"This Life Is Everything"
From Satan's Ten Most Believable Lies
What is life all about? One of the most elaborate discussions in all of literature centered around this most relevant question is found in the book of Job. Like each of us today, Job, his wife, and their philosopher friends were people looking for answers.
Job had participated in all the joys and sorrows that can come to an individual through human experience. He knew about family life, personal riches, fulfillment, and all that the world could offer. Personal tragedy and the loss of all things followed those green years, precipitating the discussion that we find in this most exciting book of the Old Testament. The book of Job is the great treatise in the Bible that seeks for meaning in human experience. The discussion in the book of Job was caused by the heavenly scene where Satan pressed his sixth doctrine before the throne of God. Satans sixth doctrine is the pernicious suggestion that this life is everything.
The biblical account as to how all of this took place is frightening as well as thrilling.
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? And still he holdest fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the Lord, and Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. (Job 2:1-8)
Jobs friends, when they heard of the great evil that had come upon Job, gathered to try to find a reason, an interpretation of the events of his life.
One of the primary messages of this Old Testament masterpiece is the lesson that experiences by themselves teach us nothing. We can never be sure, merely from the knowledge that comes to us by experience, that at any given moment we are being blessed or cursed of God. There is no event in our lives and no related joy or sorrow that can tell us by itself whether there is any meaning to life or any reason for the concerns of this moment. Knowing this, Job and his friends talk together about that most important question. What is the meaning of life? Life is something deeper than experiences themselves. The physical event can only be understood when the spiritual event related to it becomes apparent.
This fact of life often escapes us. Too many people point to physical events in their lives and the experiences that they produce as proving something about God and spiritual reality. This is most dangerous thinking. All physical events, all emotions, all experiences are strictly limited to the human level. None of these events have meaning in themselves. They can become meaningful to us only if we have some kind of insight from God. They can be understood only when we are able to view the heavenly scene.
We could not have understood the reason for the experience of Job, were we not given the opportunity of looking into heaven and viewing the scene before the throne of his Father. We probably would have agreed that surely God had forsaken Job. Even the conversations of the book of Job itself answer few of the questions that are posted in this philosophic discussion. Most of these questions go unanswered in the Old Testament. They are only answered by Christ in the New Testament when he brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. The reasonings of the philosophers do not answer the problems of men. The Word of God gives us the only possible solution to questions posed as to the meaning of life.
The primary question in the book of Job really centers on the basic concern of all philosophy, namely, Do the events of life have a meaning that is larger than life itself? Is there something more basic than what seems apparent and understandable to our finite minds? Does reality have a deeper nature than what we can see with our eyes? Is there a life that is more important than this physical existence? Does an understanding of that life explain and unravel the problems of this one? Satan would have us believe that the answer is no! According to his doctrine this life is everything.
The true answer is just the opposite. It is, yes, a thousand times, yes! In denying the existence of a life more primary and more important than this, Satan reveals his sixth doctrine, This life is everything. This satanic subversion is summed up in his words, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face (Job 2:4-5).
What a statement! Here Satan is delivering his lowest, most demeaning insult to humanity, which was made in the image of God. He says that man has no divine likeness and insists that he will esteem his physical life as the treasure most worth preserving. He suggests that man will give up his money, betray his friends, sell his soul, and throw away his integrity if, in the process, he can preserve his life. Integrity is an important word. Jobs wife understood some of the issues in speaking with him, saying, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die (Job 2:9).
Let us consider this satanic doctrine that physical life is the highest good and that every moral and spiritual value is to be sacrificed for the preservation of human, animal existence. A moments reflection will remind us of how much of our modern world is built on the satanic assumption of the all-importance of physical life and the things pertaining to it. Life must be preserved, indulged, made comfortable, exalted, and even worshiped! This is the basic proposition that prevails as the undergirding of modern thought and action. Here is materialism at its fullest flower. Man is merely atoms and molecules; he has no continuing existence. The preservation of this life, therefore, even though it demands the sacrifice of all other values, is the only wise course for the individual to follow.
Is this philosophy practiced in our day? Indeed it is. Many seemingly sincere people announce the first principle of their thinking that life must be preserved at all costs. By this, they mean that physical existence is all there is and therefore obviously the thing most worth saving. They become ecologists, politicians, demonstrators, naturalists, yogas, gurus, or simply preoccupied with this life as if there were no other. They lend their time and talent to this worlds legitimate and illegitimate professions. Together, they have built this vast edifice called society, a remarkable organism that is beautiful to behold, externally attractive but internally corrupt. Its corruption is implicit in its basic assumption, namely that final value is found in this human existence. Almost all magazines, books, professions, institutions, and activities are dedicated to the principle that this life is the only life we know or can know. Materialism is the name for all of this, and materialism is the religion of this world. Another of its names is humanism. Satan is the founder of that faith.
