To sin, by the Greek definition, means to miss the mark and therefore miss out on the prize. If peace is the prize, then believing Satan’s lies is the quickest and best way to miss the mark, to miss the prize, to be found wanting. Satan is the master of lies and the manipulator of the truth, but of all the thousands and millions of lies he tells, they boil down to one thing–and it’s not a lie. It’s a question.
Throughout Scripture, we see Satan plying his wares. We see him selling lies as truth, sin as righteousness, and saltwater as being able to quench any thirst. But nowhere is he more successful than in the garden of Eden. Think about it. In a single moment, Satan got God’s entire creation, every worshipful atom of it, to fall. Not only Adam and Eve, but Adam and Eve’s every single descendant, and nature itself. Nowhere else do we get such a good look at Satan’s playbook, his strategy. Here, there are no distractions, no variables, just Satan, his first, best, and worst attempt at destroying God’s people, and Eve, unwary and gullible. It’s hard to believe that God’s perfect creation could fall so completely, and so simply. But we fall for the same thing every day.
“Now indeed, the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)
Now let me just appreciate the cleverness of the devil for a second. Satan doesn’t begin with a lie. He doesn’t even hint at a lie. Nor does he claim to be speaking the truth. He asks a question.
Did God really say?
If I don’t know the answer, if I don’t know what God really does say, about sin and righteousness, about truth and falsehood, about joy and peace, then peace will be far from me. This one question destroyed all of mankind. If my whole life stands or falls on this, then I want to know the answer.
Excerpt from “Peace and How to Keep It.” Coming fall 2020.