Dr. S. Lewis Johnson continues his series on angelology with a focus on the exact nature of sin and its origination in the fall of Satan.
Now tonight we are going to continue our series of studies in angelology and the subject is “What is Sin? Or the Nature of Sin in Satan.” Today Americans are pondering — perhaps as never before — the supreme mystery of human existence. And the supreme mystery of human existence is death. There is a resurgence of astrology and spiritism, and it is important that we know what the Bible teaches on such subjects.
Now my newspaper also has its section on Sunday, too, and it is this week. However, this is not from this week, this is again from Parade I noticed, I thought it was from this week. I was getting ready to brag on my Sunday paper. But in the course of an article entitled “Astrology Boom: the Sky’s the Limit.” Linda Gutstein says, “Go see the astrologist.” Why because last year Americans spent at least one hundred million on this ancient art of divination. The basic idea is that the movement of the heavenly bodies can foretell the path of a person’s life. In addition, twelve hundred newspapers print daily horoscopes, fashion magazines run popular columns. Dell publishing companies sales of horoscopes pocket books have soared, well, astronomically from a million in 1962 to eight million in 1968.
We are living in the age of divination in the United States because people are disturbed about death and about the future and many I believe who never would have thought about reading a horoscope are reading horoscopes. And many who would never think of going to a fortuneteller or attending a séance by a medium are now doing just that very thing. A few years ago — in fact not even that long — just about a year ago there was an article in Christianity Today on the resurgence of Spiritism. And it was written by the president of the New York Theological Seminary, who was a very well known preacher, John Sutherland Bonnell. And Dr. Bonnell in this article speaks about the resurgence of spiritism and goes on to say that he himself has had something to do with an investigation of it. He first of all says a few things about the Witch of Enda and some of the biblical background, and of course, in the Bible there are some very strong warnings against spiritism. He says that the Hebrew word used to describe the witch is the Hebrew word Oov and that word describes the sound of a voice spoken into an empty wineskin.
Today we might say into an empty rain barrel. It was hollow, mysterious and unearthly, and you remember that Isaiah in the eighth chapter spoke about the wizards that peep and mutter. And then last time in our Isaiah study in chapter 29 we saw in the fourth verse that there God through the prophets speaks about the fact that they say that God speaks out of the ground low. And I commented upon the fact that that was the speech of a false prophet or a medium and not a true.
Well Dr. Bonnell goes on to say that spiritism became a vogue in Britain and it is now become quite popular in the United States but that he had some interesting experience in Western Canada in connection with it, and I’d like to read you a paragraph because its — I think sort of interesting and somewhat humorous too. “Early in 1930 a number of professional people attempted to conduct a scientific investigation of spiritism. The leader was Dr. Teaglen Hamilton, a well-known physician of Western Canada. I was invited to participate in these scientific studies and for four months, once a week and with one or the other of the two groups, the investigators and the practitioners, fourteen sealed cameras were placed in the séance room, all were triggered to take simultaneous pictures from different angles. Many pictures showed masses of ectoplasm proceeding from one or more of the three mediums.
“But my suspicions were sharply aroused when on examining one of the pictures I noticed that a large piece of ectoplasm in which a face showed plainly had cast a shadow on the wall when the flash bulbs ignited. That gave the game away, spirits are not spirits if they cast shadows; they are substance or matter (and by the way I would like to suggest to you in case you see a ghost be sure and notice if it casts a shadow, and if it casts a shadow there’s no need to be worried).”
But then he goes on to say, “But the climax of disillusionment came when I was given the privilege of shaking hands with that great Bible preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon [laughter] who had been dead for many years. Of course this was by means of the mediums hand. The identity of the great preacher became dubious when in conversation with him. I found he had considerable difficulty naming in order the four gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John [Laughter, Johnson laughs].” So in case you run across Mr. Spurgeon be sure and ask him to name the four gospels, too. And that’ll give you some clue about the genuineness of it.
