In the first temptation of Christ, Satan seeks to question Jesus’ own right standing with God. He begins with a question suggesting doubt as to the truthfulness or accuracy of what the word of God has declared concerning him. You will recall that only 40 days earlier, the voice of God had spoken from heaven declaring that Jesus was the heavenly Father’s beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased. Matt. 3:17. Jesus was also given evidence of God’s leading by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon him at his baptism.
We know from studying the scriptures that when we give way to doubt that we are setting ourselves up for falling for one of Satan’s temptations. In the temptation of Eve, in the garden of Eden, Satan began his conversation with her by asking “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” KJV — Genesis 3:1 Satan was insinuating that God was withholding something good from them and that he did not have their best interest in mind. It was to create doubt in the mind of Eve that God really loved her and as we follow that progression of the first temptation with Eve we see that next the enemy sought to create doubt in the authority or the truthfulness of God’s Word.
God demonstrated His love for His Son by the pronouncement that he was pleased with him and by the gift of the Holy Spirit at his baptism. We find that God has proven His love for us in that he gave His son for us and by the gift of the Holy Spirit to the believer. John 3:16; Acts 2:38. By these two pieces of evidence, we may know the love that God has for us. 1 John 4:13-16
But even greater than this is the promise of who we are when we accept God’s word concerning His son. In John 1:12 we read “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” When we receive Jesus into our life, we are given power to also become a son or daughter of God. We can have the same testimony that Jesus had and be assured that we ARE sons or daughters of God. And God demonstrates His love towards us by accepting us and calling us his children. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:1, 2
Reader, do you see that when you accept Jesus as the true son of God and choose to follow in his footsteps that God accepts you just as he accepted His own son? Satan will use circumstances, trials of this life, and disappointments to cause you to question your own right standing with God. But these trials are the very thing that proves God’s love for you and his acceptance. Keep these following words in mind as we continue...
“Ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” Hebrews 12:5-7
The trials do not prove that he has cast us off but rather that he loves us and is helping us to develop a Christlike character. Even Jesus had to endure the same trial as the Son of God. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” KJV — Hebrews 5:8
In the book Confrontation, we read these words... “Satan flattered himself that he could lead Christ to doubt the words spoken from heaven at His baptism. If he could tempt Him to question His sonship, and doubt the truth of the word spoken by His Father, he would gain a great victory.” Con 40.2
So the question may be asked, “How do we know that we really are children of God and that God is pleased with us?” We want to find scripture that can assure us of our standing before God. Jesus confidently stated “he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. . KJV — John 8:29. He did not doubt or question that the path he was pursuing was pleasing to God. So what is pleasing to God?
“Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. . KJV — Hebrews 11:6 So when we doubt His Word and his leading in our life it is not pleasing to Him but when we are truly pursuing knowledge of God then He is pleased. Let’s look at some more verses.
“For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;”. KJV — Isaiah 56:4-6
We can actually know if we are pleasing God if we are choosing to keep the Sabbath holy and follow God’s commandments. Jesus said, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” KJV — John 15:10 We also know the covenant God is talking about in Isaiah 56 is referring to the 10 commandments because of verses like this...”And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.“ KJV — Exodus 34:28 and Deut. 4:13
We should not just assume that we are right with God but we should compare our life with God’s requirements. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates.” KJV — 2 Corinthians 13:5 If we are living in sin, then we can know that we are not pleasing God; howbeit, the Lord invites us to repent and believe in his son. If we are conforming our lives to His covenant, then we are following after righteousness. It is stated like this... “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. KJV — 1 John 3:7-8
In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” KJV — 1 John 3:10
So this brings us into the next part of discerning whether we are children of God or not. There was an instance where James and John wanted to call destruction on those that did not accept their ministry. They said to Jesus “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. KJV — Luke 9:54-56
The question is not just about whether we are keeping the Ten Commandments or not but also we need to understand what Spirit is leading us. The scribes and Pharisees claimed to keep the commandments of God and even condemned Jesus as a lawbreaker, while they were of an entirely different spirit. By their fruits, it became clear that a different spirit was leading them. Jesus said “Ye do the deeds of your father...Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. KJV — John 8:44
If we have truly accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour then we are promised the gift of the Holy Spirit by whom we are born again. Then the deeds in the life will be in harmony with the Spirit of God and if there is anything in the life that is not, then God will make it known. “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” KJV — Philippians 3:15 We will also be willing to be corrected when our deeds are not in harmony with God’s spirit. “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. KJV — John 3:20-21
We can also be sure if we are acting under the inspiration of the spirit of God if we have a love for one another. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.“ KJV — 1 John 3:14. This spirit is clearly differentiated from the spirit of the devil in the book of Galatians. In regards to God’s covenant, it can be described as thus “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” KJV — Galatians 5:14
Herein is the secret to discerning between the one and the other. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. . KJV — Galatians 5:16-17. The two spirits are contrary to each other. One is earthly, sensual, devilish. James 3:15. The other is spiritual, pure, peaceable, and full of good fruits. v.17
Here are the deeds of the devil: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. KJV — Galatians 5:19-21
The fruit of the spirit is contrary to these. You cannot do the works of the flesh and have the spirit of God at the same time. So we can tell if we have the spirit by the fruits of character that are manifest in our life. If we are growing in these fruits then it is evident what spirit is leading. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. KJV — Galatians 5:22-23
So now the question remains, will we pass the same test? Will we live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God? Will we believe the testimony that God has declared concerning His son and concerning us? Will we take hold of His covenant and his Sabbath and do those things that are pleasing to him? Will we receive of His spirit that always leads to commandment-keeping and loving our neighbor as ourselves?
Are you dear reader receiving of the Spirit and overcoming in his strength? “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” KJV — Isaiah 27:5