Are There Limits on Satan

Arlington church of Christ, Cincinnati, OhioSomeone asked the question: Why does God allow Satan to still attack us, while 2Pet 2:4 tells us that angels that sinned were put into dungeons to be held until judgment? Why doesn’t God lock Satan away too?

The bible scriptures tell us in 1Pet 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Satan is still roaming the earth, unlike the sinning angels. Peter warns us to be on guard against him. But just because he is roaming around doesn’t mean that God has no control over him. Remember what God told Satan in the book of Job – twice, God allowed Satan to do certain things to Job as tests, but God always set limits on Satan. Job 1:12 “The Lord said to Satan,’Very well then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’” And again in Job 2:6 “The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.’” While Satan was given leeway to do certain things, he did not have the power to go beyond the limits set by God.

Even now, God has put limits on the temptations that Satan can afflict us with. 1Cor 10:13 tells us that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. Satan is allowed to tempt us, and some of the temptations may be very hard to overcome, but God has put His limits in place so that we will be able to resist the temptation if we look for the way out that God provides. James 4:7 “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” So Satan too is limited, although currently not in the same way those sinning angels are.

So why is Satan still allowed to tempt us at all? For the same reason that he was allowed to tempt Eve in the garden – God always allows us to choose our course of action. We were created with free will, the ability to choose what we will do. If we choose to follow God, then He is honored and receives glory. If we choose to disobey and sin, then God is offended and separated from us by our sin. Isa 59:1-2 We are part of a great battle between the forces of God and those who have rejected God’s authority and chosen to follow Satan. Those on each side are watching the conflict and observing how we respond to the challenges laid before us.

church of Chirst doctrine taught in Cincinnati, Ohio

church of Christ beliefs

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Soul and Spirit

Arlington Church of Christ in Cincinnati, OHIn Hebrews 4:12, the writer says: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The distinction between the soul and spirit is very difficult, yet we are told that the word of God is powerful enough to do it. Most seem to think that the two are the same thing, yet this verse indicates that while they are similar that there is a difference.

According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary – “Soul” has two meanings in scripture: 1) That which makes the body alive (life in the physical body) and example is found in Gen 35:18 …”As her soul was departing – she named her son Ben-oni.” 2) The inner life of a person, the personality. An example of this use is Gen 2:7 “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul.” The word ‘soul’ can refer to either physical life or the spiritual life depending on the context. In the verse – Matt 16:25-26 “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” The same Greek word translated ‘life’ in verse 25, is translated ‘soul’ in verse 26. In verse 25, it is referring to the physical life, and in verse 26, to the spiritual life.

“Spirit” comes from the Greek pneuma which means breath or wind. It refers to the vital principle given by God, the ‘spirit’. It is the part of man that is made in the image of God. It is used in verses like Gen 2:7 “ the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath (spirit) of life, and the man became a living soul.” Also see Heb 12:23
The scripture says in James 2:26 “the body without the spirit is dead..” which indicates that although the body may die, the spirit lives on. The spirit is the part of man that is made in God’s image and lives eternally. See Ecc 12:7 So the ‘spirit’ is the part of man that lives on, while the ‘soul’ (physical life) can die. See Josh 10:28, Josh 11:11 KJV

These two words are so closely associated though that distinguishing between the two is very difficult. In some passages, the word ‘soul’ is used to mean the spiritual life that continues on after death, and not just the physical life. So it may be said that the ‘spirit’ is the eternal part of man, made in the image of God, that will live forever in either heaven or hell. The ‘soul’ is the resulting life in the body, and may refer to either the physical life or the spiritual life in the new spiritual body (depending on the context). The body is made ‘alive’ by the combination of the soul and spirit. 1Thess 5:23 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body, be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

church of Christ near me in Cincinnati, OH

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Judging Fairly Matthew Chapter 7 1-5

Judging Fairly
Judging Fairly
Matt 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you too will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye. How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ ,when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye
.”
Jesus is appealing to the highest ideals of the rabbis. The Jewish rabbis taught that there were six great ‘works’ in this life: studying the scriptures, visiting the sick, showing hospitality, prayer, educating children in the law, and thinking the best of others. Think of how often you have misjudged others or been misjudged by them. Our judgment of others is faulty because we do not know all the situations, background, and especially their motives -1Cor 2:11. We know what they did, but not WHY they did it. We may not know the facts they faced, or the strength of a particular temptation.

It is impossible for us to be completely impartial in our judgments. We are swayed by attraction or repulsion by certain people. The Greeks would sometimes hold difficult trials in total darkness, so the defendant could not be seen or recognized, and only the facts considered. Only one who is totally impartial has the right to judge, and since none but God is impartial, only He can make right judgments.

Jesus is teaching that no one has the right to judge or criticize another unless he is prepared to do better in the same situation. Please note that Jesus is not condemning all evaluations of whether an action is right or wrong. What He is condemning is the hypocritical evaluation of others. We are told to discipline the erring brother – 1Cor 5. That requires that an evaluation be made of actions, but it is not being made on the basis of our own thoughts, but on the comparison to God’s standard of conduct for us in His word. If we use His word, then He is judging – not us – and His judgment is just. We cannot condemn others, but we can condemn their actions when they violate the word of God. That is the duty of Christians – to apply the words of the Bible to the things we see happening around us and speak out in defense of God and His standards. We can ‘judge’ properly if we use His judgments, not our own or those of society. We are to try to help others live in harmony with God’s will by pointing out what He expects. But we must also apply those same principles and laws to our own lives. Let us examine our own lives first in the mirror of God’s word. James 1:23-25.

Gospel Lesson by the Arlington Church of Christ Located in Cincinnati, Ohio

Church of Christ Video Sermons

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube