"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men…" (Titus 2:11)
My son and I watched "The Visitation" the other night. The movie is based on the same-titled book by Frank Peretti and recounts the story of a self-avowed Messiah coming to the small town of Antioch along with some very unsavory "guests". It is pretty intense and certainly not for everybody but impressive for a Christian movie. And it doesn't water down or compromise the gospel message.
Anyway, Graham and I talked through it together afterward. He asked if people can truly be possessed with the devil by making covenants with him. If so, are such covenants permanent? We went to the story of the demoniac that greeted our Savior at the dark end of the Sea. Deep gashes and oozing wounds covered this shell of a man who no doubt was emaciated by the host of demons that sucked the life from him.
"We are legion," an otherworldly voice piped through the pitiful creature.
The Messiah ordered the host of demons out of the man. By the way, a legion of soldiers in the Roman army (the occupying force in Palestine in that day) consisted of 6000 men! No doubt for this man to have hosted such a plague of evil, covenants and agreements had to be made, but with a word from Christ, the destructive force pillaging the man's spirit was sent packing and he became a NEW man! On the same day (verily, in the same HOUR!) that this man was howling in a cemetary and cursing God, the tables were turned upright and:
"…the former demoniac begged Him (Jesus) that he might be with Him." (Mark 5:18)
Did you catch that? "Former" demoniac! When Grace in living Flesh visited his lair, the liar was dispelled and the Son of Life moved in! What a glorious visitation!
The point Graham and I uncovered was simply that, yes, covenants may be made with the enemy, but they do not have to be permanent when Grace draws nigh. My son said, "I wish I lived in Jesus' day…" and when I asked why, he adroitly responded, "so that I could see Him do cool stuff so I can always believe!"
Explaining that miracles were not designed to make us believe but to prove the deity of Christ, I told Graham that there were CROWDS of people who witnessed His miracles and yet walked away from Jesus, shaking their heads with disdain (see John 6:26; 12:37). No, dear son, we do not believe through the means of natural sight but by the word of Christ that visits our heart. "Faith comes by HEARING and hearing by the Word of God…" (Rom. 10:17). Hearing, not seeing, God says. We do not believe by what our sight translates for us naturally but by what God speaks into our heart and we activate that through the faith that is given to us by God.
Graham sat on the edge of the couch considering this for a few moments, then he left the room, muttering the words, "but that's so hard…" Ah, the pangs of youth! Who need to see, touch, feel and handle…
But are we any different?