The Devil’s Response
Now that the Devil has lost his battle to thwart the implementation of God’s purpose of adopting man into the heavens as His sons, the Devil turned his attention to those remaining on the earth to ‘persuade’ them not to pursue the heavenly reconciliation. And he is not limiting his activities to Christians, but Christians are at the forefront of his attack because they have been entrusted with the work of bearing witness to Jesus and revealing to all mankind their true, eternal and glorious future.
The Devil is using various methods, including theocratic domination (getting us to follow men rather than Christ), ideological confusion (teaching ideas that distort our understanding of God’s purpose, some of which cause one to reject God’s purpose), preoccupation (social, economic and material advantages to take up our time), upheavals (political crises and social unrest to discourage and mislead us) and lastly physical persecution and premature death.
But the Devil was defeated. From then on, he knew he will never be man’s true ruler. Whatever control he manages to assert is without any real authority and only exists over those whose minds are blinded so they cannot see the glorious good news about our heavenly inheritance.
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
However, one thing God will not do is interfere with our free will. No divine being is allowed to do that, so, it is up to us individually to make the decision to pursue God’s purpose for ourselves. And when we do, our celestial family (those who had been peering into earthly matters for generations) gets behind us, educates us, and supports us so that we can endure and attain our true destiny.
Jesus and the Father fully know what we are up against. Our planet has been severely handicapped by the rebellion by Lucifer, the default of Adam and Eve, and the anger of a cunning, yet defeated, adversary. So the bar is low. All we need to do is exercise faith in Jesus and follow his example. And as Jesus said, all it requires is just a little faith.
“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
– Matthew 17:20
“He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”
– Luke 17:6
Contrary to modern day ‘ideological confusion,’ we do not have to know the answers to all theological questions.
“As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.”
– 1 Timothy 1:3-7
We do not have to search out the origin of every practice and holiday and custom, and meticulously avoid those with questionable roots.
“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.”
– Galatians 4:8-11
We do not have to abandon common sense to follow the whims of men who set themselves up as theocracies.
“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?”
– 2 Thessalonians 2:3-5
We do not have to be sinless, flawless or literally perfect.
“We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”
– Galatians 2:15-16
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
– Ephesians 2:8-9
What we do have to do is to pursue the heavenly career by doing ‘God’s will’ – the best and right thing under the circumstances, as explained in the article The Perfect Will of God. In truth, it is easier to do the 'perfect will of God’ than it is to do the imperfect will of man.
But if we can manage just that, we will attain our reward of everlasting life in the heavens, advancing ‘with ever-increasing glory’ (2 Corinthians 3:18) until we come face to face with our Infinitely Grand Father who has blessings for us that we cannot even fathom.
“However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:9