What does it mean to sell your soul?

What does it mean to sell your soul?

Usually, when someone thinks of selling one’s soul, he or she thinks of selling it to the devil, aka Satan. The idea derives from an ancient German parable and subsequent Elizabethan play entitled The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus. Here a man exchanges his soul (that part of him that is eternal) for 24 years of pleasure, wealth and magical powers.

More commonly, the selling of one’s soul to the devil, is commonly associated with anyone who is willing to do that which is immoral, unseemly or otherwise evil, to amass wealth, gain power or fame, or achieve a seemingly unattainable degree of personal pleasure. Satan dangles all manner of temptation before individuals in an attempt to lure them away from his archenemy, God. He is so bold and so convinced of his personal power that he even tried to get Jesus to sell him his soul. Matthew records the story of this remarkable attempt by the devil to get Jesus to turn on God, his father.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Matthew 4:1-11

Satan may influence an individual to do evil, but God always has the last word. No matter how great one’s sin, the price for that sin has already been paid in blood on a Roman cross 2000 years ago. Satan has been defeated and he has limited power on earth until Jesus returns and gets rid of evil forever. Satan’s power is defined in the Bible.

The power of deception

…Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

2 Corinthians 11:14-15

The power to challenge angels

But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Jude 9

The power to bring havoc

“Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Job 1:10-12

Power that is limited

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

Power that can be thwarted by those who place their trust in God

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:11:12

You don’t have to sell your soul to the devil to gain the greatest gift in the world…peace in this life and an eternity free from pain and suffering while feasting with the creator of the universe. If you haven’t already taken advantage of the gift of life that God offers, we encourage you to read our blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

Who was Satan and how did he get into the Garden of Eden?

Who was Satan and how did he get into the Garden of Eden?

At Vacation Bible School a youngster asked: Who was Satan? Another asked: How did he get into the Garden of Eden. The teacher who passed these questions along to us said that these triggered a floodgate of follow-up questions like: Why did Satan get kicked out of heaven? and Why did he look like a snake?

These questions may have been asked by 5th graders, but they have also been pondered by people of all ages for millennia. We don’t know all the answers, but the Bible provides lots of clues–even as it leaves us asking more questions.

Let’s begin by answering the first question: Who was Satan? In Revelation, the last book of the Bible, we read about Satan leading a rebellion in heaven and losing.

Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Revelation 12:7-9

From what we read here, God created heavenly beings before he created man, but like man, these beings had free will. They exercised this free will by defying their creator. Led by Satan, they were deceived into thinking that they could be as powerful as God. When they lost a battle against angels who served God, they were hurled to the earth. When did this happen? Why earth and not a billion other places in the universe? These are questions for which we don’t have answers. But, unfortunately, this crafty, cunning former angel was given some level of power while on earth.

It may seem strange to think that God created a being as evil as Satan, but not if one understands evil. God is pure goodness. When one, even an angel like Satan, turns his back to God, he turns his back on goodness. From that point on he becomes evil. When he places anything ahead of God–even things that seem to be good–he loses God’s favor. Without God and the guidelines for living He has laid down, men become self-centered. Every evil in the world can be traced to that self-centered nature because evil is a rejection of God.

It seems strange then to think that evil was allowed into the Garden of Eden, but God had cast Satan to earth where eventually he indwelled a serpent, the most crafty of creatures. That serpent was likely brought into the garden by God along with all the other wild beasts and posed no threat to humankind…until Satan entered it.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

Genesis 3:15-20

Satan cannot abide anything that reflects God’s goodness, so it is not surprising that he had his designs on man, God’s greatest creation. If man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) then Satan had to try and destroy man–to make him turn his back on his creator. What better way to do that than to indwell a serpent.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:1-5

Since neither the man, Adam, nor the woman, Eve, knew anything other than goodness as they communed with God in the garden, they would not have reason to cringe at the sight of any beast or even a serpent. So Satan chose that creature to be his voice, tempting Eve with an idea that seemed not only very rational but very good as well–to be like God!

Once men and women turned their backs on God, their punishment was death–eternal separation from God. That’s why God set in motion a plan of redemption that would culminate with the death of God’s own son, Jesus, on a Roman cross, and his subsequent resurrection and triumph over death.

If you would like to know more about what this redemption means for you, I encourage you to read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

Image by Denis Doukhan from Pixabay

Does man have a Noble purpose or do we just exist? Part 2

Does man have a Noble purpose or do we just exist? Part 2

Last week we took an overview approach to answer this question focusing on God’s love. This week we have taken an in-depth search of Scriptures to see what else we can discover about whether or not mankind has a noble purpose ordained by its creator, God.

First, what is man that God is mindful of him? (Psalm 8:4). Well, God created man, a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5), with a purpose to rule over the planet Earth (Genesis 1:28). This purpose was in direct conflict with the former most powerful ruler of Earth, Satan.  Satan attacks man even to this day to remove man as ruler and for Satan to try to gain back his rule over Earth and to destroy Israel.

But, Jesus the Lord God takes on flesh of a man (Hebrews 2:9), coming to Earth as the “son of man.” This son of man defeats Satan at the cross, and is crowned with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9; Psalm 8:5). Jesus raises man to a highly elevated position as a son of God and brother of Jesus, through placement in Christ (Ephesians 2:6) and adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5), for those who receive him (John 1:12). Man is thus raised to the highest place of significance far above that of the place of Satan.

Such a work of God brings glory to God revealing his wonderful grace and mercy. Further, after having raised man to a high position in Christ, God then uses man to join with Him in order to carry out God’s will on Earth.

Man’s purpose is thus: To be an instrument used by God in the face of a powerful enemy, wherein God rules planet Earth through man, to accomplish God’s purposes, and so bring glory to God (1Peter 4:11; Ephesians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 10:31). Therefore, we can conclude positively from the Scriptures that man has a noble purpose. A purpose that is good and honorable. A purpose that can be admired due to its impressive value in and through the work and activity of God.

(Note: The reference to man refers to mankind and includes both men and women, sons and daughters).