Evil came into the world through breaking God’s law (the origin of evil). All people have broken this law of which the consequence is death. In grace and love God sent His only son Jesus to die in our place, so that we can live (the best news ever). Many struggle to accept this message, because of a wrong picture of God that is advertised by the devil (the struggle to decide). But how does life look like after you have accepted Jesus as your savior?
Arriving at the tomb where Jesus was laid, a few of His followers saw that the stone, that was used to block the entrance, was rolled away. An angel told them: “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen.” Matthew 28:5-6 KJV. More of His followers came and looked in the tomb, but Jesus was not there. Though the tomb was heavily guarded by Roman soldiers, the body had disappeared.
A walk to remember
The power of death was not strong enough to keep the Author of Life in the grave. He was raised to life and conquered death. His followers did not really believe it until they saw Jesus for themselves, and saw the wounds in His hands and feet. “Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” Luke 24:45 KJV. Jesus came to the world so that every single person would have the opportunity to be reconciled with God. Now Jesus has called His followers to help spread this message of hope to all the ends of the earth, throughout all ages. Remember that we talked in the blog post ‘the way to be saved’ about the wrong expectations of the people? The savior the believers at that time were expecting was supposed to be a strong leader who would free them from Roman oppression and establish His kingdom here on earth. The believers were obviously very happy to see Jesus alive again, but they had no clue how that was the actual fulfillment of what the Scriptures predicted. To the letter Jesus fulfilled more than 300 prophesies made about Him. The prophecies were written down by different writers, over the spread of thousands of years, coming from varied geographical areas. In order for the right message to spread to the world, the ones starting that movement would first need the correct understanding themselves. That is why Jesus took time with them to explain what they misunderstood.
Forty days after His resurrection Jesus ascended to heaven to start His work as our high priest in the temple in heaven. Not long after, His followers got their first platform to share the gospel. They preached the message and as many as three thousand people believed them and were immediately baptized. This is how the first church formed. A group that met together every day to study, pray, learn and empower one another to live holy lives. They met in the temple, in homes, they ate together, enjoyed fellowship and shared everything. This strong community was known in the society for how much they feared God -fear in the positive sense- and the way they displayed love by doing good works for one another. This is how Christianity started, pure, holy and loving. Sounds wonderful, right? It is this same life that Jesus calls us to today as well. Why then does Christianity not look like that today?
The enemy of the ages
When the devil and his angels witnessed the breath returning to the lungs of Jesus, they knew that they were done for. The appearing triumph of evil at the death of Jesus, turned into their ultimate loss. The whole universe had seen for themselves what needed to be done to restore the damage that had been caused by beings not following Gods way. The result of being your own god brought pride, selfishness, anger, sickness, suffering and death into the world. The whole universe would agree in Gods decision that sin should be eradicated, the fate of the devil and his angels was sealed. Now the devil’s anger towards God is without restraint.
The Bible tells us that the angels in heaven are rejoicing when a sinner decides to accept Jesus as their savior (Luke 15:10). What better way to hurt God, than to make these very people -the ones Jesus came to save- to reject Him. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” 1 Peter 5:8 KJV. In every way possible the devil is trying to have people reject God. He is especially after those who have chosen to be on Gods side, and he takes a great amount of pride in having one of Gods people reject God after all. With the same method the devil used trying to tempt Jesus, he is now tempting humanity. The Bible explains exactly how the devil is operating (1 John 2:16). Even though those who follow Jesus know about the devil, his intentions and methods, still most of the Christians today have fallen for the devil’s schemes.
The power of influence
When the first (´Christian´) church started, it consisted of those who had been close followers of Jesus and a group of three thousand very committed Jews turned Christians -though they did not use the term Christians yet. As Jesus Himself had just explained everything to His followers, they knew the good news inside out and shared that with the newcomers. They met together every day and lived out the life that Jesus called them to. They were a very tight and spiritual community of believers that shared the same goal: obeying Gods word. They understood the depth of the sacrifice of Jesus and knew that the law was actually freedom, not bondage like the devil claims.
When the Christian movement grew, the gospel spread and churches emerged in many places. Non-believers and people from other religions started to be reached with the message too and joined their churches. Just like often happens in today´s world, the success of the mission was measured by the visible growth instead of the spiritual growth, quantity over quality. It did not take long before the customs, rituals and mindset of the outside world and culture made their way into the churches and influenced the purity of the gospel and the holiness of the group.
