The Greatest Lie of Satan

by David A. DePra

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In John 8:44, Jesus describes the devil as, “the father of lies.”  We are admonished in the Word of God not to be ignorant of the devices of Satan -- but to be aware and alert because he is like a roaring lion, walking around seeking whom he may devour.  That being the case, it is essential that we examine this, “father of Lies.”  Indeed, I want to examine what could be called Satan’s, “greatest lie of all.”   More importantly, in examining the lies of Satan the devil, we will open up the Truth of God in Jesus Christ. 


Let’s read John 8:44.  Jesus is there talking to the Pharisees.  He says to them:


You are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the Truth because there is no Truth in him.  When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own for he is a liar and the father of it.


Here we have that reference to Satan as, “the father of lies.”   Now, before we move on, let’s note a couple of points.  First, you will note that at the end of verse 44, Jesus says that when Satan speaks a lie, “he speaks of his own.”  What that really is saying is that when the devil speaks a lie, he speaks from out of his OWN NATURE – “for he IS a liar and the father of it.”  In other words, the devil doesn’t simply TELL lies.  No.  Rather, he IS a lie.  When God created the angelic beings, including Lucifer, God did not create evil: God did not create a lying creature named Lucifer.  No.  Lucifer was like all of the other angels that God created -- and it was a good creation.  But, without getting into too much detail, Lucifer rebelled against God.  He deliberately turned away from all Truth and light.  And when he did that, Lucifer became a living lie; a being whose very nature and presence is a lie – because he is completely contrary to God.    He has no Truth in Him.  Thus, Jesus Christ rightly calls Satan, “the father – the originator -- of lies.” 


The Purpose of Satan


Now, let’s talk about the purpose of Satan.  Satan’s purpose is to oppose God.  Thus, if we want to know more specifically what is the purpose of Satan, we need only understand the purpose of God -- because that is the purpose he is opposing.   Well, God’s ultimate purpose, of course, is that Jesus Christ be all in all.  God has begun that purpose in this age through the redemption of Jesus Christ -- whereby Christ has come to dwell in believers.  “Christ in us,” (Col. 1:27) -- the Person of Jesus Christ within the believer -- embodies the purpose of God; forms the foundation of the purpose of God.   Christ is the foundation -- The Rock -- upon which God will build all else.  And that begins IN US.   Everything that God wants to build IN believers must be built upon The Rock, the Person of Jesus Christ.


In Matthew 16, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”  Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  Jesus said, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, Peter, but my Father in heaven has revealed it.  And it is upon this Rock…” — the revelation of Himself in people” – it is upon that Rock that God intends to build the church.  So, “Christ in us,” is The Rock, The Life -- and He is to be our life.  (see Col. 3:4)


Jesus said, “I am THE life.”  There is only ONE eternal life, and that is found ONLY in the Person of Jesus Christ.  Thus, if Christ dwells in you and me, we have a foundation for being in the purpose of God – that foundation is HIMSELF who is THE life.  Without His LIFE what do we have?  Nothing but death.  But once Christ is IN US; is our life -- from that point, God wants to bring us into an inward realization of Jesus Christ.  He wants us to discover Jesus Christ so that we might abide in Him -- live from out of Him and draw from Him all that we need.  He wants Christ to become the source of all things for us.  The Bible says that God has freely given us all things in Christ -- the Christian life is a matter of discovering Christ and all that God has given in Him.  So, Jesus Christ is THE life and we are to discover Him as OUR life.


But if God’s purpose is embodied in Jesus Christ in us, then obviously, it is Satan’s purpose to blind people to that reality.  Satan wants to blind believers to the Truth and possibilities wrapped up in Jesus Christ within.  And the most common way in which Satan blinds people to the Truth is by offering some lie as a substitute.


Herein we see a primary device of Satan – we see how he generally deceives people.  Satan is not going to come to you and I and directly state, “You need to reject the reality of Jesus Christ within you.”  No.  That’s not going to be his approach.  Rather, he will blind us to the Truth – and then offer a lie as a substitute.  Few people will easily believe a lie if they see the Truth alongside of it.  No, what you need to do to get people to believe a lie, is to blind them to the Truth.  If you can do that, they will more easily believe your lie IS the Truth – for the lie will be all they know.  Satan rarely takes a direct approach.  Rather, he is subtle.


There is a deception that is the result of having shut out God.  This is a heart problem – it is deliberate unbelief.  But once a person turns away from God and shuts Him out they are in darkness.  And despite the fact that this does not seem to have much to do with teaching or with doctrine -- it has everything to do with it.  Turn away from Light Himself and you will not know Him or recognize Him.  You will then easily be deceived by the lies of the enemy.  This will eventually affect both your doctrine but your spirit and attitude.  You will be deceived. 


There is another deception that is more the result of ignorance.  If we are blind to Jesus Christ we are also in darkness.  But it is not deliberate unbelief.  We may simply not see.  We may have never heard the Truth.  Satan will seek to keep such ones blind to the Truth of Jesus Christ – by offering a substitute in the form of a lie. 


The good news is that we are not left to fend for ourselves in this matter of the Truth of God in Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ promised the God would always seek to guide us into all Truth.  That Truth begins with, and is centered in, the Person of Jesus Christ.  The Spirit of God will always bring us back to Christ as the object of our faith and as our very life.  And whether we have turned from God in unbelief, or are merely ignorant, when God guides us into the Truth, there will always be enough grace that will enable us to turn and open ourselves to Christ.  God is a always redemptive.  It is always possible to turn to Him.


The Lie


As noted, rather than directly oppose the Truth of Jesus Christ, Satan will offer a lie – he will offer a lie as a substitute.  If Satan can deceive people into believing that a lie is the Truth he will have them.  They will be deceived and not realize what is happening to them.


We have stated that the purpose of God is that once Jesus Christ dwells within the believer, that it is the purpose of God that believers come into an inward realization of Him.  God desires that we discover the Jesus Christ IS OUR LIFE – and that in Him as our life is all that God has, and all that God intends to do.  Again – Christ in us is THE ROCK.


“Christ in you, the hope of glory,” (Col. 1:27) is Christianity.  “Christ, our life,” (Col. 3:4) is the Truth upon which Christian reality depends.  Thus, it should not be surprising that the greatest lie of Satan is a religious substitute for this great reality of Christ in the believer.


Take note that the lies of Satan would never be able to gain traction in the life of a believer unless they carried a great appeal – there must be something IN US to which a lie appeals or else we would never believe it.  Thus, a substitute that Satan offers in place of, “CHRIST IN US,” as OUR LIFE must be an “alternative life.”  It must be an alternative to Christ as our life that appeals to us, appears to be legitimate, and can be supported by twisting Bible verses.   


What is this, “alternative life?”  It is the ADAM LIFE -- the earthly life; the natural life.  Most of us will easily embrace the Adam life AS true life in Christ -- because the Adam life has been all that we have ever known.  And by nature we all want it satisfied.  Satan will offer us a Christianity that gives us our Adam life and satisfies our desire to possess it.


The Truth reveals that in Christ the Adam race died.  On the Cross, the Adam race ENDED.  But through the resurrection, Jesus Christ ushered in a new race of human beings – if any person is in Christ he is a NEW creature.  A Christian is one who has both died and been raised in Christ.  The old is passed over – all things are new in Christ.  This is NOT a matter of God fixing up, repairing, or resuscitating the old man in Adam.  No.  Rather, it is matter of putting our old man in Adam forever under the Cross, and of birthing us as a new creation in Christ Jesus.


Any suggestion that it is God’s will to fix up the old Adam life – whether it be in doctrine or practice – whether it be through direct teaching or subtle inference – is a denial of the Cross of Jesus Christ.  And that makes it a denial of the Truth of the Redemption.


This is not simply a matter of doctrine.  It is a matter of LIFE.  Christ is our life.  He is our ALL.  Thus, once this great reality is undercut we no longer have Christianity.  We are no longer in the Truth of the new creation.  What we have is the old creation – the Adam race – offered as a substitute for Jesus Christ in us.  And that is exactly what Satan desires. 


The greatest lie ever told is that ADAM IS NOT DEAD.  The lies is that, yes – through Christ – God has brought Adam back to life – and that God intends to build His purpose upon a fixed up and repaired Adam race.  This is a denial of Jesus Christ.  It is a denial of the redemption.  It is a denial of the purpose of God – and an attempt by Satan to deceive even believers into his own purpose.


Today as never before, believers are being told that God wants to GIVE US OUR LIFE – and this suggestion takes many forms.  The church today is obsessed with self-improvement; self-esteem; and self-occupation.  So much is geared to fixing up our Adam life; our natural man.  Going hand in hand with this is almost a universal blindness to the reality of Christ in the believer – and to God’s purpose through Him.  The great lie of Satan has made immense strides as we approach the end of the age.


Losing to Find


Jesus said:


If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.  (Matt. 16:24)


Can we now see why Jesus made this statement, and why it is so important?  From the words of Christ we that there are TWO lives:  The Adam life, and the Christ life.  We must LOSE the Adam life under the work of the Cross.  ONLY THEN can we come into a realization of Christ.  Indeed, Jesus states directly that only if we lose this old life can we come after Him.  Sure, for only then will we be walking in HIS life; walking in the Truth.


Satan always offers the Adam life – but will disguise it AS the Christ life; will offer it AS God’s will.  It is vital to see the difference or we will never realize Christ.  We may be deceived.


Again – any suggestion, whether by direct teaching or by subtle practice, that God wants to fix up or repair the Adam life – any suggestion that God wants to help us save the Adam life for ourselves – this is a denial of the Cross of Jesus Christ.  It is NOT Christianity.  It is actually the gospel of Satan – based in the greatest lie of Satan. 


The old Adam life and nature is always the ground and territory of Satan’s work.  Thus, if you want to defeat Satan, you must lose the life that is his territory.  If you want to get rid of sin, lose the life in which sin is rooted.  Then, and only then, will you begin to find true life in Christ.  No wonder Satan wants to offer the Adam life – it is his territory and access point to humanity.  No wonder he wants to blind people to Christ as our life – it is his utter and final defeat.  We are here dealing NOT merely with doctrine.  These are matters of spiritual life and death.  That is what is at stake.


An Angel of Light


Satan wants a false Christianity based upon the Adam life – based upon his own territory.  Thus, he is not only going to blind people to Christ, but he will present the Adam life AS the Christ life.  He will dress it up and offer it to us in a way that will appeal to us.  And if we do not know Jesus Christ, and are not aware of Satan’s devices, as Paul warned, we may fall for a Christianity that is based on the Adam earthly life.


Everywhere you look today in the church, there is a general blindness to Jesus Christ and to His life within.  More and more, what is spreading is a false Christianity that is based on self-life; the earthly life.  Satan has succeeded with this deception on a widespread level.


The Bible states that Satan is, “an angel of light.”  (II Cor. 11:14)  Think about it -- what does light do?  Light illuminates and shows the Truth.  It exposes things for what they are.  Well, if Satan masquerades himself as an angel or messenger of light, than that means he will present his lies AS the Truth.  It means that when he is at work, there will SEEM to be illumination.  There will SEEM to be illumination, satisfaction, and answers -- because the lie he presents will appeal to, and correspond to, the LIE THAT IS IN PEOPLE.  And what is that lie?  That there is a basic GOOD in the Adam race.  And that God wants to help us to possess ourselves FOR ourselves; that God wants to fix us up through Christ so that we can attain self-satisfaction.  The purpose of Satan and his corresponding lies make the entire purpose of God to be self-centered.  The purpose of God is Christ-centered, which, in turn, spells true freedom for all humanity.


Satan will offer the earthly nature what the earthly nature wants – and he will attribute it all to God.  If our earthy Adam nature gets the self-satisfaction it wants – even religiously -- and we remain blind to Christ, we are going to say, “I’ve been illuminated; I have come into a great freedom.”  But it is a lie.  You haven’t come into a great freedom.  All that has happened is that you have gotten what your flesh wanted -- and you feel good about it.  You remain totally blind to true life in Jesus Christ.  You think that what you have is IT -- and so you are satisfied and happy.  The, “angel of light,” is always going to offer the freedom of light – but his freedom will be as false as the light he offers.  That’s deception and a horrible condition.


Now, there are people like that everywhere.  One example are legalists -- those who try to live before the Lord maintaining their own righteousness through their own works.  If you run into a person who is convinced that they have obtained a righteousness by their own works you are going to encounter a happy, content person.  This will be a person who says that they are free; a person who says that they have found the Truth.  The Galatians were like that.  They were happy and content and thought they were righteous before God.  But Paul told them that they were under ”another gospel” -- bewitched and mesmerized by error.  He proclaimed that their only solution was to have, “Christ formed in them.”  (see Gal. 4:19)  The Greek meaning for the word translated, “formed,” is, “to inwardly realize.”   They needed to have their eyes opened -- and to come into an inward realization of Jesus Christ.  This was the only solution for their deception.


When you are blind to Christ, you easily buy into alternatives – because Satan will always offer an alternative that appeals to you – it will usually carry a RELIGIOUS appeal.  Therefore, the obvious solution is to see Christ and begin to know Him.  We must come into an inward realization of Jesus Christ.


So, it is not surprising that thousands of people would rejoice and be glad -- and yet be deceived.  It is happening right now -- and to a greater or lesser degree has been going on for two thousand years.


The Evil Use of Scripture


Now, when Satan presents himself as an angel of light, he will often use scripture.  He did that in tempting Jesus in the wilderness.  He will simply make scripture MEAN whatever agrees with his lie.   The most deceived people are those who quote the Bible the most.  Because folks are deceived by Satan they will likewise make scripture agree with the lie that is in them.  


Anyone, including the worst atheist, and the worst sinner on the planet, can read the Bible and tell you what it SAYS.  All you need is a brain.  I have known of atheists and agnostics who are out to disprove Christianity -- and who are walking encyclopedias of the Bible.  Sure, because in order to oppose the Bible, you have to know the Bible.  These people know what the Bible SAYS – but don’t know what it MEANS.  Only the Spirit of God can show us what the Bible MEANS --  because the only the Spirit of God can reveal the One who inspired it.


All false teachers, all heretics, and all cults say that the Bible is the inspired word of God.  But they make it mean something that fits their religion – they make it mean what agrees with the lie that is in them.  You see these with televangelists who preach the prosperity gospel.  They use the Bible to preach this lie -- they make the Bible mean something it does not mean.


You can do that.  My goodness, people do that with the constitution of the United States.  The constitution has been turned upside down to where instead of freedom of religion; it has been made to mean freedom from religion.  All that it takes is Supreme Court justices who read into the constitution their own bias – they make it mean something that the people who wrote it never intended.


So it is with scripture.  All heretics, in order to get some footing and some traction, refer to the Bible -- but they make it mean something it doesn’t mean.  They wind up describing a false god who doesn’t exist.  Indeed, all false teachers will usually tell you that Jesus died for you and for the sin of the world.  All false teachers will usually tell you that Jesus was raised.  But many will even make these basics MEAN something they don’t mean.  For example, some false teachers teach that Jesus died to appease the wrath of God.  Others teach that Jesus died to express God’s love for us – but he did not die to deliver us from sin.  That is evil nonsense.  Then, of course, there are different doctrines about the resurrection.  There are those who teach that Jesus was not really raised bodily from the dead.  So, you can make anything mean what you want it to mean to satisfy your religious bias.  Satan can pour false meanings into Bible terms and then use those terms -- right out of the Bible -- to lead people completely astray from God’s mind as He inspired His words.  This is what Satan does as an angel of light:  He even uses scripture to try to deceive0. 


The Devices of Satan


Now, often people will ask the question, “How in the world can people be so stupid and gullible as to fall for lies like that?”  It is as we have stated:  We fall for lies because we do not know the Truth Himself – and this opens the door for deception that appeals to the lies that are in us.  And lies that are IN US are not merely doctrinal lies.  No.  Lies that are within are unbelief, wrong attitudes, wrong motives, fear, condemnation, and most of all, the desire to belong to ourselves.  These are lies OF NATURE – lies that are resident in our Adam nature.  It is only to the extent that we have come to know Jesus Christ that we will be set free from the lies that are in our own mind and nature.  Where that has not happened, there will be a basis of appeal for Satan.  Thus, brains have nothing to do with it.  What determines this is our personal knowledge of Jesus Christ – and our heart attitude of faith towards Him.


With regards to Satan, Paul said, “We are not ignorant of his devices.”  If you look up that Greek word translated, “devices,” it means, “a calculated method.”  Satan has a, “calculated method,” for deceiving you and I – specifically structured to our personal makeup and our vulnerabilities – indeed, structured to our personal blind spots regarding Jesus Christ.  In general, and as we have noted, every one of us is born with a nature which seeks self-preservation and self-satisfaction.  Every one of us wants our flesh to be fed.  We don’t need to consciously plot for this – it is inherent to what we are in Adam.  But if we are blind to Jesus Christ, Satan will offer us a religious lie that will feed that self-life and that nature.  He will offer it in a way that may seem to be good – or even OF GOD.


Now, the good news is that the very approach or attempt of Satan is an opportunity for us to seek God with all of our heart for the Truth.  And if we will seek Him then Satan’s very attempt to deceive us will be turned around by God as an occasion to set us free with the Truth.  God will use Satan to get our attention and to bring up questions in our heart.  God may use temptations to expose to us our vulnerabilities and blindness – He will expose our unbelief.  This can be a long process that may take years.  But this is all unto GOOD.  If the spirit of God is indeed in us, and we have any sensitivity to God at all, we are at least going to sense that something is going on.  We will seek the Lord and open ourselves to Him.  You see that in Job’s life.  What Satan thought to do was destroy Job -- but God used it to set him free.   It is evermore the case with us today.  If we will turn to God by faith He will make even the wrath of the enemy to praise Him. 


The purpose of Satan, when he tries to deceive, is not limited to getting people to merely commit acts of sin – not as we usually define sin.  I am sure that Satan would be very happy if we commit acts of sin -- and he may even try to use our sin as a springboard to bring about something worse.  But, acts of sin are not the primary goal here.  There are plenty of deceived people whose faith is not in Christ, but who would not think of sinning.  What Satan wants to do is to get us into unbelief.  He wants to keep us blind.  He wants us to take our faith off of Jesus and put it on ourselves.  This is, of course, SIN.  But if Satan can either keep us blind to Christ, or get us to take our faith off of Christ, he will be able to abort the purpose of God.  Any sin that we choose to commit will simply be a bonus in his eyes.


Soul vs. Spirit


The only power of Satan in the life of the believer is the power of deception – that is – Satan cannot overpower you and I; Satan cannot act upon us and make us do anything.  Rather, he has the power to deceive us in believing and doing that which is contrary to the Truth.  Satan will present error AS Truth.  Isn’t that really the definition of a lie – to present error AS Truth?  Satan is the FATHER of lies.  Satan wants to blind people to the Truth of Jesus Christ as our life and then to deceive us into accept an alternative – a counterfeit for Christ -- namely, the Adam life.   Satan wants to present the Adam life as THE life.  He wants to present the natural AS the spiritual.  He wants to deceive believers into seeking to save their lives for themselves – and to deceive them into thinking that it is the purpose of God to help them do so.  The result would be a false Christianity based on the Adam life rather than upon Jesus Christ within the believer.


