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Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Mystery Satan Did Not Know

Satan presumed to know what he did not know. Satan’s first appearance in the scriptures was to reveal himself as a liar. He lied to Adam and Eve about the truth God had told them. God had told them they would die on the day they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Satan thought God did not want the man and woman to become like him. Yet, that is precisely (and not to God’s surprise) what happened. God said, Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:22)

What Satan did not know was what God had already purposed and chosen since before the foundation of the world. The apostle Paul spelled it out in the first chapter of Ephesians. This mystery, unknown to Satan, was according to the good pleasure of God. What was that mystery?

Paul’s explanation of this mystery in Ephesians (1:9) was that it was per the desire (1:5) and will (1:9) of God. It was in accordance with God’s good pleasure. It was his good pleasure to adopt children unto himself through faith in Christ Jesus.

The language Paul uses is reminiscent of Satan’s lie to Adam and Eve: Your eyes will be open. (Genesis 3:5) While Eve TOOK and gave some of the fruit to her husband Paul’s prayer language is that, the Father of glory, may GIVE to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of [Christ]; (v. 17)

And

having the EYES of your hearts ENLIGHTENED, that you may KNOW what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, (1:18)

God GAVE us the favor of being blessed with every spiritual blessing in the Beloved, that is, Jesus. This was even before the foundation of the world. We COULD NOT have TAKEN it even if we had wanted, but he GAVE it freely.

The lie Satan spoke was exposed. Adam and Eve did die. The initial death, that is their spiritual separation from God, eventually manifested itself in their physical death when the breath of life left their bodies. What does a liar do when his lie is exposed? He changes it. Satan's lie is well known today. It is the belief held by those ignorant and mistaken that death is final. It is for this reason that Paul continues his message in Ephesians:

and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might 20 which he worked in Christ, when he RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD. (1:19, 20)

Although Satan knew God as creator he did not know the exceeding greatness of his power. Satan learned of God's power over death. When God himself put on a human suit and triumphed over death, as he said he would, Satan changed his lie again.

Those who submit to the one who sits far above all rule, authority and power, and dominion (v. 21) are those who at one time were unenlightened and without hope. The mystery, Paul explains, is that God purposed in accordance with his own good pleasure to call those who were without hope in life. Now, having believed in the historicity and reality of the power of the resurrection of Jesus they are called to make known life and love in the Son.