Well now let’s turn seriously to our topic tonight: The Nature of sin in Satan. And remember we have learned these things so far just quickly. Point One: that Satan exists and that to deny it leads to blasphemy of Jesus Christ, logically. Because Jesus Christ said that he was tempted by Satan. If he was not tempted by someone without him, but someone within him, then he is not the sinless Son of God. Secondly, that Satan has a personality or has personality. He is not a force only, nor an influence only, though of course he is a force and he is an influence. Thirdly, that Satan is a created spiritual and heavenly being. Fourth, that Satan was created a spirit being of great moral and spiritual beauty. Fifth, that Satan was given great authority in God’s creation. That he was something like a priest and mediator of the angelic host. And sixthly, that there was only one will in the creation, God’s will. And that Satan was originally subject to God. So that until iniquity was found in Satan there was just one will in the universe. That was God’s will. And, finally that the first sin was not Adam’s sin, but Satan’s sin.
Now what was Satan’s sin? What is its character? And that’s the question we want to deal with tonight and so will you turn in your Bibles to the Book of Isaiah chapter 14. Now this is a passage we studied last term in the fall in our series of studies in Isaiah. But we come again to it because it is the great chapter on the nature of sin in Satan. So turn to Isaiah chapter 14 and let me read the first seventeen verses of the chapter.
“For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob and will yet choose Israel and set them in their own land and the sojourner shall be joined with them and they shall cling to the house of Jacob and the people shall take them and bring them to their place and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids and they shall take them captives whose captives they were and they shall rule over their oppressors and it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow and from thy fear and from the hard bondage in which thou was made to serve but thou shall take up this proverb against the King of Babylon and say, How hath the oppressor ceased? The golden city ceased (or the place of torture that has been rendered rather, than the golden city). The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked and the scepter of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he who ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and nonhindereth. The whole earth is at rest and is quiet they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou are laid down, no huer is come up against us. Sheol from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become as weak as we? Art thou become like unto us? Thy, pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the noise of thy lutes: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shall be brought down to Sheol, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, is this man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?”
Roman I in the outline is: Isaiah 14 and the doctrine of Satan.
Now again as I said last week — but we were studying Ezekiel chapter 28 in which we have the first reference to the sin of Satan. What we say about Isaiah 14 will not really affect our theology very much if for example it could be proved that Isaiah 14, verses 12 through 15 has no reference to Satan at all but is simply a poetical way of referring to the kingdom of Babylon. Our doctrine of Satan would not be much affected by it. On the other hand if this is a reference to Satan and God intends that we understand it that way then we have a great deal more information about the nature of the sin of Satan than we would have otherwise. We would know the character of his sin and we would know most of the details of it from other scattered references in the word of God. But if this is a reference to Satan then we have a great deal of information that is of tremendous value to us. But does the passage refer to Satan? I think it does and for these reasons.
Now just as in Isaiah chapter 28, the language of the verses in this section — even if they are poetical — can hardly be confined to a man upon the earth. Now let’s just take those verses 12, 13, and 14 again and look at them. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cast down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”
Now if this were a reference to the King of Babylon how should we understand the statement, “How art thou fallen from heaven, Lucifer son of the morning? Thou hast said in thy heart I will ascend into heaven I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High”?
Well, now a man who is — as I said last time — not playing with a full deck would never say anything like this. This is just utterly stupid if we refer this just to a man. It seems to me that while I grant this is poetical language, it goes far beyond a local earthly King of Babylon and consequently it seems to me that we must move to the spirit who animates that king. And that spirit of course is Satan. And then another thing, this literary method of beginning with a historic person and then going beyond the historic person who is in the foreground to another distant person who is in the background, the antitype is characteristic of holy Scripture and it is particularly characteristic of the Old Testament.
Now very frequently in the Old Testament the author whether prophet or whether psalmist as David or even as Moses may speak of a local incident, but against the background of that local incident he uses terms that cannot completely apply to us. Guided by the spirit of God his words are such that they ultimately find their fulfillment in someone who is to come.
Now I gave you several illustrations last time. We’re going to have a good one when we get to the fortieth chapter of the book of Isaiah. Because in the fortieth chapter of Isaiah we have reference to John the Baptist in the opening verses and yet they are written against the background of a local historical situation and the striking thing about these verses is that they not only refer to the situation in the immediate future and then to John the Baptist, but we shall see in that context that they ultimately look on far beyond John the Baptist to the time of the Kingdom of God upon the earth.