But if the only power of Satan possible in the life of the believer is the power to deceive, then can we see that the only solution is an inward realization and knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Satan wants to present error AS the Truth.  But if know the Truth and it has set us free from the lies that are in us then it will be impossible for error to deceive us.  Just as was the case with Jesus, Satan will find NOTHING in us to which he can appeal with his lies.


Now, in order to fully understand this, we absolutely MUST see the Truth of the separation of soul and spirit in each believer:  When you and I came to Jesus Christ, He joined us to Himself and made us one with Himself in spirit.  If you could draw a big circle around that spiritual union with Jesus Christ, everything that is within that circle would be the new man in Christ — the new creation.  This spiritual union is what it means to be IN CHRIST – i.e., it is what it means for Christ to be IN YOU.  Paul said, “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”  (I Cor. 6:17)  Being joined to the Lord is HOW we are in Christ Jesus and how Jesus Christ is in us.


But likewise note:  We are made one SPIRIT with Jesus Christ.  In this age, we are not joined to the Lord either in SOUL or in physical BODY.  The body is the earthly part of us that you can see.  The soul is the earthly part of us that you cannot see.  Neither is joined to the Lord in this age.  We are joined to Him ONLY in spirit.


Now, what this joining to the Lord in spirit does is automatically create in each believer a separation – a separation between what is joined to the Lord and what is not.  This separation is often called, “the separation between soul and spirit.”  Each believer continues to have an earthly nature that is NOT joined to the Lord in this age, and each believer has a new nature that is the result of being joined to the Lord in spirit.  The two are as distinct as CHRIST IN US is distinct from US.  He is the Treasure that is IN the earthen vessel.  We are not Him, and He is not us.  Yet each believer has both Christ in us as well as our old earthly nature.


Now, here is what we need to see:  The natural life is NOT where God is working.  God is not going to enhance or fix up the natural life.  In fact, He is going to crucify it.  But this will not eradicate the natural life.  No.  Rather, it will make the natural life subject to Christ with whom we are joined in spirit. 


Note the difference:  On the one hand, most of us believe that God has given us some power to make our natural life behave and look like Jesus.  We focus upon the conduct, appearance, and functionality of our natural, soul life.  In reality, however, we need to leave ourselves alone and focus upon Jesus Christ.  We need to stop being preoccupied with ourselves and begin walking by faith despite ourselves.   This is the ONLY way in which the natural can ever be brought under Jesus as Lord.  In short, obedience is an OUTCOME – it is the outcome of losing ourselves to Christ.  It is never the outcome of trying to make ourselves look like Jesus through law or religion. 


The importance of this Truth cannot be understated.  Blindness to this Truth is the result of blindness to Christ.  For if we realized Christ within, we would see that we are not joined to Him in body or soul.  But the moment we see Christ within, we will see that the body and soul stand contrary to Him – the body and soul that are not joined to Him.  Yet if we put all of our faith in Christ the body and soul, even though never joined to the Lord in this age, will also be earthen vessels through which Christ can be made manifest.


One of the greatest points of deception in the church today finds traction due to blindness to Christ, and consequently, blindness to this separation between soul and spirit.  Many believers see no separation, indeed, don’t even realize there is one.  Thus, many continue to think that it is God’s purpose to make their soul and body to LOOK like Jesus; to act like Jesus.  Many continue to think that God has sort of, “acted upon,” our earthly nature to bring it alive; to give it some power to obey God.  And because they are deceived on this matter, many are continually striving to make their earthly man – that which is NOT united with Christ – to look and behave like Jesus Christ.  Today the church is saturated with programs to help people along in this error.


It gets worse.  We read from Matthew 16 that Jesus told us to LOSE our lives if we want to find Him as our life.  In other words, we must lose the life that is outside of that union with Christ – lose it, not in the sense of seeking to blot it out of existence – but losing it in the sense of relinquishing ownership of ourselves to Christ.  We have to believe Christ and become preoccupied with HIM – and leave ourselves alone.  But instead, we are occupied with the life we are told to lose, continually trying to fix and repair that life which is already under the Cross.  This is deception. 


Certainly, in this age, it is the will of God that the body and soul come under the government of Jesus Christ as Lord – this will result in obedience and holiness.  But the WAY in which this takes place is NEVER by fussing with our earthly nature.  It is never by trying to transform our earthly nature into a Xerox copy of Jesus that we achieve holiness.  It is only by LOSING it BY FAITH in Christ that any of this is possible.  That is because if we lose the earthly life we will find HIM as our life – and it is only Jesus Christ that can govern that earthly life.


Paul described this entire relationship between the earthly nature and Christ within in one passage:


But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.   We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;   Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.   For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.   (II Cor. 4:7-11)


Christianity is not a matter of God acting upon us and making us to, “look like Jesus.”  Neither is it a matter of God giving us a power, or methods, by which we can make ourselves, “look like Jesus.”  No.  Christianity is a matter of us losing ourselves completely to Him through the relinquishment of self-ownership – through the work of the Cross – resulting in Christ manifesting Himself through us.  It is a matter of us, through that work of the Cross, “bearing about in the body (the earthly nature) the dying of the Lord Jesus, in order that the life of the Lord Jesus might be made manifest.” 


