Satan uses his implied lies to debase
Christ and the Gospel even within the visible church, as we hear from
men as varied as Joel Osteen, Billy Graham, and Timothy Keller.
In our last article we saw Satan's
devious use of the implied lie in Eden, during Christ's temptation
in the wilderness, and at the Cross. Christians must recognize that
Satan’s same pattern of deception, and man’s same tendency to
fall prey to the implied lie of the Devil, exists in the church
today just as it did in Eden. We find two principal examples of
this in our time.
Satan has used the implied lie to debase
the person of Jesus Christ within the postmodern Evangelical
church. According to reliable surveys, nearly half of the adults
in Evangelical churches today believe that Jesus Christ probably
or definitely committed sin while He was on earth.
And here is the outcome of acceptance of
the Devil’s "if" – the
implied lie, the blasphemous lie – that you will find among many
so-called Evangelicals today: "If Jesus committed sin, then at
least He was just a regular kind of person like I am. And that’s
the kind of person I want for a friend ─ not some
holier-than-thou person, just a regular guy."
I have heard of people who claim to be
Evangelical Christians saying that their idea of Jesus is someone
they could go to the bar and have a drink with on Saturday
night. That is the kind of thinking about God the Son we find in
much of the Evangelical church today. It is the kind of
teaching you will actually find in growing numbers of so-called Evangelical
Let me turn that lie of the Devil around.
If you do not believe in a sinless Christ you have not believed
the one true Gospel. "He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we
might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians
The Gospel begins with the deity of
Christ. The Gospel begins with the sinless perfection of the Christ
of God. That is why Satan wants to undermine and destroy those
beliefs. If you do not believe in a sinless Christ, you have not
believed the one true Gospel. You are not saved. You cannot be
saved if you believe such a lie. And if you so much as believe in a Christ who could
have sinned, even if you believe He did not, let me frankly say
that I likewise fear for you, because you are standing on a
slippery theological slope. The Word of God clearly
teaches the impeccability of the Lord Jesus Christ. His
temptation in all points like as we are, yet without sin, was
the proof of His perfection, the proof that He is God made flesh
and qualified to redeem sinners.
A second implied lie of the Devil that we
find in the church today also has to do with the heart of the
Gospel. We find it in places as varied as word-of-faith
congregations and nominally Reformed churches.
Joel Osteen, the pastor of the largest
nominally Evangelical church in the United States, is often
asked the question, "What about the people who don’t believe on
Jesus Christ? Will they go to Heaven?" Here is the answer he has
given many times: "Well, I’ve spent a lot of time in India, and
those millions of Hindus are very sincere people, and they love
God, and I don’t see how God can reject them."
Billy Graham often gave a similar answer. He
has said that while he preached Jesus as the only Way early in
his ministry, he has come to a more "tolerant" point of view in
his later years.
We also find Presbyterian pastor Timothy
Keller saying that there may be some "trapdoor" way to
for non-Christians that God has not told him about. In a
video interview we cited in an article on Keller, he
repeatedly used conditional words about Jesus such as "if He is
who He says He is" ─ "if He really was bodily raised from the
dead" ─ "if He was our original Creator" and so on.
Here once again, from Osteen, Graham, Keller, and
many others we could name, is the Devil’s "if", and it takes at
least these three forms:
1.) "If these people are so sincere, how
can God reject them?" The answer, according to Scripture, is that
you can be very sincere, but sincerely wrong.
There is a way that seems right to a
man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12).
2.) "If these
people love God, how can He reject them?" The answer is that they
cannot love a God who they do not even know.
But then, indeed, when you did not
know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.
...when the Lord Jesus is revealed
from Heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking
vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not
obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians
3.) And finally,
there is what we might call the "Oprah Winfrey version" of the
lie, since she is one of today’s leading promoters of it: "If you
have your truth and I have my truth, won’t we all just get there
somehow?" The answer is that there is only one Truth. Jesus is
the Truth (John 14:6). God’s Word, forever settled in Heaven, is
the truth (Psalm 119:89). There is only one Way, and it is the
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide
is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and
there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and
difficult [literally, compressed] is the way which leads to life, and there are few who
find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Christians must heed God's warning
against falling prey to Satan's lies:
Every word of God is pure [Hebrew
tsaraph, tested and proven true]; He is a shield to those
who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He
rebuke you, and you be found a liar (Proverbs 30:5-6).