IF I WERE THE DEVIL BY HERBERT NOE
Do these diabolical schemes seem familiar?
If you were the devil, what would you be like? What would you desire and how would you attempt to fulfill your desires? Scripture clearly answers these questions. The Bible tells us that Satan often appears as an "angel of light." His greatest ambition is to be "like the Most High" (Isaiah 14:11), and he seeks to accomplish this goal by deceiving men. Looking at Scripture, I have decided that there would be certain things I would do if I were the devil.
First, I would create an imitation Jesus. To promote my false Christ I would exalt, brag about, and lift up the name of Jesus. I would present this new image to every ecumenical council. One-worldism would be the popular theme. Religiously divergent groups would be united and divisive separatists would be denounced under the banner of my "Jesus." I would put His name in hillbilly and gospel-rock music, calling it contemporary. I would also lure the entertainment world into my campaign. Gospel comedians and nightclub performers would be solicited to appear on popular talk shows. I would sing of "Sweet Jesus" until the world was sugared into "believing." I would promote His name with balloons and bubble gum, kites and yo-yo's. The world would recognize that this Jesus is not narrow; after all, Scripture records that He ate with publicans and sinners. I would have worldly preachers enamouring the saints as well as the sinners.
Never would I allude to the fact that one day Christ will return riding a white horse, treading the winepress of the wrath of God until the blood flows knee deep. I would make certain that His name was used to deceive the whole world. The people must not realize that the real Jesus prophesied of false prophets to come in His name. Yes, my false Jesus would deceive all but a very few.
Second, I would focus on an imitation Christian "experience." Emotionalism would be its basis and "good feeling" its goal. I'd get people singing, laughing, and crying. I would not allow them to fully realize the ugliness of sin. People would be seeking an experience and exclaiming, "It's wonderful! I found it!" I would even cause people to get emotional over the crucifixion--as long as they failed to see Christ as He really was, hanging under God's curse for the salvation of depraved humanity. People would be teary-eyed, but never convicted. I'd have a big bumper sticker that read, "Smile, Jesus loves you!" Humanistic, sentimental songs would be used to heighten the emotional climate. Young people would go from my gospel concerts so moved that they would neck all the way home. I would exalt human personality and wisdom, calling it charisma. I would have an imitation human experience that people could "relate to."
Third, I would create an illusion of false security. People would be comfortable in their religion and ritual. This security might be based on baptism, dedication, church membership, or other people's approval. I may even give them a false security concerning misapplied grace. They would be encouraged to sin that grace might abound. Preachers, deacons, and Sunday school teachers could live two lives and quote grace verses to prove their salvation. I would certainly make them forget that sin brings chastisement or even death. People would exhaust themselves doing church work and earning prizes for "the most" or "the best." They could excuse their temper, impatience, wickedness, sharp tongue, and lack of genuine love by blaming it on their flesh.
Fourth, I'd promote an imitation Bible. I'd paint it black, put gold edges on it, and advertise it as "Thus saith the Lord." I would write dozens of versions, each one more "understandable" than the last. I would nullify the true Word of God and thus insure a lukewarm, self-satisfied, Laodicean church.
This is where we are today. We have been duped by counterfeits. The name "Jesus" cannot save anyone. Nor will the name "Jesus Christ" or the "Lord Jesus Christ" provide salvation. The first two verses of John say, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God." The following verses tell about Him, the Word. The twelfth verse states, "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." "His name" refers to the "Word" and not the name "Jesus." Psalm 138:2 says, "Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." There is only one Jesus--the Jesus who exemplifies the biblical messianic description. He is not the Jesus who can be "publicized" on television or on bumper stickers.
Those who accept the Christ of the Bible will not be hailed as popular heroes. The Bible tells us that God's servants "are made as the filth of the world, and are the off-scouring of all things." Today we have a Christian experience that is merely sentimental. But Scripture has exposed the devil's devices and instructed us in combating these falsehoods. Don't let the devil dupe you with an imitation.