Monday, January 27, 2020

12. The Gospel According to Satan

The Gospel According to Satan: Eight Lies About God That Sound Like the Truth. Jared C. Wilson. 2020. Thomas Nelson. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy] [Christian living; Christian nonfiction]

First sentence: BEFORE THERE WAS DEATH, THERE WAS THE LIE. It begins as a question, a splinter of inquiry slipping smoothly under the skin of the mind. But it’s not a question, really. It is a proposition wearing a mask. The question is a strange, new idea, a smuggled roster of “alternative facts” holding out the prospect of curiosities sated, mysteries solved, even of enlightenments achieved.

Wilson continues, "Before there was death, there was the lie. But before the lie, there was the Liar."

In Jared Wilson's newest book, he addresses EIGHT lies that are being propagated as truth by our society, yes, but also even in the church. (Certainly not every single church, some denominations are more welcoming of these worldly influenced truth-lies. But the influence of these "truths" on Christian thought is present--in our churches, on the radio and television, on bookstore shelves.)
I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 1 John 2:21 (ESV)
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but have itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth...2 Timothy 4:2-4 (ESV)
The eight lies Wilson addresses are as follows: 1) God Just Wants You To Be Happy 2) You Only Live Once 3) You Need To Live Your Truth 4) Your Feelings Are Reality 5) Your Life Is What You Make It 6) You Need to Let Go and Let God 7) The Cross is Not About Wrath 8) God Helps Those Who Help Themselves.

Depending on the lie, Wilson analyzes the lie for glimpses of truth. For example, in the first lie, the problem is with the word JUST. God does want you to be happy--but HOLINESS and being shaped into the image of Christ is more important. True happiness comes from knowing and enjoying God and walking in His path. And in regards to the seventh lie, the cross is definitely more than just about the wrath of God, but it's not about less. The wrath of God cannot be subtracted from the meaning of the cross.

Each chapter could certainly be read (or reread) on its own, but the chapters do build on one another.

I loved, loved, loved this one. I think it is a timely read. I have encountered these lies masquerading as truth. I bet you have as well. These are COMMON beliefs that you encounter in life. Sometimes you get a vague sense of something being a bit off. And other times it's like a RED or YELLOW alert when you encounter a lie. Wilson's book is clear and concise.

Favorite quotes:

"What is joy? Joy is the music that plays when our hearts are tuned to the frequency of God’s glory and our connection to it. Joy is the heart’s settled and worshipful contentment in our justification with God. Joy is the conviction that, no matter the sadness of our circumstances or the weakness of our bodies, we are secure in the sovereign God who loves us. Do you see how joy runs deeper than mere happiness? Happiness is dependent upon our circumstances. Joy is dependent upon our Savior. This is why, though sad times are promised to believers (John 16:33), we are also promised the gift of joy (John 15:11; Gal. 5:22)."

"What Satan would love for you to do is spend this life as if that’s all there is. First, he won’t want you to think about death at all, not even if it brings you a sense of dread. The devil likes to traffic in fear, but it’s not his immediate go-to, because he knows that fearful people often cry out for help, which means fearful people are very close to having their ears open to divine rescue. Instead, he wants you to think of death as some far-off thing, not a big deal, certainly nothing that could happen tomorrow or in the next five minutes. He wants you drunk on a sense of immortality. This comes somewhat naturally to teenagers, boys especially, but it persists in a kind of perpetual teenagerdom in Western culture where youth is idolized and immortality is sold in little packets by pyramid-scheming soccer moms and discounted by “lifestyle gyms” every New Year’s. “You only live once, and it might as well be forever.” That’s the first lie the devil tries. If that doesn’t work—if you insist on acknowledging your own mortality and finitude—he will say, “Okay, okay, yes, you’re going to die. And yes, it may in fact be tomorrow. So get as much pleasure as you can! Gather up those rosebuds, even the ones in somebody else’s yard, even the ones you’re explicitly told not to pick. You’ve only got one life, and it’s way too short to play by the rules.” If you won’t deny you’ll live forever, he will want you focused as much on the here and now as possible, as if death is a great nothingness that threatens to ruin the party. What the devil absolutely doesn’t want is for you to consider what comes after death. “You only live once,” he insists, not simply as a seize-the-day motivational proverb but as a theological dogmatism. He wants you to stop before you get to the last line of Ecclesiastes 11:9 when “for all of these things God will bring you to judgment.” You may think I’m overselling this. But “you only live once” isn’t only the motto of adolescent knuckleheads and adult thrill seekers. It’s the motto of every man whose investment in the future is limited to his retirement plan and the material benefits he leaves his family. It’s the motto of every mom whose chief concern for her children is that they end up healthy, in a good school or with a respectable spouse. It’s the motto of every person who goes through life never thinking of what comes after their last breath."

"The truth is, there is no “your truth” and “my truth.” There is only the truth. What we are saying when we say “I only need to live my truth” is that we don’t care about the facts as God sees them; we only care about the facts as we see them. There is a biblical book that’s basically all about this concept—“Everyone doing what was right in their own eyes.” It’s called Judges, and it’s full of bloodshed and perversion. Moral and relational chaos is the natural result of everybody living “their truth.”"

"Satan wants you to believe that you are all alone, that when you are stripped down to your essence and left with only pain, that’s all you have. He does not want you to see the reality that Jesus will never leave you or abandon you (Heb. 13:5), that he will be with us all the way to the end (Matt. 28:20)."

"When you get to the end of your rope, there is Jesus. This is grounds for immense confidence, even as life threatens to undo us. Even as the condemnation from our Accuser roars in our ears, the surety of Christ’s possession of us and our possession of him is something not even the supernatural power of Satan can assail. Therefore, hope defies what is seen. Everything may look bleak, our reality may be that we feel that all is lost, but if we have Christ, we defy what is visible. And we cling to hope, which demands what is invisible."

"The devil loves a bloodless cross. He doesn’t mind a shiny trinket around your neck so long as it’s not a shining treasure in your heart. Satan is afraid of the blood. He knows it washes sinners clean (Heb. 9:14; 1 John 1:7; Rev. 7:14), that it speaks the word of justice accomplished (Heb. 12:24). He knows that the bloody cross spells his doom, that on the hill Golgotha Christ “disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him” (Col. 2:15). And he knows the blood of Christ pays the wrath owed sinners (Rom. 3:23; 1 John 4:10), thereby forever making his accusations against God’s people null and void. The blood of Jesus spells the devil’s doom. Which is why he would love for you to keep your gospel nice and respectable. Tidy. Academic."

"The armor of God is our only defense against the flaming offense of Satan. But notice something unique about each piece of armor. Notice how each piece represents not a work of ours, but a work of God’s: • The armor is the “armor of God” (v. 13). • The belt is God’s truth (v. 14a). • The righteousness that can protect us is God’s (v. 14b). • The sandals are the efficacy of the good news of Jesus (v. 15). • The shield is the faith God has gifted to us (v. 16). • The helmet is our salvation (v. 17a). • The sword is God’s Word (v. 17b). None of these things originate in us or are anything we can do. From head to toe, we are shod in the powerful work of God. This is why Paul begins this treatise on spiritual warfare with the admonition to “be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength.”"

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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