LIFE on planet earth today is a despairing scene of righteousness in reverse. The deeds of carnal excess, immorality and unspeakable perversion have produced a baleful harvest.
We are daily reminded by commentators that over a million American teenage girls become pregnant each year, and four out of five of them are unmarried. Polls reveal that almost 80 percent of young people see nothing wrong with premarital sex. Homosexuality and abortion are legally approved and publicly practiced with a minimum of outraged protest. Godly families and individuals find themselves almost beleaguered in an alien world of entrenched evil. Perplexed parents wrestle with decisions about their children’s education, and how they can be protected from permissive sex education which also provides the tools for illicit indulgence.
For the first time true Christians are beginning to understand what Jesus meant when He said, “That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15. Even though all is not grossly obscene, there is a fleshly flavor to those things which occupy the time and thought of most Americans today. The glittering, artificial world of entertainment has confronted many sincere Christians with a crisis of conscience. Even that which passes for innocent family fare is serving the purposes of Satan’s artfully structured campaign against truth. Beyond the rock-porn music, the drugs, the alcohol and the sex, lies a shadowy realm of compromise in which the church and the world carry on a cozy camaraderie. This is the sphere of the “highly esteemed.” Here is where the children of the flesh and children of the spirit sit together to watch the nightly offerings of the television networks, and to applaud the glittering stars in their tawdry roles.
In this exciting dimension of life, there are no restricted sections for Christians and non-Christians. All crowd the same bleachers to scream support for the idolized performers on the stage and field.
Is it important that we talk about this comfortable collusion between such ideological enemies? I think so. Something is wrong when saints and sinners enjoy the same brand of entertainment and laugh at the same jokes. Indeed, I believe that a proper understanding of this paradox can lead to the salvation of millions who now perceive no inconsistency in such congeniality. It will be the purpose of this book to show that Satan’s last-ditch attack against Seventh-day Adventist Christians will be based upon an incongruous, cordial relationship between the church and the world.
We shall learn why Satan is so determined to make God’s people sin, and why he always attacks them through the medium which appeals to man’s strongest emotions. James wrote: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this ... to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27. If the secret of a true relationship with God is to resist even the smallest contamination of the world, we certainly need to find out what the “world” consists of and why it is such an enemy of God. Spots of worldliness here and there cannot be a part of true religion. A clean separation is required.
A great controversy has been raging for six thousand years between Christ and Satan, the flesh and the spirit, and the church and the world. Eyewitness reporters have preserved careful accounts of the tides of warfare as Satan’s army has repeatedly laid siege to the camp of the saints. Those records have been divinely protected in order that we might be able to study the tactics of our great enemy. Never has it been more important to recognize the weapons and the battle plans of the one who is committed to our destruction.
We can truthfully say that one of the chief themes of the Bible is God’s salvation plan to produce a holy, obedient people, and Satan’s program to make man disobey. Very early in the conflict Satan charged God with making impossible demands. The law was ridiculed as too strict for fallen man to obey. By these accusations, he sought to justify his own course of disobedience. Convinced that neither Adam nor his descendants would ever be able to overcome sin, Satan gloated over the prospect of forcing God to change His plan and take sin into heaven, or else to concede that His plan of salvation was a failure because no one could qualify for entrance there. Thus was born Satan’s obsession to fulfill his own prediction, and to keep every human being under the bondage of continued transgression.
Clearly then, the human race is the focus of a tremendous controversy. Since the justice and integrity of God has been challenged before the universe, the issues to be settled are of eternal cosmic concern. The outcome of the conflict will either jeopardize the security of an ageless future for billions of beings, or it will eternally remove all grounds for questioning ever again God’s dealing with
What a staggering thought it is that you and I are to play a crucial role in the outcome of this awesome contest! Every time we fight our own little battle against temptation, we are truly a part of that larger conflict, the results of which will affect God’s honor throughout the inhabited universe. The great controversy between Christ and Satan is not being fought on some faraway galactic battlefield millions of light-years from planet earth. It is taking place this very moment in the arena of your heart and mind.
How few there are who understand the vast consequences of these personal struggles against Satan’s wiles! But Satan himself is fully aware of what is involved. This is his last chance to attack God’s character and government, and there is no lack of determination and zeal to keep every soul from claiming a total victory over sin.