So it is not uncommon in the Bible for it to speak of a local situation but for the language to be such that it goes beyond that local situation. That is a well-known and well-recognized literary method and we have it in Scripture and it seems to me that this is just the thing that we have here. For we have the historic King of Babylon in the foreground but in the background we go far beyond that historic King of Babylon to the ultimate King of Babylon who shall rule over the earth as the king, the antichrist and then we move back behind him to the spirit that dominates the antichrist and that is of course, according to the book of Revelation, the dragon or Satan. Furthermore, as I said last time, the Bible frequently addresses Satan through someone who is possessed by him.
Now we see this in Genesis chapter 3 in which Satan is addressed through the serpent. And if you have any doubts about that in Revelation chapter 12, verse 9 that old serpent is called Satan. And then remember the illustration I gave you of Peter being called Satan by our Lord.
Now of course our Lord knew that Peter was not Satan but he was addressing him in the light of the fact that by that remark that he made suggesting that Jesus not go to the cross. He was playing the heart of Satan and he was possessed by him in that statement. He was under his influence.
Now I do not believe that a believer can be possessed by a demon but I think they can be influenced by them. And our Lord recognized that and that’s why he spoke to Peter so sharply and called him Satan. So I think then Isaiah chapter 14 does have to do with Satan. It is a typical picture and against the background of the King of Babylon the Prophet Isaiah goes to the beginning of the sin that originated in Satan and describes what went on in his heart. So let’s move on to Roman II: The sin of Lucifer.
I listened to a tape by Bob Theme on Isaiah chapter 14 and chapter 13 sometime ago and you remember when I taught it in the fall I remarked that he said when he came to this chapter that this chapter is loaded. And Bob doesn’t often make understatements, but that is really an understatement because this chapter really is loaded with doctrine and if this is a reference to Satan, and I believe it is, we have some tremendously significant language about the evil one.
Now you’ll notice that the scene of Isaiah chapter 14 is laid at the time of the end when Satan shall have been bound after the fall of the city of Babylon in the future. In other words the prophet is taken by ecstatic, prophetic language and he has carried on into the distant future. In fact if I may just put it on the board this way — if this is the cross, and this is the church age, and this is the advent of our Lord after the seventieth week or the tribulation period it is at the second advent of the Lord Jesus that Satan remember, is bound.
Now you’ll read that in Revelation chapter 20 and if you will just take a look there for a moment to refresh your memory. Revelation chapter 20. Now Jesus Christ comes again to the earth and in chapter 19 of the Book of Revelation it is described in verses 11 through 16 and then let’s read beginning with verse 17 of chapter 19 on through chapter 20, verse 3.
“And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and enslaved, both small and great. And I saw the beast, now the beast is the King of Babylon. I saw the beast and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Now this is right at the time of the Second Advent.) And the remnant was slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse. That is our Lord, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, who is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
So now Isaiah is by prophetic vision carried on into the future to the time of the Second Advent when Satan is bound and he now comes into the underworld as a defeated character. And out of that background and from that vantage point this prophecy is given. That’s why we read in the third verse, “and it shall come to pass in that day when the Lord shall give thee Israel rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage in which thou was made to serve that thou should take up this proverb against the Kind of Babylon and say, ‘How hath the oppressor ceased, the Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked and the scepter of the rulers.’”
In other words when we come to this time in earthly history here then, Israel, which has been brought into by means of great tribulation into a knowledge of the Lord again and as a nation is prepared for the Kingdom of God which was promised to them by the prophets, then they’re going to sing a song and they’re going to sing a song about how God has overcome the evil one, or Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, and has cast him down into the abyss and all of those whom he has influenced down through the centuries are going to look at him and mock him because of what has happened to him by the power of God. So the prophet then is carried forward in the future to that time and this chapter is written from this vantage point.
Now in the course of it when we get to verse 12 we read — and here he goes beyond this King of Babylon to the devil himself and says, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer son of the morning?”
