articlesqa April 15, 2020 The Sovereign God
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo EleyinafeCreator and author of

In our last chap­ter, we dis­cussed how ide­olo­gies are emer­gent prop­er­ties of sin and sin­ful­ness. As for how sin en­tered into the world, not more can be said than, “Sin en­tered into the world by sin.”1 We know that be­cause of our sin, God Pun­ish­es us with evil by With­draw­ing His good­ness from us. And yet, in His Mer­cy, God Min­is­ters good­ness to all and Re­strains our mad­ness to keep us from be­ing con­sumed in evil Gen­e­sis 20:6, Deuteron­o­my 18:14. There­fore, chil­dren still laugh, the sun still shines and there is still fel­low­ship among peo­ple. This Grace by Which God Re­strains and Bless­es the world is known col­lec­tive­ly as Com­mon Grace. With­out His Grace, Adam would have been child­less or his chil­dren would have al­ready plunged the world into the dark­est hell.

The pre­vi­ous para­graph and as­so­ci­at­ed chap­ter is only dif­fi­cult to ac­cept when we are blind­ed to God’s Word by our im­age of God. Un­til we re­pent of mak­ing Him in our im­age, we will con­tin­ue to fail to per­ceive His Sov­er­eign­ty. An old man may grow tired be­fore com­plet­ing a sin­gle breath but God, Though An­cient, is of Days. He Is The Ever­last­ing God Who Nev­er Grows weary Isa­iah 40:28. His Wrath, just like His Mer­cy Lamen­ta­tions 3:22-23 is new every morn­ing Psalms 7:11. In His Wrath, He Eter­nal­ly, In­ces­sant­ly, Af­flicts us. There­fore, in ad­di­tion to Pun­ish­ing us with an evil na­ture, God Gives the dev­il lim­it­ed au­thor­i­ty over the sin­ful world to in­flu­ence, di­rect and tor­ment sin­ners 1 John 5:19, Luke 4:6. God Is The War­den and sa­tan is His pris­on­er. All hu­man be­ings are pris­on­ers en­slaved by God’s De­cree to a su­per­nat­ur­al pris­on­er. Yet His Mer­cy Abides so that in our prison, God Gra­cious­ly Re­strains sa­tan to keep him from do­ing his worst Job 1:12, 2:5-6. Else, all peo­ple would be many many times worse than Hitler.

Those who fol­low Je­sus Christ are no longer sub­jects of sa­tan 1 Corinthi­ans 6:9-11. Though seem­ing to be born to Pharaoh’s daugh­ter He­brews 11:24, they Were Pre­des­tined by God for lib­er­a­tion by Christ from the evil one. From the be­gin­ning, The Fa­ther Gave them to Je­sus Christ John 17:12 and they are un­der Je­sus’ Au­thor­i­ty. How­ev­er, un­til Christ Re­turns, be­liev­ers are still prone to wan­der. They are sus­cep­ti­ble to the dev­il’s wiles Eph­esians 6:11 and can be tempt­ed into sin Luke 22:31. It is only be­cause God Keeps and Re­stores them that they do not re­main in sin 1 John 5:18, Psalms 51:10, Luke 22:32. For this rea­son we pray, “Lead us not into temp­ta­tion but de­liv­er us from evil.“Matthew 6:13, Luke 11:4. For this rea­son, God Prays To Him­self on their be­half, not to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one John 17:15, Ro­mans 8:26,34.

