Scripture: “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8
Observation: Sounds straight forward…except how do I fit these statements with other things that I have learned through the Scriptures? Are the things written by John somewhat different from the stuff written by Paul or Peter or anybody else?
Analysis: Why in the world did I pick this particular reference? Honestly, I struggled with the choice. I sort of struggle with John’s Epistles generally when I try not to pick out the “eye-candy.”
The Holy Spirit is kind to folks to provide snippets of Scripture to provide easily memorized statements of promise. But the Letters were written many thoughts in mind, all of them for a reason that is important for Growth in Christ.
Take for instance the doctrine of the devil. These three statements are really about the devil and what that creature is like. But how do the things we don’t about get filled in with Biblical facts concerning the devil?
I think I know: with imagination, stories, media portrayal, philosophy, and other stuff. Hardly any Biblical facts. Even the stuff that comes readily to mind (like being a liar and snaky functions all the way to demonic possession, etc.). Straight out of the Bible and yet, in some way maybe incomplete in a total sort of way.
I am staying away from the term “interpretation” and instead use “analysis.” I find that when I try to interpret, I am using my own experience, thoughts, frame of reference to define something. Instead I am using “analysis” to see all the facts what the Bible (and other books of given Grace) says about an issue.
Example: Current world view can distill the statement, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil…” into an unbiblical doctrine called “Dualism”, a theory that there is an eternal conflict between God (or Jesus) and the Devil—winner take all. There are countless variations on this theme.
If I subscribe to any of the above variations, I immediately redefine the Eternal Gospel into something less than the truth.
“Needles, you are sifting needles out of a pile of straw.” Yeah, I guess I am but I think the principle is the worth the effort. I must use the entire Bible to analyze doctrinal concepts and fully resist taking any single statement of Scripture out of context.
By the way: Devil sinning from the beginning: “I want to be equal or close to the same value as God.” Is 14.; Man follows the credo of the Devil from Eden: “Sure I will take a bite, it would be cool to be like God.” Lucifer rebelled, lied and enticed Man to rebel. Jesus came to set Man free from the chains that the Devil shackled with, due to his leading lies (look at Romans 6 and more).
This is my opinion: Who is my greatest enemy? The guy staring back in the mirror and the enemy within. It is not the devil. Just saying….
Prayer: Father, I don’t know what got into me writing this. I hope that it makes sense and promotes your magnificent Worth and Majesty. May your Name be glorified forever. AMEN and AMEN