It is not by accident that the churches lose sight of their divine purpose. We don´t have time to get into all the details in this blog post, but in the Old Testament we see that infiltration is a well-practiced method of the devil. The only difference is that God´s holy people were then the literal people of Israel, where now God´s people are Israel but in a spiritual way. When you belong to God´s people, your name is added to the devil´s most wanted list. The devil is working very much behind the scenes, influencing the world and steering it in the direction that he wants. The Bible teaches that just before Jesus comes again, the whole world, except for a small group, will have been deceived. There are many today who are calling themselves Christians, but have never had a change of heart. They go to church every week and are involved in church; therefore, they profess that they are Christians. It is these people that bring worldly ideas in to the churches, so that the church loses its holiness. The New Testament writers have written many warnings in their letters about exactly this problem. Even Jesus Himself warned that we need to be very careful, so that we will not be deceived. Don´t forget, the devil was the highest of angels, the most beautiful one. The Bible says that he can even disguise himself as an angel of light (making it look like what he is saying is true), can work miracles and healing (not all signs of power today are from God) and would almost deceive even the very elect. One cannot afford to underestimate the power and influence of this enemy.
Our one defense dismantled
When Jesus was tempted by the devil, Jesus proved that His word is the only way we can see through the cunning schemes of the devil. The Bible is not merely a book, it is God´s divine word to His people. It contains the truth about God, and is the standard to guide us into righteous living. The Bible is the number one sold book in the world and is available online and offline in almost any language. In the same way, to Adam and Eve, God´s word was also crystal clear. They knew very well that God had commanded them that they were not to eat of the tree. How do you deceive a people to reject God´s clear word and commandments? You decrease its value. This is what the devil did in the garden and this is what he does in the world. The defense Jesus used of “it is written…” has been replaced by people judging what they think is valid, which is unbiblical. The study of His word for seeking truth, has been replaced by finding Bible verses to back up the desires of the flesh. The truth of the word is being twisted to fit ones needs.
A love for the law
This strategy is so ridiculously brilliant and successful, that even now 95% of the churches -if not more- are teaching that the law of God is no longer valid for us today. Consider this… On one hand you have the devil who accused God of limiting us through His law. Satan was the first to break the law and led Adam and Eve (as well as the Israelites later) to transgress the law too. On the other hand, you have God, who made the law in love written by His own hand. His character is revealed in the law and Jesus keeps this law in the temple of heaven just as the Israelites kept it in the earthly temple. The bible says that Jesus magnified and made honorable the law. Jesus’ death demonstrates that the law cannot be done away with. Now you tell me, whose character appears more prone to tell you that today we do not need to keep the law? Comparing these two characters makes it obvious that it is the devil who wants you to believe that the law is done away with.
“It´s time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through, no right no wrong, no rules for me, I´m free” Lyrics to Let it go – Frozen soundtrack.
Today´s culture does not like the concept of rules. Just like the song of Frozen -which is just one of the thousands of examples I could give- it is preached that freedom is found outside of the rules. Granted, some/many of the rules that have been made in the world are not making sense, are limiting or made out of the wrong motive. It is through this lens that the law of God is also being interpreted. Churches that preach the law is done away with, are saying that the law keeps us in bondage (sounds familiar? Wasn´t that what the devil said too?). They think that true freedom is found outside the law and God.
“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.” Psalm 119:1-16 KJV.
These Bible verses are just a small portion of the chapter. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and it is one big love letter about the law. Now you try to tell the writer of this chapter that the law was actually not a good thing and that it was bondage. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31. This is the same writer who would write a bit later in that letter that the law is holy, just and good (Romans 7:12). The Bible writers loved the law. The only problem was that they were not able to keep it. Not that there was anything wrong with the law, but something was wrong with the ones who were supposed to walk in it. Because of their sinful nature, they could not walk in the law anymore. Their hearts would naturally turn to evil instead of holiness. A new deal was made at the cross with those who chose to follow Him. As there was nothing wrong with the law, the new deal repaired what was broken: the people (Hebrews 8:8). After baptism, followers of Jesus will become new beings, who with the power of the Holy Spirit, will learn to be able to follow His law again. And oh what a shame that the world, even the vast majority of the Christians, do not see the beauty of that. The Bible writers knew that following the law was not bondage, but was freedom! Finally, free from that sinful nature, being imprisoned by the devils lies, as a slave to sin. With the new heart and the Holy Spirit, you can finally live the life that you were designed to live. A life walking in His love, His truth, His way, His law. Not obeying the law to earn your salvation, to work your way up to heaven, no not at all! It’s purely out of love for God, it is out of the grace that we have received. Sin has nailed the creator on the cross. How in the world can I accept that gift and then continue to sin?! “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – Jesus, John 14:15 KJV.
