In the Garden of Eden, Satan approaches Eve and incites her to violate God’s will by eating of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Satan makes three propositions and convinces her to sin. Subsequently, Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden (Genesis 3).
Wisely, Satan presented truth to Eve interspersed with enough error to lead her astray. The right excised or added word can lead to wholly different results. God said, “you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Satan countered they would “not surely die” (Genesis 3:4).
God meant spiritual death while Satan referred to physical death. His subtle change created doubt in the mind of Eve.
First, Satan attacked the perception of what God said. Second, he altered the definitions of words. Third, he played on her vanity by insisting that God was trying to prevent her from attaining her fullest potential.
In other words, God was scared of her innate freedom.
Satan is the ultimate liar (John 8:44), so we’re to run from his methods rather than adopting them. However, in the ultimate irony, far too many in the Church today use similar methods in the guise of glorifying Christ.
First, they attack the perception of what God’s Word says. Many times, they go back to the Restoration Movement and catalog any instance they can find that may be different. If these men and women practiced something, then it must be God’s will.
In so doing, they raise restoration beliefs and practices to the level of Scripture.
Restoration leaders were in different situations than we are in today. Most were constantly in flux as they were studying out of denominations and seeking to start congregations that would be obedient to Scripture.
Their studies, debates and plans represented a variety of views and practices along the spectrum of their search to be pleasing to God. Their fluidity is not the sole model for the church today.
Using incongruous situations as models is to invite trouble. No example of man can override Scripture because God’s Word is inspired while men are not.
Second, they alter the definition of words. A Christian becomes a person who acknowledges Christ rather than what Scripture describes as an obedient believer immersed for the remission of sins.
Third, they play on the vanity of men to expand the borders of fellowship in the church past God’s boundaries. They belittle brethren for being narrow minded, selfish, exclusive, snobby and legalistic for seeking to be in the sanctified Church of our Lord.
Finally, they reorient people to a new reality where all the rules have changed. They’re savvy enough to know that these changes will be painful and provoke opposition. Therefore, they are very patient and we must subsequently be very diligent.