This is obviously not a, “how to,” method that Paul is describing.  It is not religion.  It is something that takes a miracle of renewing our mind and bringing us into a revelation of Jesus Christ.  It is Truth that is utterly contrary to natural human thinking.  We are naturally pre-occupied with ourselves – even in the things of God.  We strive for high self-esteem and loath low self-esteem.  But God wants to deliver us out of SELF all together and occupy us with His Son.  No human effort can bring this to pass.  It must come by surrender to God and by an inward revelation of Jesus.


2 Corinthians 5:17 is an amazing revelation along the lines of this Truth of the separation of soul from spirit.  If we look at the Greek we find that it says. “If any man is in Christ he is a new creature.”  Here Paul is talking about our spiritual union with Christ.  He goes on to say, “Old things are PASSED OVER.”  The translation, “old things are passed AWAY,” is not accurate, and certainly not yet true.  Do you still have an old earthly nature?  You know you do.  Thus, Paul is saying that the old nature in Adam is PASSED OVER with regards the new creation iun Christ.  In other words, your old nature – your, “natural soul man” – is NOT incorporated into the new creation.  It is completely by-passed.  You are united with Christ in spirit.


Paul also says that all things — speaking of the new creation in Christ — have become new and, if we read the first part of II Cor. 5:18, we read that he says that all things of that new creation are, “out from God.”  That is the Greek.  It means that all that is of the new creation is, yes, out from God, but NOTHING of the new creation is out from us – nothing of the new creation is out from our earthly nature.  Sure.  That is because our earthly nature is PASSED OVER.  It is not united with Christ.


So therein we see a clear distinction between our spiritual union with Christ -- who dwells in us -- and what is outside of that union, in this age, which is our body and our soul.  It is the distinction between Jesus Christ and ourselves.  Christianity is CHRIST IN US.  It is NOT us trying to look and act like Jesus – it is us leaving ourselves alone and relinquishing our ownership and control over to Christ by faith so that He can manifest Himself through us.  Again, this is not a, “how to.”  It is not religion.  It is supposed to be the outcome of the new birth.


Now, we need to understand the separation of soul vs. spirit if we are to understand, yes, the Truth of Christ in us, but also so that we might recognize the wiles and the devices of the Devil.  Why?  First and foremost, we must understand that there is a separation between our union with Christ and our earthly nature so that we cannot be deceived into becoming preoccupied with our earthly nature – so that we cannot be blinded to the necessity of losing ourselves to Jesus Christ.  If we become preoccupied with trying to save, improve, repair, and fix up that old, earthly nature – thinking that this is what God wants us to do, then Satan has already blinded and deceived us.


Secondly, we must understand that Satan cannot touch our new man in Christ.  That’s a fact.  That part of us is saved and is the product of victory over the Devil.  So, the Devil cannot approach us there.  But the Devil can and does approach us in that part of ourselves which is outside of our union with Christ -- namely our earthly nature of body and soul.   As I noted earlier, he would be quite happy if he got us to commit acts of sin.  But the way in which the devil commonly approaches us in our earthly nature is through fear, condemnation, and feelings and emotions.  He will try to deceive us with horrible feelings, or good feelings.  He will try to get us to listen to, believe, and live from out of our earthly nature – he will try to get us to live out of our earthly nature in a religious fashion as a substitute for Christ.  It is just that we won’t know it is a substitute for Christ.  No.  We will think it IS Christ.


We have to get this one thing settled once and for all:  In Christ, we are dead to the Adam nature.  Yes, we continue to carry that old nature, along side of the new nature, but we are dead to it because Christ is dead to it.  The old earthly nature in Adam is, in fact, shut completely out of God’s purpose.  God is not going to bring to pass His purpose in our lives through our natural man.  He is not going to work there.  He is not going to fix it up and make it pretty.  Rather, He is going to bring upon it the work of the Cross so that it can be proven that was IS dead is, in fact, dead.  And parallel to that, He is going to reveal Jesus Christ as our life.  Unless we are walking in this Truth we will not get far.  We will end up deceived into walking in a false Christianity, based on natural man.


The Original Lie


In Genesis 3, we find recorded the first lie ever told by Satan.  As is the case in many other first occasions in the Bible, there is a primary principle illustrated. This first lie that Satan ever told is, in fact, the greatest lie ever told.


Just a bit of review here as background:  God created Adam and Eve and planted two trees in the Garden of Eden.  He told them to eat of the tree of life, which was representative of Jesus Christ as our life.  Eating is nourishment -- it is what sustains you and I.  In other words, it is what gives us life.  So, they were told that they needed to eat of the tree of life.  But then there was this other tree from which God forbade them to eat:  The forbidden tree.  This is the alternative, in other words, to Christ as our life and our all.  And it was right there from the beginning in that Garden of Eden.


