Switching Positive and Negative
Yesterday, as I write, I had quite an interesting experience that suddenly switched on a light in my mind. Days before, I had struggled with driving an old-model, but still trusty, Toyota Hi-lux pick-up truck which my kind nephew has lent for my use while my wife Paz and I are here in Malaybalay City, the home of my birth.
The whole time the truck had had a hard-starting problem because of a weak battery. For this reason I had brought the battery several times to an auto-electrical shop for recharging. For a while the truck would run well. Eventually, however, the truck wouldn’t start, even with the battery at full charge. I sent for an auto-electrician, who diagnosed the problem as a defective set of glow plugs. So a new set was installed, and for days the truck functioned well again.
Then, just four days ago, the truck would crank a bit when I started it, and then — nothing! I took out the battery, brought it to the shop for recharging, but the auto-electrician and I agreed it was time to get a new battery instead. Weeks earlier he had checked that the truck didn’t have any grounded wiring nor a malfunctioning alternator. These would have caused the battery to discharge or fail to recharge.
So off to an auto battery store I went, got a new battery and, with the excitement of a teenager, proceeded to connect the wires to the battery terminals. The battery terminals looked like those of the old battery, so I placed the wires the same way the old battery had been placed in its slot. Then I wasted no time in starting up the truck. To my chagrin, no lights came on the dashboard. It was totally black — dark!
I suspected that I had put the wires onto the wrong terminals: I had hooked the negative plug on to the positive terminal, and the positive plug on to the negative terminal. No wonder, as I thought back, the wire clasps didn’t fit. One I had to pry to loosen it, and the other I had to hammer to make it tighter. Even if I had tried to turn the battery the other way, the wires were not long enough to reach the terminals.
I went back posthaste to the battery store. Sure enough, I saw that the new battery had a different terminal orientation (“polarity”) from that of the old battery! The salesman felt sorry, and apologized that he had not looked carefully at the old battery’s terminal polarity. (I wasn’t technically savvy enough to have checked this beforehand either.) He readily offered to exchange the battery I had bought, with a “reverse” version of the same brand. Conscience-stricken, he even brought the replacement battery to our home, where the truck was parked in the yard.
But of course, with the “reverse” battery installed, the truck started up immediately, and I was delighted to hear again its familiar hum and roar!
What an apt analogy about our Christian lives, I thought! So here I am, writing about it.
At start wired and oriented right
The Creation Story in Genesis 1-3 tells us that our first parents (Adam and Eve) were created “in God’s image” or “likeness” (Genesis 1:26-27). Verse 31 continues to comment about God’s creating man — along with various kinds of cattle, creeping thing and beast — on that sixth day of the Creation Week: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” Man was created very good — not damaged. Israel’s King Solomon wrote: “Truly, this only I have found: that God made man upright…” (Ecclesiastes 7:29).
Man was wired rightly, had the right orientation toward God. Until the wily serpent came along to mess up man’s “wiring” and “orientation.” God told Adam and Eve: “Of every tree of the garden [of Eden] you may freely eat…” (Genesis 2:16) — a “positive” command. God continued: “…but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Verse 17) — a “negative” command, with a “negative” consequence: death.
Most people know how the story ends up. The devil, in the guise of a serpent, came along to try to reverse things in man’s thinking and view — and succeed he did! What formerly seemed like a positive command (“you may freely eat…”) became negative in man’s mind. “If we can freely eat of every tree in the garden, why keep us away from eating the fruit of all trees? Why should there be an exception?” Mother Eve may have thought to herself.
The subtle and wily Satan saw that angle and insinuated that God was holding back from man something that He has kept for Himself, as symbolized by the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” [See: The Divine Prerogatives.] Whereas that tree should have been a scary thing to keep oneself away from (something “negative”), the devil made it suddenly appear to be attractive (“good for food…pleasant to the eyes…a tree desirable to make one wise,” Genesis 3:6) — very “positive!”
And Satan’s “sales pitch” was helped by an “untruth in advertising”: “You will not surely die…your eyes will be opened…you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Verse 4). [See: “Your Eyes Will Be Opened!”]
How suddenly Eve (and later Adam also) switched allegiance from their Creator to Satan the devil!
