(Editor’s note) I receive questions at the end of each Sunday morning message. On Sunday, January 23, I taught out of 1 John 5, and the following verse was taught. A question came, and asked how 1 John 5:18 compares to Job 1 and 2. Here is my effort to reconcile what seems to be a conflict within the Scriptures.
1 John 5:18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.
Job 2:4-7 So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” 6 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
1 John 5:18 tells us that Satan (the wicked one) does not touch the child of God, yet Job 2 tells us that Satan struck Job with boils all over his body.
These verses seem to contradict one another. How are we to reconcile these verses?
In 1 John 5:18, the word “touch” is defined as follows:
(Note- in different Bibles, two different Greek words are used. These definitions are from Strong’s Concordance)
KJV, NKJV-G680, haptomai
1) to fasten one’s self to, adhere to, cling to
a) to touch
b) of carnal intercourse with a women or cohabitation
c) of levitical practice of having no fellowship with heathen practices. Things not to be touched appear to be both women and certain kinds of food, so celibacy and abstinence of certain kinds of food and drink are recommended.
d) to touch, assail anyone
NLT, NASB, RSV, ASV- G681, hapt
1) to fasten to, adhere to
a) to fasten fire to a thing, kindle, set of fire
In English, the word “touch” can include a superficial touch, an accidental touch, etc., but the two Greek words used here are much stronger. These two Greek words speak of fastening to something or someone, adhering, clinging, of becoming one with (carnal intercourse), or to fasten oneself to another to kindle a fire.
Pastor David Guzik (Calvary Chapel, Santa Barbara) says of 1 John 5:18…
“The only other place in his writings where John uses this particular verb for touch is in John 20:17, where He literally tells Mary to stop clinging to Me. Because we are born of Him, Satan cannot attach himself to us, or cling to us, in the sense he can in the life of someone who is not born of Him”.
Satan was able to strike Job with boils, but only after asking permission from God. Satan never had unrestricted access to Job, nor could he permanently attach himself to Job in any way, in a day to day kind of experience.
Satan has restricted access to the Christian. He has much more access, if not free access, to the non Christian.
John goes on to tell us in the next verse:
1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
The word sway means “influence”. The whole world lies under the influence of the wicked one, and yet the Christian has the advantage of having God’s Spirit and God’s word. The Christian has absolute truth available to him, and can know it via God’s Holy Spirit.
Therefore, in this passage, the main meaning is that Satan cannot “attach himself” to the Christian, does not have unrestricted access, and that the Christian isn’t under the sway of the wicked one with no alternative, but can and does know the truth of God, and does not need to be a victim of Satan in any way.
It is true that Satan attacks Christians through lies, deceit, temptation, etc., but he cannot not posses a Christian, or attach himself to a Christian in any way.
I spoke with a dear saint of God recently who is going through a very difficult time in life. This person has been very much wronged as of late, and negative things seem to be piling up one after another.
In the course of our conversation, this person said a couple of things that I often hear.
“I don’t know how much more I can take”. “I’m not handling this well”.
How we view the “handling” of our problems is very interesting to me, and I think we (Christians) get it wrong a lot.
I think we often feel that we aren’t handling things well for the following reasons:
1. We are very emotional, experiencing feelings of anger, resentment, revenge, sadness, despair.
2. We resent that we feel such emotions.
3. On occasions, we say or do things that we regret.
4. We find ourselves complaining to God or to others.
5. We are not ourselves. We are easily distracted, struggle to read our Bibles, and can’t concentrate in prayer. We say things like, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me”.
6. We are tempted to stay away from church or fellowship, because our emotions are depleted, and we can’t stand to talk to one more person.
7. Overall, as Christians, we expect that we ought to be much more in control of our emotions, and not feeling so out of control.
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Matthew 12:22-24 Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. 23And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” 24Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”
When the topic of Jesus comes up, opinions will vary greatly. It has always been that way. Discussions about Jesus always reveal what is in people’s hearts.
In Matthew 12, Jesus healed a demon possessed man that had been brought to Him. The two responses to this healing couldn’t have been farther apart.
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Something happened to me back in October of 2007, but I have been reluctant and forgetful to write about it. Even now, I am not particularly moved to write, but it feels right, and will probably help someone, so here goes.
Last October, at a Men’s Retreat, I had, what I believe, was a glimpse through the veil that separates the world we live in and that invisible world all around us. I saw what I believed to be demons.
