Who are you truly and ultimately living your life before? Objectively, on a factual, that answer is God, the final Arbiter of the universe. Yet, it is the subjective answer to that question that ultimately determines the direction, quality, and power of your life. Kathy addresses this key question in the fourth essay of the Cosmic Battle series! Enjoy and be edified! – Arthur
“Lies take us captive, but the truth shall set us free.”
“Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.” ~ Col 2:18-19
When it comes to watching a sports team like baseball, basketball, or football, I usually can’t keep up. I may not be able to track the players on the court nor understand their playing positions and roles in the game, but I know this much—every game has an umpire and/or referees charged with making judgment calls on plays. They have incredible power to call fair balls or foul balls, and their word goes, even when infuriated players cry foul! Given, umpires and referees do have faults, but they are needed and they have the crucial job of impartially declaring what really happened. In the cosmic battle of truth versus lie, we find a totally different kind of umpire.
In the Greek, the word “disqualify” (KJV says “beguile”, NASB says “defrauding you of your prize”) is katabrabeuō, which means “to decide as umpire against someone, to declare him unworthy of the prize.” It is ironic that Paul warns us not to let anyone declare us unworthy of the prize—the sharing in the inheritance of the saints in light—because we are unworthy beings. But, God, in his mercy and grace, has declared us righteous, declared us worthy in His Son! He has “qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1:12-14) The greatest reality in the universe is Christ making us able to possess true and everlasting reward! That’s the truth claim of God. All other falsehoods and lies are in a real sense declaring us unworthy of this prize of victory.
Paul warned the church at Colossae, who was being influenced by a Greek form of Jewish philosophy, to not be disqualified by 1) insisting on asceticism, 2) worshiping angels, 3) going on in detail about visions, 4) and not holding fast to the Head, Christ. Anything that does not hold fast to Christ is robbing us of reality, of real treasures.
So, when evolutionists insist that we come from fishy ancestors, they are declaring us unworthy of the truth that we are created in the image of God! When atheists insist that we turn to dust when we die, they are declaring us unworthy of the truth that one day we will see God face to face! “As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.” (Ps 17:15).
The confidence and boldness of David’s declaration is one that skeptics are eager to suppress, and disqualify. They say, “No, when you awake, you are not and will not be satisfied in the likeness of Christ. When you awake, you are merely DNA that neither knows nor cares.” Lies like that captivate us and rob us of truth and reality!
Satan, the Accuser, is the best at speaking against someone in court. In the heavenly court, Satan is like an umpire who declares that Job will curse God, that Job is in fact an enemy of God, and not the blameless and upright man God says he is (Job 1:8). Satan has also stood up as umpire to accuse Joshua the high priest (Zech 3:1), Peter (Luke 22:31), and all who follow Christ (1 Peter 5:8). In the cosmic battle, starting from the very beginning in the garden, there may be a relentless umpire always deciding against us with sin and deception.
But in faith, which is the assurance of things hoped for, we can trust the words in Revelations 12:10-11. “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” In that day, God’s final word will trump Satan’s word. While Satan keeps crying “foul!”, God declares us “safe”, chosen to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and belief in the truth (2 Thess. 2:9-13).
When we awake every morning, may we be as Matthew Henry puts it, “satisfied with his likeness set before us in His Word, and with his likeness stamped upon us by his renewing grace.”
– Kathy Hung