Now rewired differently
Satan successfully messed up how God had originally “wired” His human creation! God knew what effect this would have on the entirety of His creation. He moved fast to get the now Satan-rewired human beings out of the Garden of Eden, lest they would partake of the “tree of life” and live forever (Genesis 3:22- 24) — in sin. [See: The Flaming Sword East of Eden.]
Since then the descendants of Adam and Eve have made their “moves” as rewired by Satan: each man or woman following what is right in their own minds, but which leads to death (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25; 21:2). Truly that’s what happened to mankind several generations from Adam and Eve.
The result: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Genesis 6:5, 11-12).
If God had not stopped violent mankind in its tracks, it would have happened to all life as Jesus predicted about our times today: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22). [See: “The Next Chapter of History.”]
God preserved mankind by saving righteous Noah and his family through a worldwide flood (Genesis 6-8). We who have lived since the flood all descended from that family. Isn’t it significant that Jesus compared our present times to being “as in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37-39)?
So effectively has Satan rewired mankind to the point that, from being originally the “children of God,” sinful mankind has now become the “children of the devil.” [See: Are We All God’s Children? and Where Did the Devil Come From?]
The apostle Paul hit it right when he wrote about our common human dilemma. Satan has so rewired us human beings to where our human (or “carnal,” fleshly) nature that we have stored inside us is “enmity against God.” We have become “not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). Paul saw that this carnal nature in man (Paul himself included) has become so entrenched in man that it has become a “law” in our members, the “law of sin and death” (Romans 7:21-24; 8:2). [See: A Law-abiding Universe — But Man!]
Paul also compared entrenched sin to “strongholds” that need to be pulled down (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) before we can really hit it well with God. [See: Breaking Down our “Walls of Jericho“ and The Deceitfulness of Sin.]
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah encapsulates the history of mankind these past almost 6,000 years: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). So thoroughly has Satan succeeded in reversing the moral and spiritual “polarities” of man that what God calls “positive,” man calls “negative” — and vice-versa! The switch has gone so bad that now those who teach deceptions and lies are considered the “spiritual liberators.” Those whom God has sent to preach His truth are often considered as deceived themselves, and as deceiving and oppressing people.
As King Solomon continued in the Scripture verse quoted earlier: “But they [men] have sought out many schemes [KJV, ‘inventions’]” (Ecclesiastes 7:29). Man has devised his own rules of living, in many if not all cases apart from and contrary to God’s revealed laws. [See: “Your Eyes Will Be Opened!“]
The apostle Paul wrote about those who “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” — those who believe the lies of Satan, who is the father of liars (John 8:44): “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 1:18-25).
HE says, he says
Here’s a sampling of what Satan has done to reverse the moral and spiritual polarities of mankind in such a way that when God says something, man says something else — invariably the very opposite!
- God says: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3).
Man says: The more “gods” to help me, the better.
- God says: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I the LORD your God, am a jealous God…” (Exodus 20:4-5).
Man says: I’m just human; I need some physical, material “aid” to help me visualize God and relate to Him.
- God says: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).
Man says: I need, and want, to use God’s name to make me sound “tough” or else pious.
- God says: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God…The LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-12).
Man says: Christ has made me free to choose any which day of the week — or all days — to make “holy” and on which to worship my God. [See: What If the Sabbath Is Still Holy?]
- God says: “The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts…These are the feasts of the LORD which you shall proclaim at their appointed times” (Leviticus 23:2, 4; see the rest of the chapter for the feasts God has commanded).
Man says: Those are feasts of and for the Jews only. Jesus has set me free to make up my own festivals as I please. [See: The Feasts of God in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers — or to Be Observed? True Worship, God’s Feasts and the Jews — Part 1, God’s Feasts and the Jews — Part 2, and God’s Feasts and the Jews — Part 3.]
- God says: “These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth….Nevertheless these you shall not eat…They are unclean to you…an abomination to you….You shall not make yourselves abominable…nor shall you make yourselves unclean with them, lest you be defiled by them….This is the law of the animals and birds and every living creature that moves in the waters, and every creature that creeps on the earth, to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten” (Leviticus 11:2, 4, 8, 10, 20, 43, 46-47; see also Deuteronomy 14:3-20).
