Fountations of faith
Are Your Tenets of Faith Intact?
By Hannah Goodwyn
There are only a few basic tenets of the Christian faith that are the foundation of our belief in God. Included in these nonnegotiable truths is the belief in the existence of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice and resurrection for our sin. The reality of God and Christ is also connected in an acknowledgement of the reality of the evil one, Satan, and the Holy Spirit.
Satan: The Father of Lies
How a follower of Christ can ignore the existence of Satan is beyond me. Yet, that’s what many have done, according to research findings published by The Barna Group.
Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective… 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan. (The Barna Group)
This mindset gives way to second guessing God’s Word entirely. If there is no real Satan, then there probably isn’t a Hell, or maybe it’s not as bad as the “fire and brimstone” preachers make it out to be. What’s interesting is that while most don’t believe Satan is an actual being, The Barna Group found that most Christians, 64% to be exact, believe that a person can be under the influence of evil spiritual forces.
The Bible is clear about the reality of Satan, a true being who despises God, Jesus, and those who follow Him. Satan, also known as "the prince of this world" (John 12:31), is not just a symbol of darkness. In fact, he’s called the evil one in Matthew 13:19, and rules over his own kingdom (12:26).
The following scriptures not only imply the existence of Satan as “flesh and bone” real, but offer accounts that show he is much more than just an “evil presence”.
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41 (New International Version)
Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. Revelation 12:7-9 (New Living Translation)
Luke records, Jesus saying that he “saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18).
The fact that a majority of American Christians don’t truly believe in the reality of Satan, as a being, is concerning because if we as followers of Christ are ignorant of his very existence then we are unprepared to discern his presence. The following verse from II Corinthians acts as a warning, that I’m not sure those in the pews of the American Church are taking seriously at the moment.
“Even Satan can disguise himself to look like an angel of light.” (II Cor.11: 14)
We must accept the devil's existence and then work with God, who has all power and authority, against him.
“Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Be firm in your faith and resist him.” (1 Peter 5: 8-9)
The Holy Spirit: God with Us
The Barna Group’s statistics regarding the beliefs of American Christians in regards to Holy Spirit is equally unnerving.
Overall, 38% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence, but is not a living entity.” (The Barna Group)
The Holy Spirit is one-third of our triune God (God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit). He is more than an abstract concept or moral conscience. The scripture speaks for itself in this regard.
One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.” Luke 3:21-22 (New Living Translation)
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. John 16:13-14 (New Living Translation)
The Bible describes God’s Spirit as a being who helps and intercedes for us (Romans 8:26), loves (Romans 15:30), discerns between right and wrong (Acts 15:28), and more. The Spirit, like God and Jesus, is a true being, a comforter and a counselor to God’s people.
The reality is Satan would love to discredit himself, make Christ’s followers ignore his existence and the reality of the Holy Spirit. The Truth is quite the contrary. The devil is a real being. The good news is that after Jesus ascended to Heaven, He sent us the Holy Spirit, a more powerful being than that of the defeated Satan (John 14:15-20).
Hannah Goodwyn serves as a producer for the Family and Entertainment sections of CBN.com. For more articles and info, visit Hannah's bio page.
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