Delu­sion and Dis­ease

Among the per­mit­ted man­i­fes­ta­tions of the dev­il’s au­thor­i­ty is the af­flic­tion of men through phys­i­cal and men­tal dis­ease. Most are fa­mil­iar with the case of Job, a right­eous man, whom God Al­lowed the dev­il to af­flict with dis­ease Job 2:5-7. Un­der God’s Sov­er­eign­ty, an evil spir­it tor­ment­ed and af­flict­ed Saul 1 Samuel 16:14-23 with what we might call de­pres­sion. The means by which God Af­flict­ed Neb­uchad­nez­zar’s mind is not clear but demons did cause the psy­chot­ic be­hav­ior in the man from Gerasenes Mark 5:2-5. So also the young boy with epilep­sy in Mark 9:20-25 was de­mon af­flict­ed. Most cer­tain­ly, not all dis­eases are caused by de­mon­ic en­er­va­tion Matthew 4:24. All vis­i­ble ill­ness­es are nec­es­sar­i­ly nat­u­ral­ly man­i­fest­ed but some ill­ness­es are, be­yond orig­i­nal sin, root­ed in su­per­nat­ur­al op­pres­sion by sa­tan. For this rea­son, us­ing The Au­thor­i­ty He Re­ceived from His Fa­ther Matthew 12:28, Je­sus Healed some peo­ple by Cast­ing out demons. More im­por­tant­ly, by Heal­ing the man from Gerasenes Mark 5:6-13, Je­sus Christ Ex­plic­it­ly Demon­strates that the dev­il’s ac­tiv­i­ty is lim­it­ed by God’s Sov­er­eign­ty.

Most per­ni­cious­ly, sa­tan’s in­flu­ence gen­er­al­ly pro­pels us into deep­er sin and un­be­lief. At base­line, be­cause of our self­ish knowl­edge of good (tob) and evil (ra), we are un­able to dis­crim­i­nate this from that. As is ap­par­ent in the ex­treme case of Neb­uchad­nez­zar Daniel 4:34, with­out God’s Grace, the sin­ful man is an ir­ra­tional and delu­sion­al an­i­mal. His first delu­sion is his love and de­fense of the very sin that en­slaves and tor­tures him Ro­mans 6:6. On the fer­tile ground of our im­paired dis­crim­i­na­tion, sa­tan sows deep­er delu­sions Rev­e­la­tions 2:24, John 8:44-45 or cul­ti­vates those that al­ready ex­ist. For ex­am­ple, through the Phar­isees’ anger Matt 5:22 and un­be­lief, the dev­il blinds them to Christ 2 Corinthi­ans 4:4, John 10:38-39 and de­ludes them to at­tack and even­tu­al­ly kill their Mes­si­ah Matthew 12:14, John 8:59, 11:50-53.

A cur­so­ry glance at hu­man his­to­ry re­veals a plen­i­tude of in­sid­i­ous ideas and de­mon­ic deeds wax­ing and wan­ing ac­cord­ing to this pat­tern. We have seen that through rep­e­ti­tion of sin, the false prophet even­tu­al­ly ar­tic­u­lates false prophe­cies and ide­olo­gies. Now we see the pow­ers and prin­ci­pal­i­ties that make this im­moral­i­ty dy­nam­ic. It is the dev­il that en­tices the false prophet into deep­er sins. It is sa­tan that cu­rates the cul­ture to help the false prophet dis­cov­er and dress up the most de­cep­tive false ide­ol­o­gy. It is also sa­tan that en­tices the false prophet’s many many fol­low­ers into deep­er self delu­sion and more evil deeds. How else did Hitler, the most “non-aryan” of men, de­lude Ger­mans and oth­er eth­nic groups into per­pe­trat­ing the Holo­caust? So­cioe­co­nom­ic fac­tors mo­ti­vat­ing hu­man be­hav­ior should be de­lin­eat­ed but the wise man prays that he is not de­lud­ed into re­duc­ing su­per­nat­ur­al evil to a com­plex in­ter­ac­tion of in­cen­tives and con­straints. But is not this love of mon­ey, this love of tan­gi­ble psy­choe­co­nom­ic analy­sis, the root of all evil?

