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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

It all started way back when…when angels first appeared on the scene.  Created in perfect splendor and brilliance, they reflected their Creator.  That first gathering must have been an awesome experience, and will probably, in my estimation, never be equaled or duplicated in quality again.  Angels of perfection met with their Creator, and not a sound of discontent was found anywhere.  What an atmosphere!  Human beings can only imagine the magnitude of that assembly.  But something happened that quickly changed the celebration.  Peace, tranquility and satisfaction were being disrupted by one of the angels.  The personality known as Lucifer was the first to notice something significant about himself.  He admired his beauty, his physic, and his ability to convince himself about his own character.  Lucifer had an “eye” problem in more ways than one. 

First was the way he saw his own brilliant character as being comparable if not even more grandeur than that of his Creator.  Also, the “looking glass reflection” told him his physic was far and above all other created angels.  He was the ‘shining star’ that deserved the respect and commendation of all of the other angels.  In short, Lucifer was stuck on himself.  He had an “eye” problem as well as an “I” problem!

The prophet Isaiah says it accurately:
How you have fallen from heaven, O Morning star, son of the dawn!  You have been cast down to the earth, you who have laid low the nations!  You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

Isaiah 14:12-14

Lucifer’s “I will…” caused his exit from Heaven, as that kind of spoken language has no place in Heaven, nor does it have a place in planet Earth either.  For any angel or any human being to claim to have abilities equal to our Creator is insane.  If that was or could be the case, then there is and would be no need for God. 

The “eye” Problem.

The pride of personal beauty and excellence proved to be Lucifer’s downfall and down he went, from the courts of Heaven to planet Earth.  Admiring himself while relying on his own achievements, and looking at himself in place of his Creator caused separation between God and Lucifer.  Along with his angelic followers, Lucifer took up residence among the inhabitants of planet Earth, and his influence has progressed immensely since the days of the Garden of Eden.  Lucifer has sought to transfer his “eye” problem to the human race.  Has he done a good job?  I tend to believe so!

The “I” Problem.
The “I” in the middle of two words identifies the human problem equally with the angelic problem: 

L I E   and   S I N.

With the introduction of the “I” problem by Lucifer to the human race, the influence caused by it has not diminished over the period of hundreds and thousands of years.  It can be readily seen in our world today how the intensity of telling a lie and of sinning have affected the human race and society as a whole.  This is seen especially in the realm of the religious community where Jesus announced its presence and at the same time pronounced its effect.  It was Satan, the devil, whom Jesus called “a liar and the father of lies; he was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth.”  John 8:44.

Jesus is described in Rev. 13:8 as “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.”  What does that really mean?  How could Jesus be slain at the beginning of time?  Do the lies of Lucifer have anything to do with this slaying?  Is it possible a person can be slain by words, words that lie about that person’s character?  Could this be how Lucifer convinced his followers to follow him and not follow Christ?  Could his lies be the root cause of sin?  Didn’t Lucifer want to replace Jesus as Creator and insert himself on the throne of the Universe?  Lucifer, of course, became Satan the devil, the one seeking to secure the minds of his followers with lies and falsehoods about God.

The Apostle Paul wrote these words:
“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.  He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” 2 Thess. 2:3, 4

The extent of Satan’s tactics cannot be over-emphasized.  The deceiver will use every method at his disposal to portray God as the one to be afraid of, and at the same time make his own agenda seem plausible and correct.  Satan’s deceptions are not to be taken lightly as they are “displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.  They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” 2 Thess. 2:9-12.

The above Biblical quote is powerful stuff.  Imagine, the religious community delving into counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, all kinds of evils, and rejecting truth, and  because of that, God sends the delusion so that the lie is believed in place of the truth.  What is the lie?  Is it the same one told to Adam and Eve in the Garden by the serpent: “You will not surely die?”  What is the truth?  Is what God said: “When you eat of it, you will surely die” the truth?

Question:

Is it possible that the “I” has found its way into parts of today’s religious communities, that it can be readily seen with the “eye?  What would be its claims that all could see?  Would counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders be visible?  Would the claims made by those religious communities be acclaimed as authentic statements from God and authorized by him?

The Claims of “I”:

I’ve been saved!
I know I’ve been born again!
I know that when I die I’m going to Heaven!
I know that Grandma and Grandpa are in Heaven with the Lord!
I can read my own heart and I can read the hearts of others!
I know that I will live eternally with God!
I know that those not in Heaven will live in the flames of hell for all eternity!

Do the above statements concerning “I” take the place of God?  Do they eliminate the need for God?  Are these statements or similar claims repeated over and over by people who outwardly profess their spiritual condition?  Are these claims any different than those found in Isaiah 14 quoted above?

Assurance of Salvation.

What ideal assurance would assure you of your own personal salvation?  What kind of assurance that God could send from Heaven would lead you to say:  “Good!  I have peace at last; I know I will be saved!”

  1. An envelope arrives in the mail box with your name on it.  Inside the short note reads: “You will be saved!” Signed, God.
  2. While lying in bed tonight, a voice from Heaven says: “You will be saved!”
  3. An unexpected but timely call on your cellular phone from God says: “You will be saved!”
  4. From out of nowhere an email arrives on your computer.  You open it, and the words: “You will be saved!” are written in it.
  5. Studying in your home, a piece of paper floats down directly from Heaven with your name on it.  “You will be saved!”

Within today’s religious community there seems to be an abundance of “I’ve been saved” people who are more than willing to expound their belief that they have “been saved” upon anyone who will listen to them.  It almost comes to the point that they are bragging about their perceived condition, and even though they are sincere about that condition and are even willing to share their method of attaining that condition with others, it all is still just a claim on their part.  Being able to read your own heart and/or the hearts of others is not within the capability of human beings.  Better to leave that knowledge to the One who knows us all better than we think we know ourselves  -  God.

Should our assurance be that only God knows the true intent of our hearts?  As much as we want to think highly of ourselves and highly of friends, acquaintances, and loved ones in regard to their spiritual condition, we would surely arrive at a biased conclusion that has no means to provide substantial evidence to back up the claim.  Reading the true intentions and thoughts of the heart belongs to God, and it is he, and not us, who has that knowledge to know so, and it is also his responsibility to do so.  He alone knows the heart.  All he asks is that we trust him that he does know. 
For the person who believes he can read his own heart, could that be the spirit of anti-Christ?  Is the person who usurps God’s authority and claims to have the same ability as God the one that Paul writes about  -  the man of lawlessness?  It is repeated again at this time to provide added emphasis:
“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.  He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” 2 Thess. 2:3, 4

Perhaps the old adage: “A man is his own worst enemy” applies to this situation.  In our own eyes we may perceive ourselves and others as worthy of being in God’s presence for all eternity, but in so doing we have relied on a biased opinion of ourselves and others.  If we think we have done all the necessary acts of kindness to others, that we have witnessed to others for God, that we have completed the criteria for sainthood, that we have manifested a spirit of generosity and selflessness, that we have attained a status with God that is pleasing to him, that we have reached the top of the mountain and are complete; if that is the case, we had better realize our folly and place ourselves in the hands of an all-knowing God who asks us to trust him.  Always remember Peter!  God knows our true character, and as much as we try to demonstrate to him our own “goodness,” if we conclude that we have been “saved,” that we’ve been ‘born again,” we have opted out for the unrealistic and the impossible instead by doing so.  In essence, we’ve bought into Satan’s itinerary.  In place of that, forget about our own intelligence and trusting in our own personal beliefs about self.  Trust in God’s ability and knowledge about each of us instead.

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