Saturday, June 25, 2016
Battle for the Soul – 25 June 2016, Anno Domini
Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 1:9)
Satan yet wages the battle for the body of Moses and the Church (being the Body of Christ). It is a struggle as old as the Church in the Wilderness: This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt. (Acts 7:37-39)
The Ark of Noah was an impenetrable ocean fortress which held the fullness of God’s new Creation in twelve souls. All others had rejected the preaching of Noah over a span of 100 years. They were deaf to truth and keen to wickedness. But those eight souls were in the place of security, because it was the place of God. And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. (Gen 7:1) We are not told of the righteousness of Noah’s family, and it does not matter, for the plan of God was an act of grace and not of meritorious living. And because salvation is an act of God’s grace – ALWAYS – it is not in the discretion of man to close the door on that salvation to others. That remains the sole prerogative of God. It is for this reason that God shut the door of the Ark – and not Noah, as depicted in movies with Noah pulling up the moat bridge of the Ark in movies. Only God can close the door to salvation on the soul of man.
In Trinity College at Cambridge, there is a bust of George Gordon, Lord Byron. Viewing the bust of the head from one side, one will see a handsome and kind face that is expressive of the best qualities of character and service; however, viewing the bust image from the opposite side, one will see a face of nearly same likeness, but with an uncanny essence of evil emerging to the viewer. That bust of Byron can represent each of us. Left to our own devices, we cannot help but be evil and deranged in temperament; but owing to the emending graces of God’s love, we can go forth with the same countenance exuding the love and righteousness of God our Master Sculptor. Without God, the world of humanity are vampires! Without the efficacious calling of God’s grace through the agency of the Holy Ghost, we shall all remain vampires. Salvation, from beginning to end, is an act of God’s grace and no result of any goodness in our minds or hearts.
Satan is like the desperate murderer, slanderer, and thief that he is. He is a convicted criminal and can never settle down. All of his dark joy must come from extending those crimes and running from place to place. He has been cast out from the presence of God and the Holy Angels – never to return. He is forlorn of hope, and has nothing more to lose in propagating evil from one side of the globe to another. But the justice of God is on his heels, and his days are number. And he KNOWS it. So he spoils all that he is able to do out of rage, envy, and uncontrolled hate. But Satan is no fool. He is a very intelligent being whose powers far exceed the mortal man. He cannot work miracles, but he can imitate miracles to a seduced sinner. He watches from the hidden doors of his cave to see what makes each of us vulnerable – he then acts on the knowledge to tempt us to sin and to destruction. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Just as God has His Elect to perform the acts of mercy, kindness, and teaching; so does Satan have his own minions who are enslaved to their master by their free self-wills and the lust for sin. They move among us, often even in the churches and the pulpits, seeking to carry out the will of their evil master. Long ago, it was discovered that a frontal assault on the church could not succeed, so Satan has conceived a process of infiltrating his own into the church under the guise as pastors, deacons, choristers, and corrupted Bibles.
Perhaps you doubt even the existence of the soul after death? Here follows a great witness from the field of geophysical science: “Dr. Wernher von Braun, well known for his part in the U.S. space program, says he has “essentially scientific” reasons for believing in life after death. He explained, “Science has found that nothing can disappear without a trace. Nature does not know extinction. All it knows is transformation. If God applies the fundamental principle to the most minute and insignificant parts of the universe, doesn’t it make sense to assume that He applies it to the masterpiece of His Creation – the human soul? I think it does.”
The soul of man is precious, indeed. It knows no term limits for it is immortal. It is the full measure of a man’s life on this terrestrial ball, but much further than that into the interminable eons of Eternity future. So to discount for cheap sin the value of a soul is preposterous and senseless. God created the soul as an eternal, living essence of every man. Even the angels who rebelled with Lucifer own eternal life albeit in the fires of hell.
If we had any inkling as to the full values of our souls, I believe we would nurture, safe-guard, and value them more highly. We would build up hedges about the gardens of our souls to keep out the pests of sin and temptation. We would weed diseased weed from the often, and be sure to water them daily with the Water of Life (God’s Word). But we would also open our gardens to the stranger who chances by to smell the sweet spices of righteous-living and good conduct. 15 A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. 16 Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits. (Song 4:15-16) Christ is the Owner and Gardener of our Souls and is entitled to expect the increase of fruits therefrom.
If we own such a precious possession as our soul – worth more than all of the world’s riches – should we no place that soul on secure deposit in such a bank where thieves, robbers and vandals cannot access it? Is there such a place? If there is such a place, it must have strong, high walls. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. (Psalm 18:2-3) It must have a watchman on the walls. Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. (Psalm 127:1)
Your soul has infinite value. Satan covets your soul to destroy. He will offer in payment for your soul, empty and dark promises. The world desires your soul. It will offer the faded opulence of cosmetic gems that sparkle only for a moment and are then discolored. Christ is the Maker of your soul, and it belongs to Him. But the ownership was lost at Eden. Listen in a still, quiet place to see if the Lord of Life is your soul back to the Ark of Christ. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:26)