Let me say that though the Bible speaks much about the demonic world, and about Satan himself, there is much that the Bible doesn’t say. I want to qualify my experience by saying this: it was MY experience, and I have to interpret it through what the Bible says. The Bible doesn’t speak exhaustively on the subject of demons, so some of what I will share here is subjective, and nothing more than MY interpretation of what happened.
Men from five Calvary Chapels had gathered together to study the life of King David. On Saturday night, Pastor Ross Reinman of CC Sebastapol was teaching a great study on David’s sin with Bathsheba. His teaching included, of course, the topic of sexual sin, sexual lust, and the consequences of immorality. Ross had asked for the Saturday night slot, explaining that he had a lot to say. He spoke for quite some time, but it did not seem like a long time. The teaching was solid, and since the topic of sexual temptation is familiar to most men, he had our collective attention.
I was sitting in the front row, and Ross was in front of me and slightly to my left. The old wood frame chapel has windows along the sides, and through those windows, to my right, something caught my attention. I only saw it with my peripheral vision. At first I thought I had seen a bird, or a bat outside the window, fluttering around in the shadows. I turned my head, and there was nothing there.
Ross continued teaching, and I listening, and then there it was again. I was sure that I had seen something. It was more than just a shadow, but less than something material. I wondered if I was seeing a glare or a shadow on the window, caused by Ross’ movements and the lights shining on him, but the angle of the lights were all wrong for that. Besides, what I was seeing appeared to be very dark, even black, and not bright, like a reflection.
This happened about four or five times, and then suddenly it hit me. I believed that the Lord was showing me that the Enemy was just outside the chapel. Truly, a cold chill gripped me, my heart rate increased, and I became alarmed, even frightened. My hands got clammy, and my mouth turned dry. I know in my head that Jesus can defeat any demonic being or beings, but I am not ashamed to tell you that I was frightened. The Lord of Hosts is my Savior, but I had just gotten a fresh glimpse of the Enemy.
I was suddenly aware of evil, wickedness, and hatred. May I say, it was PERFECT hatred. It was the fullness of evil. I felt as though the entities just a few feet from me were like rabid, vicious dogs, being held back by a Hand more powerful than they. I felt that these entities were furious about the solid teaching that was being brought forth regarding sexual sin. That their work, their influence, and their grip on some of the men in the room was being broken by the candid and powerful teaching of God’s Word.
I believed that they wanted to stop the teaching, disrupt the meeting, and have the men moved away from what was going on, but they were being restrained. I felt the tension, I experienced the battle, and I was closer to the action than I wanted to be.
As soon as Ross finished, I stood to address the men. I was nervous, frightened, rattled, and stumbling over my words. I am not even sure that I made much sense, but the men could tell that something had just happened to me, and I was trying to share it with them.
I told them of my experience, and my interpretation of it. I wanted them to remember that we as men, are in a spiritual battle, and that we live in a world full of sexual temptation. I shared with them that I believed that God had allowed me to see what I saw in order to show me how intense the battle was in some of their lives. I believed that as Ross taught, God was wanting to break strongholds, and patterns of sin that some of them were bound up in.
I felt that the Enemy HATED what was going on in that chapel, and that he couldn’t resist fighting against the work of God. It was almost as though the demons accidentally manifested their presence for a moment, since they were so incensed at the teaching that was going on. They let themselves be seen, and I had seen them. What I saw alarmed me, and now I had to sound the trumpet to the other men.
I went home that Saturday night, needing to be at church the next day for Sunday service. It was a weird drive home. I was sure what I had seen, and to this day, still believe that I saw some of the hosts of darkness. I also believe that the Lord only pulled back one small corner of the veil that separates the visible and invisible worlds. That was fine with me. I had seen enough.
I have had similar experiences only two other times, both times being when we lived in Orange County. Neither of those times alarmed me like this experience did.
Very simply, the Lord reminded me that we are in a spiritual war, and the Enemy of our souls is a vicious, perfectly wicked foe. I was also reminded of the all encompassing, comprehensive grace and power of God. How many times has the Enemy tried to hurt me, stumble me, and even physically kill me? How many times has Jesus defended me, protected me, and rescued me? I’ll never know in this life, but I will most certainly know in the next.
The experience sobered me, made me hate sin more, and love Jesus more. How good it is to have Him as my Shepherd and Lord.
Brothers and sisters, we know it in our heads, but we also need to know it in our hearts, and act upon the words of Paul…take up the whole armor of God and stand.
Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.