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The Cross, Sin, and the Devil in God's Plan of Salvation

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Question:  I have read the introduction of the first part of the Satanic Rebellion Series on your site. I have found it very useful, as I have decided recently to try and understand Christianity more fully, to learn more of God's work. I would very much appreciate if you could answer a few of my questions, or refer me to a site that may be able to help, as I am sometimes confused by the terms used and in what context they should be taken. The passage makes reference to us being in “the devil's world”, and I was wondering in what sense we are in "the devil's world". You also write how we are "bombarded by the devil's attacks"; I was wondering, what these attacks are, and how they would cause us to commit sin. I was also confused in how God "condemned" his Son, Jesus. As I have always assumed that it was through death, yet he is resurrected, and so seems did not physically die. I was also wondering how Jesus' dying makes atonement for our sins. Lastly you write that man was created as a replacement for the devil and the fallen angels, so should we assume that the only reason for our existence is due to the devil and his actions? I hope you can help, and look forward to your reply. Thank you.

Response:  I am very pleased to hear that you have found these materials helpful, and will do what I can to help answer whatever questions you have.

1) "the devil's world": Satan gained a measure of control over the world through his corruption of Adam and Eve. As it says in 1st John 5:19, "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one". This issue is covered in some considerable detail at many places in the Satanic Rebellion series, the Basics series, and in the Coming Tribulation series, but the following links address it more or less directly and would be a good place to start:

        Sojourners in the Devil's World (in Satanic Rebellion part 4)

        The Limits of Satan's control over the world (in BB 2A: Angelology)

2) "the devil's attacks": Jesus and the apostles did much in the way of exorcism, which demonstrates beyond doubt the very tangible way in which satanic forces are operating in the world. The book of Job, moreover, gives a very detailed account of how Satan targets individual believers (for he is the adversary who accuses us "night and day before God": Rev.12:10). This subject is covered at the following links:

        Satan's Tactical Doctrine (in SR #4)

        Satan's World System: Tactical Methodology (in SR #4)

        Satan's Counter-Strategy (in SR #5)

        Satan's Tactics (in BB 2A)

3) The second part of this question is a bit more difficult to answer than the first, but I will do my best. First, Jesus most definitely did die on the cross for us. He did die physically. After He had “given up His spirit”, He was pierced by the soldier's lance and "blood and water" came out (Jn.19:34), a sign according to most medical authorities that He had been physically dead for some time when this action occurred. Indeed, it was because He was clearly and demonstrably physically dead that the Roman soldiers did not break His legs to hasten His death (as they did in the case of the two crucified with Him: Jn.19:31-37). The fact that He was in the grave from Friday till Sunday is also a clear proof of His death (cf. Lk.23:46 where He breaths out His last breath). His resurrection from the dead is the hope upon which Christianity is founded. If we did not believe in the resurrection - Jesus' rising from the dead and our own rising to meet Him on the day of days to come - there would be little point to our faith (cf. 1Cor.15:19, we would be "more to be pitied than all others"; see Peter lesson #20: "The Resurrection"). But He did rise, and that is the good news of the gospel, proclaimed in all of the gospels, by all the witnesses to the resurrection, and in all the New Testament epistles.

The second part of your question requires an answer more involved than I can possibly give in this e-mail, but I will attempt at least to outline it here (until the availability of parts 4A and 4B of the Basics series, "Christology" and "Soteriology" respectively, please see part 3B, "Hamartiology: the Biblical Study of Sin", section III.2, “The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ”). We are all sinners, for we are all born with a sin nature and all commit personal sins (on the universality of human sinfulness see: 1Ki.8:46; Ps.130:3-4; Prov.20:9; Eccl.7:20; Rom.3:23). The penalty for sin is death (Rom.7:23 et al.), so that in order for us ever to be able to live with a holy and perfect God, someone had to pay for our sins. Since is God is just, He could not in justice just "let us off" - someone had to pay that price (without a sacrifice, without "the shedding of blood" there is no remission of sins: Heb.9:22).

