Here is one example of how satan is twisting good to evil and evil to good. In this case, he has it both ways. Remember, the very first time satan is introduced to us in the word of God, we learn that our adversary is crafty. (Genesis 3:1)
The issue on today's essay is homosexuality, which as you know, is a sin according to the words of God. (Leviticus 18:22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-28, 1 Timothy 1:10). However, the culture around the world for the most part has been very busy in this generation and the last to redefine homosexuality as an equality issue, or a discrimination issue, or not a sin issue. And so far, it has been successful. Culture has normalized the activity, worked to remove the stigma to it, and presented it as something that deserves inclusion into one of society's (and God's) institutions: marriage.
I thought that this news article from earlier in the week represented a 'natural' next step in the ongoing perverse battle to get homosexuality into churches and into the minds of people as a normal, God-ordained activity;but was also brilliant as a next step that seems almost fated (as in, why didn't we see this coming?)
North Carolina's New Gay Marriage Lawsuit Could Turn 'Everything On Its Head'
An unusual lawsuit in North Carolina is shifting the conversation about religious freedom -- and could be driving a wedge between some major opponents of same-sex marriage.
Clergy from the United Church of Christ, a liberal denomination that voted to support gay weddings in its churches in 2005, filed suit in a North Carolina district court Monday, becoming the latest in a nationwide series of cases against a state's same-sex marriage ban. Like dozens of similar lawsuits filed across the country, the North Carolina suit argues that the state's ban violates gay couples' constitutional right to equal protection. But in a unique twist, the suit adds that the ban also violates the First Amendment right of members of the clergy to practice their faith -- because the state's ban criminalizes pastors who bless same-sex unions, leaving clergy open to arrest.
Satan was created by God and by biblical account was the most beautiful of all the angels, the highest of the high, adorned and in the midst of the holiest of places in heaven. (Ezekiel 28:12–18). Angels have intelligence and they use their intelligence to study, observe, and preach. (Matthew 8:29; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Peter 1:12). Since satan is so cunning and was able to turn a third of the holy angels of heaven from holiness to unrighteousness by getting them to follow him, it stands to reason that satan is brilliantly effective at his dark work. (Hebrews 12:22, Revelation 12:4)
What a tremendously evil campaign! To infiltrate first the culture by presenting homosexuality as normal, then infiltrate marriage with it, then insinuate himself into the churches with it, and finally to turn our own laws against us by claiming that to deny homosexual marriage in the church violates the first amendment because it denies "pastors" the right to perform their duties in marrying two men or two women. What a twist!
I can't say I have a begrudging admiration for satan, but I do have a breathless awe at the depth of his evil and his ability to perform seemingly endless iterations of the swap for dark for light and bitter for sweet.
The lesson for us here is two-fold. First, satan is patient. He has long-term plans and is willing to work incrementally in order to carry them out. I personally believe this latest version of his 6000 year campaign to normalize homosexuality in America began in 1969 with the Stonewall Riots.
If you're old enough, in the US in 1968 everything was turning upside down. Protesters were marching against and rioting about the Viet Nam War. The Civil Rights movement was reaching its highest pitch. Several promising politicians were assassinated, and the 1968 political convention was a mess of melee and policemen and batons and brutality. At the same time, second-wave feminism was rising, a movement that focused attention on female sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights, and perceived and real inequalities. Every arena of culture, from one end to another was being questioned, protested, and turned upside down.
Against this backdrop Sexual Revolution burst into cultural consciousness. As described by Wikipedia, "the sexual revolution (also known as a time of "sexual liberation") was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the Western world from the 1960s to the 1980s. Sexual liberation included increased acceptance of sex outside of traditional heterosexual, monogamous relationships (primarily marriage). Contraception and the pill, public nudity, the normalization of premarital sex, homosexuality and alternative forms of sexuality, and the legalization of abortion all followed." (source)
It was inevitable that the Stonewall Riots of 1969 would bring us to a First Amendment challenge of violation of relisous freedom. It was never obvious at the time of course, but hindsight is 20/20 and looking back we can see the road our culture has traveled. Incremental dilution of standards away from the bible's standards is always disastrous. Never, ever give an inch.
Secondly, we as humans are sitting ducks. Just as we may not boast of our own works or even our own participation in our own salvation, we always must remember that our adversary is crafty and seeks our destruction in general and specifically at every moment. (John 10:10; 1 Peter 5:8). To put it bluntly, we're dumber than we think.
Third, because we need Christ so desperately, our defense against being deluded by satan's schemes is Christ alone and Christ constantly. Apart from him we can do nothing. Any person who strays from that narrow path He has set before us even by an inch will soon find themselves deluded and wandering, swapping dark for light in short order.
Christ overcame the world and He sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. In the Spirit's ministry of pointing to Christ, the Spirit seeks our best, whether it be clarity in understanding scripture, strength to persevere, or even interceding for us when we are too weak or ignorant to pray. (Ephesians 1:17-18; Ephesians 3:16, Romans 8:26). How we resist the devil is by staying in the word, praying to Jesus, submitting to His statutes, and repenting when we do sin. All this helps us stay clean and clear. In other words, in every way, look to Jesus.
Satan's brilliance is obvious. However he is a crumb compared to the glory that is Jesus our Savior! In Jesus, we can overcome all things, including drawing on the Holy Spirit's the wit and strength to resist satan's schemes. (James 4:7). The twisted ways of this world will become increasingly twisted, but we have the mind of Christ. And always, always remember, earth is not our home.
For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.
(1 Chronicles 29:15)