Now let’s stop for just a moment and I want to say a word about Lucifer. This word Lucifer is the translation of a Hebrew word heylel. If you’d like to put it in your notes to impress someone it would look like this — something like that, [writes on board] heylel. It comes from the Hebrew word halal, which means “to shine.”
Now Lucifer in Latin, remember comes from the word lux, which means light and thero, which means what? To bring, to bring, remember — oh you remember your principal parts don’t you? Thero, theri, tuli, lux — one of those irregular verbs in Latin remember? Two people in the audience remember.
Now Lucifer means, “light bearer.” The Hebrew word means, “shining one.” So here is a term by which the Prophet Isaiah speaks of that spirit that dominates the King of Babylon of the future who is the antichrist and he calls him Lucifer the shining one and he also calls him son of the morning or as the Hebrew puts it the son of dawn. He’s the morning star.
Now you can see from this that the dignity of Satan is set forth in the word. He is the bright shinning one and he’s the morning star. Almost as if it were to say that he is the great beautiful angelic being who stands right at the top of the angelic hierarchy, Lucifer, son of the morning. There is some evidence in Babylonian worship that the morning star under the name of Ishtar was worshipped. And of course in Nebuchadnezzar’s days of power and glory about which — or out of the background of –which Isaiah writes then this comparison of Lucifer with Ishtar or the morning star would be particularly appropriate. Then he says, “How art thou fallen from heaven?”
Now by this time, by the time of the Second Advent, Satan will have had at least three falls. First of all he would have fallen from the third heaven to the second heaven. For apparently Satan, as the bright and morning star, as the anointed cherub that covereth as we read in Ezekiel chapter 28, was a spirit being that had access to the throne of God, the third heaven. But by reason of his sin he fell.
Now in the Book of Revelation we read that during this period of time — the Great Tribulation — Satan is going to fall from the second heaven, the atmospheric heavens that we or the starry, or the stellar heaven is going to fall into the earth. Now that is described for us in Revelation chapter 12 if you want to read it. And the statement is made that at that time Satan falls out of the heavens into the earth, and he knows that he has just a short time left. And of course he persecutes the woman Israel and seeks to destroy her, but God helps the woman and delivers her. That’s the second fall from the second heaven into earth.
Now the third fall is the one that happens here — when he is bound and cast into the bottomless pit. So when we read here, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,” why he’s had three falls from the third, to the second, to earth, to the abyss. And so he has had quite a fall, fallen from heaven.
Now verse 13 says, “For thou hath said in thy heart.” This is the reason why he has fallen. Why he has been cut down to the ground. “For thou hath said in thy heart,” now here we are introduced to five tremendous statements each of which begins with “I will.” You’ve noticed this before, of course, many of you. Let’s just read it through again, just emphasizing the “I will.” “For thou hath said in thy heart ‘I will’ ascend into heaven, ‘I will’ exalt my throne above the stars of God. ‘I will’ sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north. ‘I will’ ascend above the heights of the clouds, ‘I will’ be like the most high. Five times Satan utters the words ‘I will.’”
Now you can see that one of the characteristics of sin is independence. You can tell that of course right on the surface. But it is possible that these five “I will” statements are designed to be progressive in character, moving in such a way that the last one is the greatest or worst looking at it from the divine’s standpoint. I will have them all. Let’s see if we can see any progression in them. The first one I will ascend into heaven. Well you can tell from this that Satan has desire for more and more power and the first suggests that his sphere be removed to God’s sphere. He’s not happy with just having access to the throne of God he wants to ascend into heaven and make that his abode. He wants to dwell in God’s house.
Now the next “I will” is I will exalt my throne above the stars. So the second cry of his declaration of independence is that he wants to rule the angelic sphere. I will exalt my throne above the stars.
Now I would think — although there’s some doubt about this of course — because the word star can mean several things. The word star may mean what we know as a star, that is some kind of space matter, or it can mean an angel. We just had it right here, the bright and morning star who is Satan. We have it in the Book of Revelation; star — angel.
Now I’m just suggesting that it probably means angel here and when he says, “I will exalt my throne above the stars,” he does not mean above the stars that we see, but he means above the angelic host and it seems to me that what he is suggesting is that he would not only like to dwell where God dwells but he would like to have personal rule over the angels.