Strong Delu­sions

Fi­nal­ly, above the base­line of gen­er­al delu­sions, God Can Specif­i­cal­ly Pun­ish our un­be­lief by Send­ing us strong delu­sions 2 Thess 2:11-12. To re­peat: evil char­ac­ter, evil deeds and evil thoughts are God’s Pun­ish­ment upon those who do evil. Over and over in the Bible, God De­clares that He Pun­ish­es peo­ple by Giv­ing them over to the wor­ship of idols Acts 7:42-43, Giv­ing them over to false ide­olo­gies and evil deeds Psalms 81:12, Ro­mans 1:24-32 and Giv­ing them evil laws through which they kill their own chil­dren Deuteron­o­my 32:16–17, Ezekiel 20:25-26. God Does this by Al­low­ing or Di­rect­ing evil spir­its to de­lude the peo­ple, par­tic­u­lar­ly their lead­ers. As hard as this is to hear, it should not be sur­pris­ing that God Pun­ish­es us­ing evil spir­its Whom He Has Con­demned for de­struc­tion. He Fre­quent­ly Judged Is­rael and Used the un­be­liev­ing na­tions around them to ex­e­cute His Pun­ish­ment. Then, He Pun­ished those un­be­liev­ing na­tions for at­tack­ing His Beloved Is­rael.

Be­sides David who brought plague upon Is­rael through sa­tan’s in­cite­ment 1 Chron­i­cles 21:1; 2 Samuel 24:1, the death of Ahab is an ex­plic­it ex­am­ple of this pat­tern of spir­i­tu­al judg­ment. God Want­ed to Kill Ahab in a bat­tle against Aram 1 Kings 22:20; 2 Chron­i­cles 18:19. Ac­cord­ing to His Will, He Al­lowed and Chose the evil spir­it which pos­sessed false prophets to lie to Ahab 1 Kings 22:21-23, 2 Chron­i­cles 18:20-22. Al­though Ahab clear­ly knew his false prophets were ly­ing 2 Chron­i­cles 18:7 and also knew that God’s prophet Mi­ca­iah al­ways told the truth2 Chron­i­cles 18:15, Ahab still suc­cumbed to the strong delu­sion brought by the evil spir­it through his false prophets. He went to war and was killed ac­cord­ing to God’s Di­vine Plan 1 Kings 22:34, 37-38.

The King’s De­cree

The dai­ly Chris­t­ian life is per­fect­ly mir­rored by the bat­tle Is­rael fought in the time of Es­ther. You see, our King, God Almighty, De­creed that all sin­ners are sub­jects of sa­tan Es­ther 3:8-11. But our Beau­ti­ful Christ, the true Es­ther, Found Fa­vor with His Fa­ther The King Es­ther 5:2, Matthew 3:17. With the cross on which He Died, Je­sus Hung the dev­il Es­ther 7:9-10, Colos­sians 2:14-15 and Freed us from the pow­er of our ac­cuser Es­ther 3:8, 7:3-4, Rev­e­la­tion 12:10, Job 1:9-11. And when Je­sus Rose from the grave, His Fa­ther Gave Him All Au­thor­i­ty Es­ther 8:8, Matthew 28:18, Philip­pi­ans 2:9-11, Eph­esians 1:20-22 to do Any­thing and Every­thing He Wish­es Psalms 2:6-9. Like Es­ther with the Jews in Per­sia, Je­sus Has Giv­en Us His Gospel to car­ry to all the earth Es­ther 8:14, Matthew 28:19-20. By His Au­thor­i­ty and His Holy Spir­it, all be­liev­ers obey Him and ut­ter­ly an­ni­hi­late all the works of the dev­il 1 John 3:8, Es­ther 8:10-14, Matthew 16:18, John 4:12.

Per­haps now The Word through Paul is more read­i­ly re­ceived.

Eph­esians 6:10 Fi­nal­ly, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole ar­mor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the dev­il. 12 For we do not wres­tle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the au­thor­i­ties, against the cos­mic pow­ers over this present dark­ness, against the spir­i­tu­al forces of evil in the heav­en­ly places.

