when they dedicated a temple or a person to the worship and service of one of their pagan gods.

Our New Testament authorities tell us the English  words “saint, sanctify, sanctification, hallow, holy, holiness” are all translations of Greek words from the root word hagi. The verb hagios means “to set apart for God”,  and refers to the act of the Holy Spirit setting apart for God the sinner who places his faith in Jesus Christ “rescuing us from the domain of darkness and transferring us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” .
(Colossians 1: 13).

The writers of the NT used this word hagios to designate those people who have been separated from the world, Satan’s kingdom, for the purpose of worshiping and serving the true God through His Son, Jesus Christ. 

The Holy Spirit, through the NT writers, took this word to a higher level by adding a moral component not found in pagan usage. The pagan religions were not concerned with the morals of its followers. The major pagan temple in Corinth had 3000 “sacred” harlots.  The eastern religions were very immoral and this is why many Greeks and Romans were drawn to the Jewish religion with it’s high moral standards.  In the book of Acts you see Paul preaching in the synagogue to Jews and Gentiles.

Concerning our behavior or morals, the God that we have been “set apart to” says this to us, His adopted children:

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who has called you, be holy yourselves also in your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY , FOR I AM HOLY.””
(I Peter 1: 14-16)

And in 2 Corinthians 6: 16- 7:1 God says:

“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THERE GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. THEREFORE, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; and I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. 

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Notice it is “let us cleanse ourselves“.  So after salvation, in 2 Peter 1: 4  we are told:

“….applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence,….”

Notice that the scripture says we should be diligent to add moral excellence to our faith. Moral excellence or virtue is “morally good behavior or character, or the conformity to a standard of right”.  Our Heavenly Father sets the standard of right behavior which is holiness or separation from what He says is evil. Not what we may think is evil but what He says is evil or defilement.  His standard is shown in the life of Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives the believer the desire and power to change his behavior which will result in him forsaking evil.  In other words, if we are a liar, we stop lying. If we are immoral, we stop being immoral. If we are greedy, we become a giver.  If we are one who hates, we become a forgiver and a lover of people.

Throughout the New Testament we are exhorted to forsake our futile way of life inherited from our forefathers and “become conformed to the image of His Son…” (Romans 8: 29).

In conclusion, the evil age that we live in is manifested in the evil characteristics of the kosmos (world), which is Satan’s ordered kingdom and the possible source of seduction of every born again believer. We have been separated from this evil by God at salvation and are separated to the worship and service of Him, being conformed to the image of His Dear Son over our lifetime and eternity and overcoming the world so that we do not consider it precious anymore.

Only by yielding daily to the Holy Spirit can you have the victory over Satan, your indwelling sinful nature and the world.  God is on our side and will give us the victory if we will just exercise our will to chose obedience to Him instead of sin and trust in the Holy Spirit to empower us to overcome.

ANYTHING in your worldly interaction that neutralizes or quenches your worship and service to God The Father, is not from the Father but is from the either the world, Satan or your own indwelling sinful nature as a source and should be repented of and forsaken.  The world is full of “unclean” things and we should not even “touch” them.

God bless you. I hope you have been blessed by this rather long study.  Thank you for your time.

” …He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him, who died and rose again on their behalf.”  (Emphasis mine – II Corinthians 5:15)

Carl

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part 5)

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“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.  And the world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” (I John 2: 15-17 NASB)

(To access the first four parts of this study scroll down at end of this blog.)

Welcome back. Man has created some lovely cities in the world. The aerial view above of Jakarta is beautiful. Many things in the world are pleasing to the senses of man but are  traps of the devil. Today we are continuing our study on Jesus rescuing us from this evil present age.  In this post we are looking at I John 2: 15-17 where God warns us about the world (kosmos).

In our last post we discussed the Apostle John’s command that said “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world.” (verse 15a)

John next writes “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”.  This is a description of an unsaved person because the Greek experts tell us it is saying more than he just doesn’t love God but that the love of God does not dwell in him as the ruling principle of his life.  He is saying that in this person the love of God does not exist.  This love (agape) is the love for the Father that the Holy Spirit generates in the heart of the yielded believer.  Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:5:

“…because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” 

This “love of God” is one of the characteristics of a born again believer and is expressed by obedience to Him.

Philo (20 B.C. – 50 A.D.) said “It is impossible for love of the world to coexist with love to God, as it is impossible for light and darkness to coexist.” This person is habitually and continually loving the world and the things in it. This is an unsaved person.

In II Peter 1: 4 the Apostle Peter tells us this corruption from the world comes by lust which here means evil cravings. Today we think of lust as immorality but it just means cravings in the NT and can be good or evil depending on the context.   In James 1:14 He tells us “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own craving.”

John continues in I John 2: 16 writing “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world.”

The “lust of the flesh” is the passionate desires or cravings of the indwelling sinful nature (the flesh) which govern an individual’s reason, will, and emotions.  A Christian’s evil nature died on the Cross with Jesus but still exist within him.  It was not eradicated as some teach. Writing to believers, the Apostle John said : “If we say that we have not sinned and are now in a state where we do not sin, a liar we are making Him, and His word is not in us.” (I John 1:9).  Therefore, if not reckoned dead by the believer, his old indwelling sinful nature will continue to dominate his life.

One of the manifestations of the evil nature is the “lust of the eyes”. The evil, passionate  cravings of the sinful nature that satisfy itself through a person’s eyes.  Peter, speaking of false teachers, says they have “eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin…”. In our day we have seen the rise of pornography and the increase in immoral TV shows and commercials that corrupts the person thru the lust of the eyes”.  This is also a portal for the sin of covetousness.  We see something someone has and we lust after it.

Another manifestation of the evil nature is the “boastful pride of life” which could be translated “vainglory of life”. This is an insolent and vain assurance in one’s own resources, or in the stability of earthly things, which issues in a contempt for divine law. Thayer defines it as “an insolent and empty assurance which trusts in its own power and resources and shamefully desires and violates divine laws and human rights”. Insolent means “showing a rude and arrogant lack of respect”.  If you find your prayer life waning or non-existent, check yourself for this misplaced assurance. If we really in our hearts are operating in the “boastful pride of life”, we order our lives in a way that we see no need to request God’s help thru prayer. If this is you, stop right now and repent and ask God to forgive you.

The word “life” (bios) refers to that which sustains life, such as, food, clothing, and shelter.

To pull this together for us, the Wuest Expanded Translation of I John 2: 15-17 says:

“Stop considering the world precious with the result that you love it, and the things in the world. If anyone as a habit of life is considering the world precious and is therefore loving it, there does not exist the love possessed by the Father in him. Because everything which is in the world, the passionate desire of the flesh and the passionate desire of the eyes, and the insolent and empty assurance which trusts in the things that serve the creature life, is not from the Father as a source but is from the world as a source. And the world is being caused to pass away, and its passionate desire. But the one who keeps on habitually doing the will of God abides forever.”

This completes part 4 of this blog. Part 6 will summarize this subject. I hope you will join me for it.

The “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” are from the world and not from God. Let each of us ask the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts and show us where we are ordering our conduct in these characteristics of the world so we can stop doing the will of the world ruler, Satan, and do the will of God.  He will do it and bless our obedience to Him!

“…if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been captive by him to do his will.”  (II Timothy 2:25 -26)

Thank you,

Carl