Now, as noted, the tree of life represented Jesus Christ as our life.  But that is equal to Jesus Christ as our ALL – indeed, it is equal to Jesus Christ as our Lord.  It is equal to putting Jesus Christ before self – in all things.   The forbidden tree, on the other hand, represented self before God.  These are the two choices.  They are ultimately the only two choices put before us.


But why does there have to be a choice?  Because there is a God -- and because He has given humanity a SELF, or free will.  The two go together:  Any being that has a SELF has a free will, and visa versa.  Thus, because there is a God, and because humanity has a SELF with a free will, that choice is there.


In a relationship with God, which is the only reason God created man, this choice if before all humanity -- above any other choice.  Humanity must choose to put self before God, or God before self. So, those two trees had to be there.  For Adam, it meant that he was going to depend upon and draw from God for his very life -- or Adam was going to look to himself for life.   That was the choice:  God before self, or self before God; faith or unbelief.


Satan knew what this choice was -- and he knew the purpose of God.  Of course he did – Satan himself had chosen to put himself before God.  And his goal ever since has been to try to fashion the nature of man according to his own nature.  His goal is to deceive humanity into choosing SELF before God.  If Satan can fashion the nature of man according to his own nature, Satan will have control.


In Genesis 3, we find his approach to Eve.  He begins to draw her attention to the trees.  There we read:


Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.  And he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, has God said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”  And the woman said, unto the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”


We could go back to Genesis 2:17 – where God forbade Adam to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  He clearly warned Adam that if he ate of the forbidden tree, he would die.  Thus, Eve was completely aware of this command and actually quoted it to the serpent.


Next we read the serpent’s response to God’s command as related by Eve:


The serpent said unto the woman, “You shall not die.”


This is the first lie that was ever told in the Bible.  It is also the greatest lie ever.  Now, why do I say that?  Well, I say that because indirectly, and in a subtle way, Satan is really saying, “God is NOT the source of life for you.  God is not your all.  God is not God.”  Obviously, if you could eat of the forbidden tree and not DIE, then you don’t need to eat of the tree of life in order to LIVE.  You don’t need God to be your life.  YOU have life within yourself.


Now, notice what the real temptation is here.  The real temptation is that Adam and Eve, instead of finding all life in God, could find it in themselves.  In effect, the real temptation was to choose SELF before God rather than God before SELF.  Satan is telling them that they don’t need to eat of the tree of life -- or need to abide in God for everything as their life – they could eat of this forbidden tree and put themselves before God.  This is what is wrapped up in that lie, “You shall not surely die.” 


Hold that thought here in Genesis 3 -- we will get back to it in a second.  But first, I want to build upon it by taking it into the New Testament.  Satan’s greatest lie of all was that Adam would not die if he chose self before God.  That’s the greatest lie ever told because it denies the greatest Truth -- which is that God is Truth and God is life – indeed, that God is God.  Satan is telling them, “No, you can reject God and you will NOT DIE.  You can find life in yourself.”  Thus, the greatest lie ever told is, “Adam, you will not die.”  It is a denial of God Himself, and a rejection of the relationship between God and humanity.


In the New Testament, this lie is repeated.  It is slightly reworded but it is the same lie.  In Genesis, Satan was lying about what would happen in the future if Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree:  He said they would NOT die.  However, in the New Testament era, this lie is stated as a past event once Adam did eat of the tree:  The lie is now, “Adam did NOT die.”


Note again:  Today the lie is not, “Adam you will die.  No.  Today the lie is, “ Adam you did not die.“  The continual lie of Satan – the lie upon which all of his purpose and wiles are based – is that Adam did NOT die; Adam is alive and well.


The lie, “Adam is not dead,” is a denial of the Truth of the Cross.  It is a denial of the very definition of Christianity – which is, “Christ in us.”  For if Adam did not die, then Christ in us is not our life.  We remain in Adam – and it does not matter what theological terms are attached to say otherwise.


The ramifications of denying the Cross are immense.  For if Adam did not die when he ate, then what did happen to Adam?  Well, if he did not die, then he really did have life in himself; Adam was the source of his own life.  And if that is true, then what we need today is not a new creation that is the product of death and resurrection – but what we need is for Jesus Christ to fix up the old creation.


Can we see that?   If Adam did not die, we don’t need Christ to deliver us from death unto newness of life.  We don’t need Christ as our life because we just need to repair the life that has always been in us.  This lie is a denial of God Himself.  It is a denial of the Redemption of Jesus Christ.  It is a denial of His death and resurrection.  This lie is really the basis of every form of false Christianity that has ever existed.


Now again, when Satan pronounced this lie in the garden he did not spell out the ramifications.  Rather, he simply appealed to the fact that Adam and Eve had a SELF – and said that they did not need to put God before SELF.  In stating that they would NOT die if they ate, Satan was denying the need for humanity to live by faith in God for all life. 


