Deceptive Road Signs
By Kevin Probst
Jesus said, "I am the way…" (John 14:6). He also said that in the latter days "many will come in my name, claiming 'I am he'" and will present alternative ways (Mark 13:6). Jesus warned about these alternative ways. He said they would be many in number and they would be presented as easier alternatives. He was very honest with his followers when he warned them that the way that leads to righteousness and holiness is "narrow and hard." (Matt. 7:14) So, many in these days are leaving "the straight way and wandering off". (2 Peter 2:15)
Satan throws up all sorts of road signs along the way. These are all lies to try to discourage traveling pilgrims. Sadly, many believe the lies, get discouraged and return to the easy way that leads to destruction. Imagine traveling on our nation's highways and encountering road signs that were bogus. It could be devastating to see a sign indicating the road would curve to the right when it actually curved to the left. It's much more devastating to us spiritually when we see deceptive road signs along our spiritual journey..
One very common deception of Satan is to try to convince Christians that they can never really have victory over sin. Our great travel theme along this way has become, "I must sin every day in thought, word and deed." If you look at the back bumper of the vehicle in front of you there is probably a sticker that says, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." or perhaps one that says, "Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet." Have we elevated these clichés to the point where we are excusing sin?
The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ gave his life on a brutal cross to become conqueror of sin. God is powerful enough to enable us to become conquerors over sin and evil. He enables us to live in such a way that "sin is no longer our master." (Romans 6:14) Where is the omnipotence of God if we must always be servant to sin?
If a prowler was to enter my house in the night and I heard him moving about I would reach for my gun and try to get the drop on him. With my little red laser light shining on his forehead I would lead him to a closet and close him in. I would then pull up a chair and guard the door to make sure he doesn't get out. Might I ask how much rest would I get? There would be no peace in my life. I don't want him hidden away in a closet. I want him removed from my property. In like manner, I don't want my sin to be covered or concealed or suppressed…I want it to be conquered by the precious blood of Christ.
The whole idea that we have no choice but to live in perpetual sin contradicts the whole idea repeated throughout scripture that the people of God are recipients of a Sabbath rest. (Hebrew 4:9) It's not that Christians live in some sort of spiritual perfection so that they cannot sin. They can sin and occasionally they do sin. But the difference between a Christian sinning and an unbeliever sinning is that the Christian hates his sin, feels tremendous remorse when he does sin and immediately seeks forgiveness. A Christian calls on God to strengthen him so that he will not commit that sin again. An unbeliever loves his sin. He enjoys his sin and searches for opportunities to rationalize his sin.
Unfortunately, many want to imprison sin while God wants to execute sin.
Another deceptive road sign Satan will throw up on the way of Christ is a sign that says that you must understand his plan of salvation before you can experience it. I once knew a young man who wanted very much to be saved from his sin. He would pray often and many would pray with him. He never seemed to be able to claim victory. "I just don't understand. I don't know how this is supposed to work," he would say. His demand for intellectual understanding was standing in the way. Salvation comes through faith by His grace. (Ephesians 2:8) We are to trust God with all our hearts and "lean not on our own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)
If you are having trouble understanding the divine plan of salvation, take comfort. The great doctrines of God do not lend themselves to the simple minds of men. If we could understand salvation we wouldn't need God. If we understood salvation we wouldn't be serving God, we would be worshipping an idol. Salvation wouldn't be supernatural if we understood it.
No one can understand how God could allow his only begotten Son, the only man to live in absolute sinless perfection, to be dragged to a cross and die for sinful humanity. There is no justice in that. We can't comprehend such love. The wonderful this is, God made it possible for us to experience full salvation without having to understand.
God wants us to accept the fact that we will never totally understand and reject Satan's suggestion that we must understand. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.