Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 4, 1949

The Devil's Lures - - No. 2

R. L. Whiteside

In a former article attention was given to some of the devil's doctrinal lures, but there are others—many others.

Some claim that baptism may be performed by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion; but so far as I know, no one claims that all three acts should be performed on one person. I shall not stop here to discuss the meaning of the Greek words for baptize and baptism. But Jesus was baptized—surely no one will contend that he had three acts performed on him. Which was it? If I thought he had water sprinkled or poured on him, I would not be satisfied with immersion; or, if I thought he had water poured on him, I would not be satisfied with sprinkling. He set an example which I want to follow. In the Greek, as plainly stated in the marginal reading, Mark says that Jesus was baptized into the Jordan; then he came up straightway out of the water. To say that some other way is just as good is one of the devil's lures. Did he catch you with that lure? Be sure.

And the saying that one way is as good as another is a sort of dragnet. If that means anything, it means that man's way, or the devil's way, is as good as God's way. It is meant to catch the weakling, the person who has no disposition to contend for the right, but is willing to drift with the crowd he chances to be with. Such a person is too spineless to be worth anything to any cause. And a feature of this same dragnet notion is, that it makes no difference what you believe, just so you are honest and sincere in your belief. These theories put the stamp of approval on every form of idolatry, every kind of religion, and every kind of gospel perversion. If such theories were true, truth and righteousness amount to nothing. Does anyone really believe that it makes no difference what you believe? Such theories make every one a law unto himself, and that is anarchy. Yes, there is a lot of religious anarchy in this country.

People use less sense in religion than in anything else. No one would say that one chemical preparation or medicine is as good as another for a cold or a fever, or that it makes no difference what you take just so you believe it is all right. Nor will anyone say it makes no difference what you believe about farming, just so you farm. The devil is not interested in deluding you in such matters; but he is intensely interested in leading you astray in morals and religion. By such theories just mentioned he leads you to deny or ignore the fundamentals of all knowledge, namely, that there is such a thing as truth and right. Now, a thing is either true or it is not true; a thing is either right or it is not right; and that holds good in history, science, philosophy, and religion.

But the devil cannot deceive everybody into thinking that one way is as good as another. Some feel that there must be such a way as truth and right. If he can, the devil will delude these into the notion that there are so many ways preached that no common person can know which is right. Some say, "There are great scholars preaching all these different doctrines; how, then, can I with little learning know which is right?" So they make no effort to obey the Lord. But they are badly deceived when they think they cannot know what is right. Study carefully these words of the Lord: "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6). That is as plain and as positive as a statement can be made. Wishing to be right, or preferring to be right, is not enough. Hunger and thirst is expressive of intense desire. A man lost in a desert would soon become so hungry and thirsty that he would, if he could, give a train load of gold for food and drink. Are you that hungry and thirsty for righteousness? If so, you will find the right way, and you will not rest until you do find the right. No honest seeker for the right way fails in his efforts to find the right way. Jesus gives you that assurance. If a man does not love the truth more than he loves his own ways God sends him strong delusions that he should believe a lie (2 Thess. 2:8-12).

The devil lures many people into doing many things they know to be wrong. The lures are fleshly gratification, fun, and pleasure. There is a certain amount of fun and pleasure in some sinful practices. Any one who is, or has been, full of life and vitality knows this; and he should know also that sinful pleasures may lead to fearful consequences here, and will certainly lead to an awful doom in the world to come. Moses was a man of great bodily strength and vitality. When he died at the age of one hundred and twenty, "his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated" (Deut. 34:7). To a man of that sort temptation appeals with much greater force than to a listless weakling. As prince in the royal palace he had funds and opportunities for indulging in all sorts of fleshly pleasures; yet by faith "he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to share ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he looked unto the recompense of reward" (Heb. 11:2426). He knew that the pleasures of sin were for a season—not lasting; but that there was in store an enduring reward. This was more attractive to him than the devil's lures. And that example, as well as many others, was written for our learning. And all nature teaches us plainly the truth of the Bible statement that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. If a man will not believe what the Bible says, his own experience and observation should teach him the folly of allowing the devil to lead him to live a life of fleshly indulgence.

Closely allied to the fleshly lures is the desire for fame and popularity. Of course any Christians like to have the good will of good people, but he will not resort to any unholy schemes to enhance his fame and popularity. In fact such scheming utterly unfits one for 'being a true believer in Christ. Jesus said, "I receive not glory from men." Then he says, "How can ye believe, who receive glory one of another, and the glory that cometh from the only God ye seek not ?" And Paul says, "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God ? or am I striving to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10). When a preacher seeks to please men so as to gain favors with them, he ceases to be a servant of Christ.

What has been said so far leads up to other matters that also need attention.