We are in the midst of an unseen battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. This war is fought on a hidden spiritual plane to control the human race. Most of planet Earth's population has the cloak of deception over them. They cannot see the good news as to what Christ has done in redeeming (buying back) men from the grip of the god of this age. Paul the apostle wrote about our unseen enemy:
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Satan is the god of this age, an evil angel who chose to rebel against God, drawing an army of angels and demons with him. His chief tactic against you and me is a strategy of deception to keep you from seeing the Bible as the Word of God. The Bible is a compilation of 66 books that tell the story of the Creator God, who loves us so much that He paid the penalty of sin by sending His Son to die on a cross as the just payment for our sin debt.
There are many so-called gods in this world, so how does one tell who the true God is? The Bible tells us that there are only two kingdoms, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan (Matthew 12:30). Satan has used religion against God. He knows that a God-shaped hole is missing from your life—a part of your inner nature that cries out for the true God. Satan has served up different religions on earth in the hope that he can satisfy the search for God that we all have. That's why our passage today describes Satan as the god of this age, blinding the minds of unbelievers. We can tell the true God by the fruit from the tree of the belief system of whatever god you have listened to and obeyed in the past. Jesus told us to look at the outflow of a person’s life to see if there is evidence of real spiritual life—God's life:
16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit (Matthew 7:16-18).
True Christianity is about receiving the gift of God, eternal life, into the core of your being. The result of receiving this impartation of the gift of God is that your life becomes "a good tree" and bears "good fruit." What is meant by good fruit? The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). If you have these qualities in your life, you are bearing good fruit. Jesus contrasts the two kingdoms that are at war. Satan is pictured as a thief whose plan is to steal what God wants to freely give you—the gift of eternal life in Christ. The enemy wants to kill and destroy you from ever being a threat to his kingdom, whereas Jesus came to give you the gift of God’s life, eternal life, and the kind of life lived to the full.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).
Have you received this gift of eternal life? There is nothing you can do to earn it. It is not something for which you have to work hard to try to be good enough; it is a gift one receives from the hand of God. Here’s a prayer you can use:
Prayer: Lord of Heaven and Earth, I come to you today to acknowledge and believe that you are the true God and have sent Jesus into the world as my substitute for sin. I turn from my sin today. Come into my life and make me new. I receive your gift of eternal life in your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for all that you have done for me at the cross. Amen!
If you sincerely prayed that prayer to God—welcome to the family of believers worldwide! Keith Thomas