Dealing with the "evil one"

Tom had this to say about my last post:

"I always interpreted the passages about "keeping us from evil one", or "rescue us from the evil one" in the following way: Not as an active ongoing process, but just another way of talking about our redemption. Before I had accepted Christ, I belonged to the evil one. Now I do not; I have been rescued. I'm not convinced that these passages are referring to a day-by-day war with temptation."

I'm going to reply to this tonight, so I can continue on with how we tempt ourselves in my post tomorrow morning.

I'm going to repost the passages I used this morning and we're going to decide whether they deal with the "day-by-day war" or "eternal redemption". You might disagree with me, but I think this is a good exercise.

(Mat 13:19-23 NASB) "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. {20} "And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; {21} yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. {22} "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. {23} "And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty."

This one swings toward "eternal redemption". Just a little side note on the fact that the gospel is the word of the kingdom. If you haven't read my post on that, it is a foundation to understanding all of my thoughts.

(John 17:15 NASB) "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one."

This one could swing either way.

(Matt 6:9-13) "Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one."

This appears to be "day-by-day war". It's about a time of trial and not about eternal redemption. If it is about eternal redemption, it would have to be a prayer that we wouldn't fall away.

(Eph 6:16 NASB) "In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one."

This appears to "day-by-day war" because the missiles are plural.

Also, I thought more about "flaming missiles" on my ride to work today. I think this hits directly on why the "evil one" wants to cause people to stumble. A flaming missile doesn't just inflict pain on what it hits like a bullet does. A flaming missile starts a fire that spreads. If one person falls, it has the tendency to bring other people down with them. Have you ever encountered a church where the minister has had an affair? It destroys the church.

A lion only has to catch the slowest animal in a flock to make it weaker and smaller. Satan only has to cause the weakest Christian in a church to fall away and cause trouble.

(1 John 5:18-19 NASB) "We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him. {19} We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."

This appears to be more of a "day-by-day war" because of the fact that it is linked with sin. It definitely shows that the "evil one" has power; the world lies in his power. The kingdom of God is more like the outpost of God in our fallen world.

So that's that. I think we need to find a healthy balance between saying Satan is demonizing everyone and causing them to sin and the stance that all of our sin is self-inflicted. I think it is dangerous to give Satan too much powerful; however, it is also just as dangerous to deny him of any power. Satan is at work around us, but we can be assured of God's protection from the "evil one".

Watch out for the potholes.