As the be­liev­er goes to war against false ide­olo­gies and their false prophets, she must build every strat­e­gy around an ever bur­geon­ing knowl­edge of God’s Sov­er­eign­ty. First, she must re­mem­ber that her bat­tle is not against the nat­ur­al but the su­per­nat­ur­al. There­fore, her weapons can­not be car­nal but strong in The Lord 2 Corinthi­ans 10:4. Sec­ond­ly, it is God Who Al­lows sa­tan to be ac­tive and God Lim­its sa­tan’s ac­tiv­i­ty. Since she is in Christ Eph­esians 1:1 and holy in Christ Eph­esians 1:7, she not only ap­proach­es the throne, she is al­ready seat­ed in Christ at the right hand of God Eph­esians 1:20, Colos­sians 3:1. Her slight­est whis­per Is Heard by The Holy One and, through her prayer, God In­ter­cedes With Him­self for her John 17:15, Ro­mans 8:26,34. With Es­ther’s hum­ble bold­ness, she asks Him to cur­tail the dev­il’s ac­tiv­i­ty and God An­swers her prayer.

Our bat­tle is not against this le­gion of false prophets and their evil ide­olo­gies. Our war is against the spir­i­tu­al forces that em­pow­er and de­lude them. To para­phrase broth­er Bon­ho­ef­fer, it is more im­por­tant to talk to God about the false prophet than to talk to the false prophet about God. Since the vis­i­ble was made from the in­vis­i­ble He­brews 11:3, ask God for vic­to­ry over sa­tan in The Name of Je­sus Christ. Once the spir­i­tu­al is right­eous­ly or­dered, the phys­i­cal will fol­low as a mat­ter of course.

This se­ries of ar­ti­cles be­gan like an ide­o­log­i­cal tax­on­o­my. We ex­am­ined macro­scop­ic char­ac­ter­is­tics unique to false prophe­cies and ide­olo­gies so that their false­ness might be eas­i­ly iden­ti­fied. We then placed these false ide­olo­gies un­der a mi­cro­scope to demon­strate the in­di­vid­ual atoms of moral­i­ty com­pos­ing them. Armed with knowl­edge of these in­vari­ants, it should now be eas­i­er to iden­ti­fy false ide­olo­gies and de­vel­op strate­gies to es­cape their grasp. For ex­am­ple, by con­stant­ly re­mem­ber­ing that all hu­man be­ings must be val­ued ac­cord­ing to Christ’s Atone­ment for their sins, ...
night from the swarmMarch 26, 2020
I do not know how Je­sus did it. Hun­dreds, He per­formed hun­dreds, maybe thou­sands of mir­a­cles while He walked the earth. Yet His Word in is the most Mirac­u­lous. “I Am The True Vine and My Fa­ther Is The Vine Dress­er.” A short sen­tence. An Eter­ni­ty of mean­ing. Thou­sands of years ear­li­er in God told Moses His Name. “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Say this to the peo­ple of Is­rael: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Thou­sands of years lat­er, stir­ring up dust as He walked with His dis­ci­ples, Je­sus Christ, our Burn­ing Bush, not only re­veals Him­self but also Names The Holy Trin­i­ty. “I Am The True Vine and My Fa­ther Is Th...
the widow's oilApril 02, 2018
There is a great book by a broth­er in whose fam­i­ly I do not de­serve to be­long called The Cost of Dis­ci­ple­ship. The book lays out what we eas­i­ly for­get as The Church of Je­sus Christ: the cost of dis­ci­ple­ship is de­nial of one­self so that I can be like Je­sus Christ. We lay down our lives be­cause He Laid down His Own. He Of­fers us His Body and Blood and we of­fer to Him our body and blood. The cost of dis­ci­ple­ship is the price of love. Even when the price is high, it is an easy de­ci­sion. So please go and read The Cost of Dis­ci­ple­ship by broth­er Di­et­rich Bon­ho­ef­fer. These se­ries of ar­ti­cles deal with dis­c...
a disciple is notMarch 06, 2018

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” - Colossians 2:3