- God says: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination….If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13).
Man says: I was born this way; I have no choice! I can’t change myself. Besides, what’s wrong if my partner and I are mutually consenting to our relationship and we’re not hurting anyone? [ See: The Rainbow Connection, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Matthew 11:23-24; Why Is the “Unpardonable Sin” Unpardonable? (regarding man’s free moral agency), God’s Spirit and Obedience, and The Higher Law of the Spirit.] God roundly condemns especially the religious and political leaders of nations (beginning with Israel, Romans 2:5-11) who disregard God’s laws — who even hold them in contempt. “Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain” (Ezekiel 22:26-27). [See: Beware of False Prophets, The Law of Christ, Spiritual Dyslexia, Is Jesus Your Lord — Really?, and Moses and Jesus — Are They Contraries?
- God says: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).
Man says: [Believing Satan’s lie, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:1-4)] Even when I die I will merely pass on to another form of existence in the “afterlife.” I have an “immortal soul.” [See: What Happens to Man After Death?]
Is it any wonder that, like the pick-up truck’s battery whose positive and negative polarities I had ignorantly switched, man — urged on by Satan the devil — has unknowingly switched his negative and positive spiritual and moral polarities? As a result, the mind (or understanding) of human beings has become darkened, “being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19).
Without the light of God’s Spirit and truth, man has fallen under the sway of “the rulers of the darkness of this age [“world,” KJV]…[the] spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12) — chief of whom is Satan the devil. Men have thus become Satan’s “sons of disobedience…fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:2-30). [See: Are We All God’s Children?]
Times of refreshing and restoration
But, as Paul continues with his letter to the Ephesian Christians, “…you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which is created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:20-24; see also Romans 12:1-2, etc.).
The apostle Peter invited many listeners to his preaching, to “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Jesus Christ came to offer that “refreshing” (as in making a withered thing fresh or new again) — both by blotting out the sins that have brought us, rightly, our death sentence, and giving us a new lease on life. [See: Freed From Bondage, Transgressions Under the First Covenant, God’s Spirit and Obedience, and Saved for Good Works.]
God can “convert” sinful man back to where man was before Satan caused man to fall from being God’s children to becoming Satan’s children. God, as it were, can rewire us back to how He first wired us! How? With the Spirit of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ that God gives to those whom He calls and chooses in this age, God can renew sinful mankind. [See: Predestination and This Is Not the Only Day of Salvation.]
As God promises His people, He will give them a new heart — a heart of “flesh” (soft, yielded) — instead of the Satan-wired hard heart of “stone” (defiant, rebellious). And with it God promises to give His Spirit, to enable or empower man to obey His laws (Ezekiel 36:2-6).
The apostle Paul exhorts: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
God can switch back man’s nature to conform to His original intent for creating mankind — in His perfect spiritual image!
Jesus said, in John 18:9, concerning His disciples: “Of those whom You [God the Father] gave Me I have lost none.” Based on this Scripture passage alone, some have built a whole doctrine about “security of salvation” — contained in the expression “Once saved, always saved.” However, this forgets what Jesus had said earlier in His prayer to His Father, “Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition [referring to Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus to His enemies, John 13:21-30; 18:2-3, etc.]…” (John 17:12). [See: The Whole Counsel of God.]
The apostle Paul, who received revelation directly from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:11-12), wrote: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6). [See: Who Wrote the Letter to the Hebrews?].
This “falling away” of one who has become a true Christian is committing the “unpardonable sin.” [See: Why Is the “Unpardonable Sin” Unpardonable?] Especially while we are in this present evil world deceived and ruled over by Satan the devil, it is quite possible, for one who has been “rewired” by God back in His perfect spiritual image, to be snatched by Satan and be wired back to his perverse polarities!
As the apostle Peter exhorts: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:6-9).
Jesus warned: “If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness” (Matthew 6:23)! Just like that battery whose polarity I had switched: the dashboard was totally black — dark!
With God’s mighty hand and with the love of Christ, Christians can overcome whatever spiritual challenge may be thrown at them. They can become “more than conquerors” through Christ, who loves them (Romans 8:31-39)! [See: Breaking Down our “Walls of Jericho” and The Higher Law of the Spirit.]
Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.