Now we’ve already said that Satan was the chief of the angelic host. That does not mean that he was the ruler of them, of course, because God is the one who rules the angels. But apparently he wants to rule the angels himself. And the third “I will” is also in the thirteenth verse, “I will set also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north. I’d like to take my place in God’s government.”
Now of course when we read here the mount of the congregation we are referring again to the angelic host. And I want to show you how at least in this case the usage of Scripture supports this. Turn back with me a few pages to the eighty-second Psalm. The eighty second Psalm. Well you notice the very first verse of the eighty-second Psalm. “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty he judgeth among the gods.”
Now what does he mean by he judgeth among the gods? Is it perhaps the teaching of God’s word that there are many gods? No, of course there is only one true God. There are many gods in the sense that men have different gods. But what he means here when he says, “he stands in the congregation of the mighty ones and he judges among the gods,” is that he stands in the congregation of the angelic beings, the spirit beings and he judges among the angels.
Now that same usage is found in the eighty-ninth Psalms in verses 5 through 7. So when we read here, “I will exalt my throne above the stars, I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation,” he wants to dwell in God’s domicile, he wants to take the rule of the angels and he wants to sit down with God and govern. But he doesn’t stop with that — you would think that might be enough for anybody. Not for Lucifer the son of the morning. We read fourthly that he said, “I will ascend above the heights above the clouds.” Apparently he would climb above the glory of God if the clouds here are to be understood of the clouds as manifestation of the glory of God. I’m not sure of that fourth statement — just exactly what it means specifically or if it is an advance. But if it is an advance that would be what it means. But the last one there is no question about whatsoever. I will be like the most high.
Now you know when you read the Bible you will discover, of course, and we’re going to discover this when we a couple of weeks from now study the sin of man. We’re going to see that one of the basic characteristics of human sin derived no doubt from Satan. At least parallel with it one of the characteristics is this desire to be like God and here we have it. This is really an echo of Genesis. Although I would like to put it the other way that Genesis chapter 3 — when Satan said to Adam, “God knows that in the day he eats of the fruit of this tree you’re going to be like him and he doesn’t want you to eat of it.” But that is an echo of the previous sin of Lucifer. But you know the striking thing about this is that this attitude of mind that we see in Satan, and which we next see in man is an attitude that we see finally among men reach its climax in whom? Well, in the antichrist, in the antichrist.
Now turn to the New Testament to 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 4. While you’re finding 2 Thessalonians — I’m not going to declare an intermission until you do — I’m going to find another passage and read it and you just look at that 2 Thessalonians one because we are going to read it next but. Now as you find 2 Thessalonians — use the index — listen to Daniel 11, verse 36 and this is a reference to the antichrist. “And the king shall do according to his will and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god — notice that — and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods and shall prosper until the indignation be accomplished. For that which is determined shall be done.” In fact the one person who above all else would have been happy for God to die is Satan. If he could have any assurance of that he would be the happiest person in all of the universe. And that’s what he wants to be.
Now 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 4, listen to the words that Paul writes about the man of sin or the antichrist, verse 4, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” So you see this idea of wanting to be like God was not invented in the Garden of Eden it actually began with Satan. It was echoed in the Garden of Eden, and its loudest echo is yet to come when a man who speaks great things is going to set himself forth among men as God. And I think the only thing you can say is that the anointed cherub that covereth hath gone completely mad and the spirit of the anointed cherub that covereth has infected men and men too want to be God.
Now you may be saying, “Well I never want to be God,” but really that’s not true. Every one of us wants to rule our own destiny wants to be God. Oh we may have some very clear understanding of ourselves and we may very well realize that we can never be a god. We cannot even influence our friends; we cannot be top dog in Dallas much less God in the universe. But when a man wants to rule his own destiny when he really wants to control his life and have it only himself, that man has become a little god for you see that’s God’s domain. And there is an echo of the original sin of Satan in the lives of every human being. We are born with that sound which echoes through all of our existence until we find Jesus Christ as personal savior.
