What the War's About by Ty Gibson

What the War’s About

by Ty Gibson  |  January 30, 2017

“War broke out in heaven…” (Revelation 12:7).

Satan launched his revolt against God not with bullets and bombs but with subtly spun lies. The Greek word for “war” in the above text is polemos, from which we get words like polemic and politics. Polemos is the idea of arguing against an opponent or saying something about a person that has the effect of turning others against him.

In other words, Satan is a politician. God’s character is the focus of his attack. The devil specializes in formulating theological ideas that are calculated to portray God as self-centered, self-exalting, self-serving. Jesus came to our world for the specific purpose of giving a true revelation of God’s character. In His incarnation, life, and death, we encounter the truth about God.

Ellen White gets to the core of the issue like this:

“Unselfishness, the principle of God’s kingdom, is the principle that Satan hates; its very existence he denies. From the beginning of the great controversy he has endeavored to prove God’s principles of action to be selfish, and he deals in the same way with all who serve God. To disprove Satan’s claim is the work of Christ and of all who bear His name. It was to give in His own life an illustration of unselfishness that Jesus came in the form of humanity. And all who accept this principle are to be workers together with Him in demonstrating it in practical life” (Ellen White, Education, p. 154).

In other words, Satan is a politician. God’s character is the focus of his attack.

A comparison of three simple biblical statements tell the whole story:

“God is love” (1 John 4:8).

“Love…is not self-seeking” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV).

“He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26, NIV).

When the Bible says, “God is love,” it does not mean what pop culture means by its use of the word “love”—a sentimental feeling of attraction to whoever or whatever we find pleasant or beautiful. Rather, it means that God is “not self-seeking.” He is relationally faithful to all others at any cost to Himself. The self-sacrificing death of Jesus on the cross is the irrefutable proof that Satan’s charges against God are false. The war between good and evil, quite simply, is won by love.

Ty Gibson Co-Director
Light Bearers
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  • terry

    What about those who choose not to be won by His love? How does a God of love deal with them at the end?

  • According to the bible they receive the wrath of God. And also according to the bible the wrath of God is Him “giving up” his people to their own rebellious choice (Rom. 1); same expression is used in Rom. 4:25 (He [Jesus] was given up).

    What is this given up? We see all through the bible really, most magnificently in Hosea (How can I give you up? How can I let you go?).

    My favorite theologian frequently said, [paraphrase] “The wrath of God is He turning away in divine disappointment thus leaving the sinner to reap the consequences of their own rebellious choice.”

    And what happens when sinners reap what they sow? If sin results in death, they die. Not at the hands of an angry God but as a natural consequence of separating themselves from the source of life.

    They disconnect themselves from God’s life support automatically after rejecting him fully.

  • terry

    How does this natural consequence actually portray itself? How does death actually happen?

  • Nancy Nedderman

    Perfect article to go with this week’s SS lesson on the gifts of the Spirit!

  • Terry Anthony Kennedy

    Lord God, please destroy every ounce and desire and sustainment of self from within me.

  • Not sure. If we put together what happened to Nadab and Abihu (who were consumed by the glory of God and yet removed “in their tunics” from the most holy), and what happened to Christ himself when the wrath of God was poured out on Him (eternal separation), we may get a glimpse of what may happen in the future.

    AG Maxwell used to say, “maybe we will look at the face of God and see him crying while letting them go”.