Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?’ ”
Thoughts inspired by chapter 7 of the book God Had a Son Before Mary Did.
In the above verses, Jesus was revealing something about Satan. He was telling the leaders of Israel that Satan loves order and that he has it in his kingdom of darkness. Satan’s dominion is structured, and orderly, and efficient. He despises anarchy and confusion, and he will not tolerate such things within the ranks of the fallen heavenly creatures who were cast out of heaven with him.
It is very important for us to understand that Satan was cast out of heaven not because he despised the orderliness and efficiency of God’s kingdom but because he envied it, and when he was cast down to earth, he did not lose his admiration of order. Men and women who have no self-control and have given themselves over to self-indulgence and fleshly lusts are despised by the Devil. Vandals and other out-of-control human beings are held in contempt by Satan. There is discipline and high standards of conduct required of all humans with whom Satan loves and uses, such as the men whom Jesus called “sons of the Devil”. Those men fasted at least twice a week; they prayed loudly and publicly on a regular basis; they were always present for the religious gatherings of Israel; they gave tithes of everything that came into their possession; and they treated with great contempt other human beings who were less devoted to religion than they were. Jesus called these men “sons of the Devil” because (1) that is how the Devil is and (2) those men were so much like him.
I said all of that so that you would understand why I say the following: In some respects, human society is better off with the Devil than without him because he influences men to live up to strict standards of morality, cleanliness, and order. Without the Devil, men go wild and give themselves to all kinds of perverse, fleshly lusts and lawless activity. When Satan is in control of men, those men are wicked, but they are wicked in an orderly way, and they impose that order on societies, which has some benefits.
Then again, those people who are overcome by lustful desires and are despised by the Devil and his ministers have the advantage of being aware of how unclean they are. Being out of control – out of God’s control, Satan’s control, or even self-control – these pour souls are more likely to hear the call of Jesus and surrender to his love than those who are proud of the religious standards that they maintain. We saw these things among people when Jesus was here. Jesus was called the friend of harlots (Mt. 21:32), while he warned the self-righteous sons of Satan that harlots would be welcomed into the kingdom of God before them (Mt. 21:31).
If you have messed up your life, and if you know it, then you are closer to God’s heart than the greatest religious figures of earth who have not humbled themselves to Jesus and received the baptism of the holy Ghost. It does not matter who you are or what you have done; if you know you are wrong, you are wiser than the Pope, the self-righteous head of the greatest abomination of earth, and you are cleaner in God’s sight than the exalted pastor of the largest congregation in town if he has not been washed from sin by the power of the baptism of the holy Spirit. “Be of good cheer!” my sinner friend! “It’s me!” And if you feel guilty, then you have heard that voice.
Jesus said he didn’t come for those who think they see but for those who know they are blind. The “great physician” said that he came to heal the sick, not to heal those who claim to be well. Are you sick in spirit? Are you blind concerning the things of God? If you confess that you are, then God has chosen you, has already touched your heart, and you have something to be thankful for. There are millions who are as sick and blind as you are but who will not confess it. They choose rather to hide behind their pastors, priests, steeples, stain-glass windows, and doctrines and titles, and unless they repent, they will die in the shadow of such things instead of in the light of Christ. They may be better off in some ways than the wretches who are wasting their lives with drunkenness, rebellion against authority, and immorality, but they are not better off than the weak and miserable wretches, like me, who have fallen at the feet of Jesus and confessed our need of his mercy.