Make no mistake about it. Materialism is not just another possible point of view, but a most deadly philosophy that can issue in murderous activity. When one is a materialist and interprets every value according to the constricted logic of this human life, he can say with the Communists that man is merely a human animal; he is atoms in motion. He has no value except in terms of his relationship with society, and all truth, all purpose, is measured as practical or impractical in terms of its value to society. Millions have been murdered in the name of this philosophy, and millions more will be swept from the face of the earth by this religion called materialism. While professing interest in man, materialism is really willing to destroy man in order to save mankind.
It is somewhat surprising that in the face of this philosophy, we have so many activities, which seem damaging to this life, which we hold to be of such value. The rising practice and acceptance of abortion is a good illustration of one of the twisted values of humanism. In the last ten years, 20 percent of Americas innocent unborn died at the hand of the abortionist. Statistics report 40 million annual abortions worldwide.
Why did those children die? They died because of this generations godless ideologyhumanism. When the humanist says this life is everything, he means this moment, this hour of life. He does not consider the perpetuation of life into future generations. When an issue becomes unpleasant or inconvenient, it is made to disappear, whatever the cost in the future.
Another interesting corollary to total materialism in our world is the rise of suicide. If this life is the final and highest good, then when it becomes finally intolerable, it is perfectly logical (from one point of view) to end it. Such was the reasoning of the sixty-five-year-old former movie star who took his own life, saying, I am totally bored with everything about life, and there is nothing left for me to live for.
Jobs wife, being a materialist, gave him exactly this advice. She said, Curse God, and die "(Job 2:9). How wonderful that we have the perceptive answer of that faithful man of God. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips (Job 2:10). Here is one of the great statement in all of the Bible. Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? With these words, Job is expressing his profound faith in the goodness of God, which faith is largely not told even by the religious movements of our generation.
Millions of untutored followers of Jesus Christ have come to believe the philosophy, rejected by Job and all of his faithful heirs, that blessing always takes the form of good and pleasurable things, and never things that are inconvenient or painful. Surely Job would have been sickened at the emphasis of some today who would have us believe that only good things happen to us because we are followers of God. The religion that preaches that physical and material benefits are always the result of faith may be fascinating to the naive, but it is not the religion of the Bible. This argument usually comes from the fantasies of those who have deceived themselves and who would in turn deceive us.
The reason, of course, for the success of such deceivers is the fact that this satanic suggestion that this life is everything is believed by many. Almost everyone, as Satan suggested, will give all that he has for his life. The average individual can be counted upon to sacrifice treasure and even integrity for the promise of additional, comfortable years in this physical life. The almost truth of this doctrine of the devil is the promotional base that has made possible the cynical extraction of millions of dollars to exchange for false hope from many of the naive.
We may expect that this activity will increase. Since we have moved from the age of faith and the age of reason into the age of sight, we can expect that there will now break upon us the age of fantasy. When we begin believing in the final truth of that which we can see with our eyes, we are preparing ourselves for the deceivers who are planning to enrich themselves by exploiting us. Since we have redefined faith as now meaning that state of mind that always produces good things, we have laid ourselves open to the exploits of the religious magicians and charlatans.
How tragic this tempting satanic doctrine has been for faithful people who have lived reliable, spiritual lives through most of their time in this world. They have enjoyed the blessing of God in sickness and in health; through prosperity and adversity, they have been faithful to the teaching of Scripture and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Alas, then comes the final test. They are informed that they have an incurable disease for which no human remedy is known. A subtle new thought is introduced into their minds. They tell themselves, Maybe it is just possible that the local or international miracle-worker can indeed produce a miracle and give me additional years of life. This thought produces hope, and hope surges into fantasy, and, but for the sobering presence of the Holy Spirit, they chase off to a gathering in pursuit of the nonsense that physical life is eternally preservable. Through anxiety, desperation, and increasing impoverishment, they are cleverly led to expect a miracle. They become living illustrations of the almost truth of the devils doctrine that everything that a person possesses he will give for his life.
Scriptural knowledge and good sense are cast aside, and the fool that lurks within us takes over. There is no verse in the Bible, that, properly understood, guarantees a formula for certain healing or a predictable miracle. Not until Jesus Christ comes again will the bondage of corruption be lifted from suffering humanity. In the meantime, the wise Christian will learn to rest in the Lord and to trust that there is a scene in heaven that perfectly explains his present adversity. Weak faith looks for a miracle. Settled and biblical faith rests in the Lord, affirming, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. It is settled faith that retains its integrity.
Must we go along with the satanic doctrine that all a man hath will he give for his life? The answer is no! Have there not been people who have been faithful unto death and who have never allowed their extreme physical circumstances to cause them to foolishly deny the faith that has supported them through life? Happily, the answer is yes. Saints down through history have proved by their faithfulness unto death that Satan is a liar. They have not given in to cynicism and despair in what they assumed to be the final pressures of this life. The father of all of these is Job. As an affirmation of his faith, he gives us one of the most marvelous statements of faith found in the Bible. It is Jobs earnest affirmation of his utter confidence in the character of God. The pinnacle of all statements of confidence in God are the words of Job, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.