The role of the soldier
The devil has not given up. Neither has God. The war continues, the war for you. The war about every single person sucking air. Our only way to recognize the lies of the devil and to withstand his attacks is to live by every word that proceeds out of God´s mouth (Deuteronomy 8:3). God has given us as soldiers in His army, a tremendous privilege and responsibility; He wants to use you and me to share the amazing offer that is available to every person. You can be involved in helping someone choose eternal life! The more we walk according to His way individually, the better we will reflect Him in every situation on any given day to a world that is watching. What a life ahead!
If you have not already, we want to encourage you to make a decision for Jesus, be baptized, ask God for the Holy Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to work on your heart.
Get a Bible. We absolutely recommend the King James Bible, even if it sometimes can be hard to understand. The New King James Bible is another good option. When you want to study, it is advisable to use multiple translations. As they are ‘translations’, it means sometimes the word used to translate it does not fully cover the original meaning. We even use the website biblehub.com, to look up words in their original language which can help you to understand the word/context better -even if you don’t know Hebrew or Greek. Biblegateway is also an amazing multi-translation site, very user friendly.
Start digging for truth. The Bible can tell you all about history, our modern day and even what is to be expected in the future. Measure everything you hear and see by the word. It is important to pray before opening the Bible. Ask God for the Holy Spirit to guide you into truth and give you understanding of what you read. A good place to start -we think- is in the gospels (first four books of the New Testament, ‘biographies’ of Jesus´ life). Then the rest of the New Testament is about the early Christians, the churches and their journey of walking the Christian life after Jesus left. The Old Testament contains a lot of stories about God´s faithfulness through the ages, prophesies about the future and Jesus, creation of course, and much more.
Talk to your Father, your creator. In the beginning it can feel a bit awkward, but even though it seems like you are talking to air, He hears the prayer of those who earnestly seek Him (1 John 5:14-15). You can come to Him with all your worries, requests, thanksgiving. There is not a special rule or format for how to pray. Many times, people close their eyes, purely so they do not get distracted. But many also pray short prayers throughout the day, during work, driving (keep your eyes open!), in the shower, etc. Just think, the more you pray the better. Listen here to a fantastic talk about the topic of prayer.
Reprioritize your life. Make sure you make enough time each day to pray and read the Bible. If you are sure about wanting to follow God, then act accordingly. Though it might be with a bit of pain in your heart, get rid of the things that tempt you to fall back into bad habits, thoughts and manners of your old life. Like a recovering alcoholic gets rid of all the alcohol products in their house after coming out of rehab, so we would advise you to get rid of everything related to sin. Why hang on to temptations, right?
Plant yourself in a church. We strongly encourage you to become part of a Seventh Day Adventist church (go here). Be prepared to meet a lot of opposition online, as many have freely expressed their opinion about this church and its beliefs. We want to encourage you to take heart, as this is the only church that we have found that actually keeps the commandments -all of them, including the Sabbath one-. They keep the law out of love, not to earn salvation. Please don´t find a church based on the music style, the people, the times or feel-good messages. The goal of church is not to entertain you. It is supposed to lead you to truth, holy living and bringing our praise to God. Being part of such a body of believers will enrich your life. You stand stronger together, as you are a blessing to others and in turn are blessed by others.
You are probably very excited right about now to start your Christian walk. We want to encourage you, don’t let anyone in or outside the church tame that flame. Do what the Bible says, reflect God in your character, your actions and your words. And always remember, only those who do not understand will ridicule, mock and persecute you. We know better. Now we know what true love is and how we walk in it.
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3