Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Prosperity Gospel and Satan's Wager

The prosperity gospel is no gospel at all. It is a false teaching within Christianity that says "Believe in Jesus and He will reward you!" This reward comes in the fashion of health and wealth. It denies the doctrines of the Fall and original sin saying in effect we are 'little gods'. And as little gods we can effect change in our lives. 'Name it and claim it' is the mantra of the prosperity gospel. And when things are named and they do not bear the intended results, then it is the fault of the person who did not have enough faith. The prosperity gospel is a system of works that denies the sovereign grace of God. Do want that Mercedes? Then sow a seed of money to your pastor who promises that you get a hundred fold in return. The bottom line is this, believe in Jesus and He will make your life materially better. In other words, only have faith in the savior if you want the good life. 

The question, "Do we believe because we have or want a good life?" is not new. We hear it most often in the negative, "I cannot believe in God because of all the suffering in the world." In fact, Satan, himself had a theory. His theory was people basically believe in God because God is good to them. Take away His grace and they will no longer believe in God. This was the wager Satan made with God regarding Job.

Job was wealthy man. But Satan challenged The Lord saying, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” (Job. 1:9-11) Satan was making the assumption that Job's faith was a result of his blessing. God allowed Job to inflict suffering on the man by destroying his family and possessions. Job's response was not a lack a faith but an acknowledgement on God's sovereignty saying, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job. 1:21) Job never lost his faith. He never charged God with wrong (Job. 1:22) In fact it is from Job we here the often quoted phrase of hope, "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth." (Job 19:25) This act of faith was uttered in the midst of suffering. 

But the prosperity preacher would have you believe that the only reason to believe is so that one may have wealth and health. This is a teaching of demons. (1 Tim. 4:1) Nowhere in Scripture is this the promise. Ask John the Baptist who was beheaded for speaking the truth. Ask Paul who was stoned and whipped. In fact Paul had a 'better' life before he became a Christian. And let us not forget the warning Jesus issued to Peter upon his three-fold affirmation of his love toward his Savior, "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This He said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” (Jn. 21:17b-19)

To follow Jesus is to go where He leads. Not where we want to go. In fact, becoming a Christian is to turn away from the world and its temptations. (Rom. 12:2) True faith in Christ weathers the storms of afflictions as they will come. And if you only believe for the sake of accumulation, well, you are betting on the devil!