Job understands faith in its correct sense. To him, faith is that confidence in the wisdom, justice, and love of God that is not to be forsaken, even in the most adverse circumstances. Job was confident that the plan of God was constantly working on his behalf, even though he himself would not be delivered from what appears to be personal tragedy or physical death. His sense of the providence of God correctly concluded that the cooperating events of life or the absence of such events proved nothing as to the love and justice of God. Job must have sensed that there was a heavenly scene that could explain earthly events, and he knew that he would one day step into that heavenly scene. Faith sees the things that are invisible and is not so foolish as to demand that they become immediately visible. Faith is confident in heaven to come, and to faith, it is eternal life that makes this life explainable.
Implicit within this sixth satanic doctrine is the dismaying suggestion that there is no eternal life. Satan can greatly enhance the attractiveness of his doctrine that this life is everything, if he can lead us to believe that death is the end of existence and there is no possibility of a happy eternity with our heavenly Father. He has surely been devilishly active in putting the emphasis of modern philosophyand even religious thoughtupon this present world, to the point that millions doubt the reality of eternity. Our age has, as a result, become so worldly minded that any discussion of a life beyond this is considered quite ridiculous. When youre dead, youre dead is the philosophy of modern man. He refuses to discuss any alternate view, holding that there is no certainty about eternity.
Man therefore continues his desperate struggle to produce a utopia in this world, believing that his future on earth is the only future that there is. The materialists would have us believe that it is possible to create a perfect world. They refuse to remember that such plans have always failed. They also neglect to remind us that, even if a utopia were possible, we must still die and lose it all.
The preaching of this message and its related doctrines is one of Satans clever activities. If we believe that this life is everything and that there is no eternity, we find ourselves in a trap. Experience teaches us that we lose this life, and if false doctrine also teaches us that there is no eternity, we must, if we are rational, be pressed to the point of despair. Despair is a great sin, and in producing it, Satan will have triumphed in our lives.
Is this life really everything? Is there real life beyond? Philosophy cannot answer these questions. No philosopher has ever given so much as one paragraph that answers the question, If a man die, shall he live again? The answers to the questions of eternity are only available to us from the Bible.
From those sacred pages, we see that eternity is so real and this life so transient that the Scripture says to the Christian, If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable (1 Corinthians 15:19). In the same passage, Paul declares that there is eternal life because Christ is risen from the dead and promises us that if we believe in Him, we shall rise from the dead as well. He promises a wonderful transformation on that occasion, declaring that the life to come will be infinitely better than the life that we know in this world.
Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:51-57)
In many other places, the Bible gloriously affirms that there is life beyond this. In fact, the resurrection and the life hereafter become one of the grand themes of the Word of God. Jesus said, Because I live, ye shall live also (John 14:19). Paul talks about leaving this life, saying that he has a desire to depart, and to be with Christ (Philippians 1:23). He also says, Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20). Again and again, the New Testament affirms the life beyond this. Finally, the Revelation states in a hundred ways the fact and the details of the heaven that awaits us when we believe Jesus Christ.
When we forget the sound doctrine of the certainty of heaven, we tend more quickly to make ourselves vulnerable to the satanic heresy that there is no eternal life. We therefore see the wisdom of Pauls admonition to set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2). Satan has the greater difficulty subverting the Christian who has his eyes fixed upon his eternal destiny.
The church will be better able to survive the assault of satanic doctrine when it remembers that its ultimate destiny is in the reality of heaven. The question asked by Jobs wife is relevant to the church and individual Christians today: Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Have we sold out in any degree to the doctrine of the devil? Has the object of our affection moved from eternity to time, from things that are spiritual to things that are material? Integrity is an important thing, and doctrinal integrity is the most important of all. Scripture teaches that integrity is worth more than life. Integrity, truth, and the righteousness of God are the very substance of the universe. Satanic theology insists that this point of view is foolish, but satanic theology will end in the same lake of fire that has long been prepared for the devil and his angels.
Has satanic doctrine infected the church in our day? Every fact and every proposition that is not true, even though it be believed in the most holy circles is another ounce of leverage Satan can use against us. Satans greatest work is not in demon possession or witchcraft. It is the introduction of false doctrine into the thinking of Christians, as a result of which they are rendered spiritually impotent.
The church of Christ is impotent to the precise degree that it has allowed the subversive doctrines of Satan rather than the truth of God to be the rule for its faith or practice. Satans deadliest work is the production of false doctrine. The doctrine that Satan pushes that is perhaps the most false and nearly the most deadly is the idea that his human life is worth the sacrifice of all else.
Many things in the world are worth dying for: truth, integrity, and sound doctrine. When we no longer believe this, then the remainder of what we do believe is not worth believing.
Satan's Ten Most Believable Lies