Not So Faust …

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I read a story in high school, that I think actually played a role in my responding to Christ’s call.

The story has many variants over the centuries, but I will relate the version from my high school textbook.

Faust was a man who felt he had learned all he could. He became bored with life and lamented not being able to learn more. So he made a deal with the Devil: in exchange for his soul he could receive earthly knowledge and pleasures. After a certain amount of years, the Devil would come to collect.

Faust lived for many years growing in knowledge and enjoying many pleasures. After those years, and knowing that his time was growing short, he purchased a Bible to use to defend himself when the Devil would come. He carried the Bible everywhere with him.

One night, while Faust was eating dinner, there was a knock at the door. He went and opened the door, and there stood the Devil. In that moment, Faust realized he had left his Bible on the table. There was no time to get to it. The Devil took the man’s soul down to Hell.

When I became a Christian, I read the story of Simon the Magician in Acts chapter 8 (ESV):

But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” 11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed. . . .

18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” 24 And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

Here are some lessons to be learned:

  • There are many today who offer the message that we can get happiness, health, and wealth in this world. This kind of teaching says that a) we can tell God what to do for our every whim, b) we can buy our way into the Kingdom of Heaven, and/or c) we can earn a better standing with God.

Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
John 15:20

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:5-9

  • Many believe that it is enough to be a good person, go to church, and/or own a Bible to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
Psalm 14:3

And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
Mark 10:18

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
Romans 3:20-25

There is nothing we can do to escape Satan’s grasp nor the wrath of God. Jesus paid the price that moves us from being children of Satan (John 8:44) to saving us into children of God (1 John 3:1). Through Christ’s faithfulness we can have faith that Satan has no lasting power over us, that sin has no lasting hold on us, and we are God’s loved and redeemed children!

    • Esther
    • February 8th, 2015

    This is one of my subjects at the moment at Uni.

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