Jesus is the only One who could die in our place, for He is the only One who ever lived a perfect life without sin (His virgin birth meant that, like Adam and Eve as originally created, He did not have a sin nature, but unlike Adam and Eve, He never sinned and so never acquired a sin nature as they surely did: Heb.4:15; cf. Phil.2:6-11; Heb.2:14-18). The water baptism of Jesus is symbolic of what He did for us. All of as sinners went down into the Jordan and had our sins washed away, then Jesus went down and went under - into our sins, dying for our sins - but came back up again - resurrection, and new life for us too since we are justified not by our own works but by faith in what He did for us (cf. Rom.4:25). It is hard to say exactly what happened at the cross beyond precisely what scripture records, but we can say of a certainty that after being betrayed, forsaken, denied, abandoned, arrested, falsely accused and condemned, maligned, ridiculed, spit upon, tortured, and beaten to the last reserves of His strength (cf. Is.53), our Lord was nailed to a cross for us, saw with His own eyes the loss of everything He had in His humanity as they gambled away His clothes and earthly possessions, and then, after ministering truth and grace in His words on the cross, He went into the darkness for us (Lk.23:44), was "made sin for us" (2Cor.5:21), "bore our sins in His body on the tree" (1Pet.2:24), and was "forsaken" for us (Matt.27:46), that we might be forgiven and might move from death to life because He gave up His life unto death for us. We cannot know the depths of the suffering that He endured in the darkness on the cross as He bore the sins of the world, your sins and mine, but we know that when it was over He proclaimed "tetelestai", "it is finished", for with those words the entire plan of God was complete: Man who had been created to answer creature rebellion had been saved and made one with God forever (for all who choose Him), and the entire universal rift that had been started eons ago by the evil one had been made whole and right in principal. Now we only wait for God's good timing when all things will be put under Christ's feet, and the final end when He hands over the kingdom to the Father so that God will finally be "all in all" (1Cor.15:28). I understand that this a far-ranging answer, but who Jesus is and what He did for us on the cross is at the center of everything we believe, of all that we are, and of all that God has ever done and will ever do in the world.

4) "is the only reason for Man's existence the devil and his actions?": I would put it this way: God knows the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end. He never reacts. He knew every possibility of everything in the universe down to the nano-microscopic level before He even created the universe. He is complete control, and, indeed, the cosmos only holds together because He does not let go (Col.1:17; Heb.1:3). One of the main things that unbelievers (or weak believers) often fail to appreciate is the utter magnitude of God (see BB #1 "Theology"). Whether we are talking about His power, or His knowledge, or His size, or His love, or His goodness, or His grace, He and all He is defies comprehension to an infinite degree. The way creature history plays out from beginning to end, for man and angel alike, is exactly according to God's plan. Man is not a reaction or a mistake. Jesus is the pivot of history (cf. Heb.9:26), for only by His becoming an integral part of the world could we ever, would we ever as creatures truly be an eternal part of Him (cf. 2Pet.1:4). Jesus took on human flesh and is forever human as well as divine, God and Man in one unique Person forever - and we share all that He is through faith in Him as His bride to be! He was not an accident or an afterthought, for "all things were created for Him and by Him" who is the firstborn of all creation (Col.1:16-20). So I would say it the other way around - the Lord could not have justly created the angels including Satan without first having planned to create Man, and He could not have justly planned to create Man without having first planned and committed to have His own dear Son our Lord Jesus Christ come into the world to save sinful mankind by sacrificing Himself unto death. For creating creatures with free will, whether angels or men, guaranteed that some would misuse that freedom to rebel against the very One who gave them life. In this the wonder and the depth of the love of God for us is truly breath-taking. You can find out more about all this at the following links:

        God's Replacement for Satan (in BB 2A: Angelology)

        The purpose of Man (in Part 3 of Satanic Rebellion)

God's Plan to Save You (in BB 4B: Soteriology)

I hope you will find this answer useful. Please feel free to write me back for clarification or if you have other questions.

May the Lord bless you in spiritual growth and production for great reward on that day of days.

In our Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

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