Satan is sneaky! But, worse than being sneaky, he is extremely good at what he does. From the beginning, he has been using the Word of God and twisting it to his agenda. The very first temptation recorded in the Bible is one where Satan took the Words of God and changed them just a little. That temptation worked, Eve sinned, and talked Adam into sinning as well.
During the temptation of Christ, Satan tried the same trick again. Why shouldn’t he? It works so well!
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” (Matthew 4:5-6 ESV)
Here, Satan quotes Scripture as accurately as any apostle of Christ. In this instance, he quoted the scripture accurately in an attempt to cloud the meaning of the scripture. That’s a trick that works even better than twisting the Scripture to say something different. It’s a better trick because those who don’t know the Scripture or don’t desire to put in the study can be made to think that the Scripture (when quoted accurately) means something entirely different from what it actually means. Satan spoke true. God would protect Christ until it was time for Him to fulfill all things. But, that protection didn’t include purposefully throwing Himself off of the pinnacle of the temple to put that promise to a test. Notice, Christ understood this and replied:
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:7 ESV)
Jesus understood that until you have all that the Bible says on a topic, you don’t have the entire truth. Jesus understood Psalms 119:160:
The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. (Psalm 119:160 ESV)
The total of God’s word is truth. You need to put it all together to get the complete meaning. Today’s world has a terrible problem understanding this. Everywhere we look there are people who try to pass off lies as truth and truth as lies. However, that isn’t just a problem in today’s world…it has always been a problem.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20-21 ESV)
Even though this problem has always been around, the older I get the more it feels that it is a problem that is getting worse. You can barely pick up the newspaper, turn on the television, or listen to the radio without having to sift through a mountain of lies. The lie that I have had to sift through more than any other recently is the lie that if we, as Christians, say anything against a sin, then we are being, at best, intolerant and at worst, filth spewing hatemongers. Well, I want to apply truth to that lie and tell you what hate really looks like.
Let’s look at it logically. Here are some questions to think over:
- If I teach to you and convert you, then you will spend all of eternity in Heaven with God. I also want to spend all of eternity in Heaven with God. If I hated you, why would I want you to be there?
- If I hated you, wouldn’t it be easier to tell you nothing at all and let you go to Hell instead?
If there is one thing that I wish I could wave my hands and make everyone in the world understand it is this: when I try to teach you what the Bible says, I don’t do it out of hate. I do it out of love. I do it because I want you to be in Heaven with me for all of eternity. If I tell you what God says in the Bible, it is not me judging you, it is me begging you to do what God wants you to do so that you can have what I have. What more loving thing could a person say than “I want you to be with me forever?”
On the contrary, if I had hate in my heart, I would do everything I could to make sure you didn’t know the truth. I wouldn’t want you with me forever. I would never try to teach you or, if I did, I would teach you wrong to make sure you were unable to find the truth.
Now, you may say, “But, your interpretation of the Bible is archaic and can’t be the truth.” I would love to study with you on that, but until I can study with you on that, please know this: I firmly believe that what I am saying is the truth. I am convinced, convicted, and certain that the things I write and say are the truth and that they are what God wants you to do to be with Him forever. I’m not making it up. I have a strong reason for each of my beliefs.
When I try to teach them to you, please take it as a compliment, not a slight. Under each word I write and under each word I say, please hear the underlying message: I love you enough to want you to spend eternity with you in Heaven.
The world sees what I have just said as hate. Does it seem like hate to you? If so, I’m very sorry for you. I still want to teach you. That’s love.
Hate pretends to be love. It makes statements like “don’t judge me.” It preaches about “tolerance” while teaching the “tolerant” to be tolerant of every despicable lie, but is intolerant of those who try to teach truth. It hides behind the mantle of enlightenment while bringing darkness to everyone it touches.
That is the reality of hate.
The next time someone tries to teach you about God, even if you don’t agree with them, why not consider that they are doing it out of love for you? You might just learn something.
Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? (Galatians 4:16 ESV)