Now Roman III: The nature of the sin of Lucifer. Now let me just try to center our attention upon two or three things very quickly because we are going to deal with the nature of the sin of man when we come to Genesis 3 but it’s all right here, the essence of it is an ego lust that desires to usurp Gods place and actually Satan is guilty of envying God’s godhead. Nietzsche said, and I’ve quoted this to you already last fall, “But that I may reveal my heart entirely to you my friends. If there were gods, how could I endure it to be no god? Therefore there are no gods.” Now it’s no wonder that Nietzsche wound up as a candidate for the laughing academy because that’s where his philosophy ultimately led him. That’s where that kind of philosophy does lead a man.
Now just very quickly, what is Satan’s sin? I will be like the Most High. What is its nature? Theologically it is unbelief. You see the thing that led Satan to desire to be like the most high was his unbelief of the truth of God that he was the most high. Satan just did not accept the truth of God.
Now there was no written Bible but the truth was in the heavens and when a man does not accept that truth but acts otherwise he is guilty of unbelief. And so theologically the sin of Satan was unbelief, he trusts in a false god. That god is himself. I will be like the Most High. That’s why Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes he will convict men of sin. Not because they’re evil, not because they’re wicked, not because they’re on dope. Not because they’re adulterers and fornicators — all of those things are the results of the nature that we have — but he said that the Holy Spirit would convict men of sin because they believe not in him. You see the basic character of sin is unbelief. That’s why men — they come in the church and sit in the pew Sunday after Sunday and be a nice, lovely kind of outstanding member of the community and be a deep sinner. Because sin is unbelief, it may not yet have manifested itself in some of these out breaking forms of sin but given an opportunity, put him in the right environment and it would manifest itself. Psychologically, the Bible says that sin is pride.
Now they go hand in hand of course. If I don’t trust him I’ll trust myself. And so man’s pride is the manifestation of his sin psychology. One of the greatest of the parables that Jesus ever gave us was the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. You know it’s funny how we read it today in the twentieth century. The Pharisee says, “Lord I thank Thee that I’m not like this Publican.” And the modern protestant says, “Lord I thank Thee that I’m not like this Pharisee.” That’s right, that’s why we’re guilty of the same kind of pride you see. We just remove it a step or so. Practically the sin becomes independence of God. The Psalmist says in the tenth Psalm in the fourth verse, “God is not in all his thoughts” referring to the man with sin, so that theologically it is unbelief, psychologically it is pride; practically in its manifestation it is independence of God. That’s sin.
Now remember this, if that’s true and this is communicated to men, as apparently it is, then men are born in independence of God. You know what original sin means? It just means that man is born in revolt against God. And I also quoted last fall in the same message on Isaiah, Sydney Smith, who was dean of the faculty of medicine at the University of Attenborough; this medical man made a most interesting statement. He said that a child comes into this world aggressive, inquisitive and in all ways a potential criminal. That’s right — little Junior, that sweet little infant, aggressive, inquisitive and in every way a potential criminal.
Now this is the dean of the faculty of medicine in one of the great medical schools with a lot of practical experience. And when you see that beautiful little infant come into the world with his hands clenched, and with its audible way of making you know that he wants, or she wants its will done; you know exactly what Dr. Smith was talking about. But in spite of all of this Satan was religious. He didn’t say he’d do away with God but just have a secular universe he said, “I will be like the most high.” He never forgot his religion amidst all his sin. There’s a great deal of difference between religion and the truth of course.
Now I’m going to close just reading a passage from the word of God because I think by reading it without expounding it will have even more fulfillment. If the heart of Adam and the heart of antichrist and the heart of Satan is that of unbelief, then pride and independence will you listen to the heart of God as it is expressed in Jesus Christ? Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus who being in the form of God that means philosophically he possessed all of the attributes of deity. “Who being in the form of God thought it not a thing to be grasped after to be equal with God, he was like the most high but made himself of no reputation. Took upon him the form of a servant, was made in the likeness of men and being found in fashion as a lamb he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name that is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, things in heaven, things in earth, things under the earth. Satan shall bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Jehovah to the glory of God the Father.”
[Prayer] Father we thank Thee for Thy word now as have admission with the thoughts of the sin of Satan, so mold us that we may not be guilty of that kind of sin. Deliver us Oh God by the spirit, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.