The lie today carries the same denials.  But again, the lie today is subtle.  There are a multitude of false teachings today that essentially repeat the lie, “Adam did not die” -- but that lie is not stately openly.  Rather, it is packaged in more attractive wrapping.  People are offered a Christian life that is little more a continual campaign to get God to repair the old man in Adam.  It is never openly claimed that Adam is alive – but that is the lie that is behind such teaching.  It is a denial of the Cross.  For why try to repair that which is dead?


The Temptation Today


The temptation in the garden is the same temptation that is at the core of Satan’s work today.  Note:  Satan avoids saying, “God is NOT your life.”  No.  Instead, he tells Eve, “You won’t die,” i.e., “you have life in yourself.” Of course, the two are the same lie.  This is the only conclusion possible.  But note that Satan does not mention anything that Eve will LOSE by eating – but rather -- Satan then turns her attention to what she can GAIN.  He begins to appeal to her SELF.  He says, “For God knows that in the day that you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and you shall be as gods, knowing [and really the Hebrew states, “deciding”] good and evil.”  Then he shows the woman the tree.  It says there that the woman saw the tree that it was good for food and it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make one wise, and she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave it to Adam and he ate.  


Here we see the device of Satan of appealing to our SELF.  He follows that up by trying to show it as GOOD and right – he appeals to what we might crave.  He will tell us what we can gain if we embrace what he is suggesting.  He will appeal to our earthly nature, to our sense life, to our emotional life, to our self life and he will show us things in a light that will make what he is offering look good.  Remember -- he is an angel of light. 


Satan said, “Adam, you won’t die.”  But, he does not say, “Adam, God will no longer be your life.”  Today, he tells people, “Adam is not dead.  No.  In fact, God wants you to find the REAL YOU that is in that Adam life.  You can come into your true identity and be set free.  God will fix you and repair you and bring out your greatness.”  Satan promotes these lies today and appeals to people’s needs.  But what he doesn’t tell folks is that if they embrace his lies they will never know Jesus Christ as their life. 


If you and I embrace the lie – or any subtle form of it -- that Adam never died, then we will never see the need for the personal cross.  We will never be brought to the end of ourselves because we will always be trying to repair ourselves.  We will not come into a realization of Jesus Christ as our life because we will be deceived into trying to save ourselves FOR ourselves – all the while thinking that we are walking in the Truth.


The Redemption of Jesus Christ is built upon the fact that the Adam race is dead with no possibility of repair.  Jesus Christ came to die so that the Adam race would die in Him and then through His resurrection we could be birthed as a new race.  The lie of Satan denies this at the core.


Naked But Unashamed


If we return to Genesis, we find a wonderful description of humanity that was according to the original design and purpose of God:


And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.  (Gen. 2:25)


Note that this was BEFORE the sin of Adam.  Thus, God created Adam to be NAKED.  This was God’s original will.  What does that mean?  It means that Adam had NOTHING in himself – no life, no truth, no spiritual assets at all.  But that was GOOD.  Why?  Because Adam was one with God in spirit – and was fully completed and had all that he could need in God HIMSELF.  Adam was indeed naked, but he was UNASHAMED – he was conscious of no need or lack – because God was his life.


As we have seen, the temptation was to offer Adam and Eve LIFE – but their own life apart from God.  Satan told them that they could have life in themselves – they could eat of the forbidden tree and reject God and yet LIVE.  This is what is wrapped up in the lie, “you shall not die.” 


Now look at Adam after his sin.  He is still naked.  That did not change, and never will.  But he IS ashamed; he is hiding.  Why?  Because he has lost his oneness with God.  In fact, he begins to try to cover his nakedness – he begins to try to replace God with his own efforts.  Adam believed the lie that he could live from out of himself apart from God.  And so he did depart from God.  But what he got was exactly what God said:  Death.


Because of the sin of Adam, the Adam race forever died.  There was no fixing it.  Rather, Jesus Christ came to give us, not a restored old life, but His very own life.  Jesus Christ came to restore humanity back to God through HIMSELF.  HE IS THE LIFE.  And in Him, believers become a brand new creation.


The greatest lie of Satan is to offer us that old Adam life – but to do it as if it is God’s will.  He continues to repeat the greatest lie of all:  “Adam did not die.  There is still life in Adam.  There is life in yourself.  Jesus Christ came to bring out your potential; to bring out your value; to reveal to you all that YOU can be.”  And then, of course, follows all of the various programs in the church that are the outcome of this lie – programs and teachings that are nothing more than an attempt at personality development, an attempt to enhance self-esteem, and what is commonly called, “Christian psychology.”  All of these are a denial of the Truth that Adam is dead, and a denial that the only life possible is found in a Person, Jesus Christ.


The greatest lie of all is that Adam is not dead, i.e., that Adam is alive.  This lie is a denial of the Cross, and a denial of Christianity itself.  But the greatest Truth of all is that Jesus Christ is THE LIFE – the only life – and that if we would take our place in His Cross, and pick up our Cross daily, we can find Him as our very life.

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