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THE BEING WHO FIRST SINNED

                            WITH whom did sin originate?

                                "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning." 1 John 3:8.

    NOTE.—Without the Bible, the question of the origin of evil would remain unexplained.

From what time has the devil been a murderer?

"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." John 8:44.

What is the devil's relationship to lying?

"When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." Same verse.

Was Satan created sinful?

"Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." Ezekiel 28:15. NoTE.—This, and the statement in John 8:44, that he "abode not in the truth," show that Satan was once perfect, and in the truth. Peter speaks of "the angels that sinned" (2 Peter 2:4); and Jude refers to "the angels which kept not their first estate" (Jude 6); both of which show that these angels were once in a state of sinlessness and innocence.

What further statement of Christ seems to lay the responsi- bility for the origin of sin upon Satan and his angels?

"Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Matthew 25:41.

SATAN AND CHRIST CONTRASTED

What led to Satan's sin, rebellion, and downfall? "Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast cor- rupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness." Ezekiel 28:17. "Thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: . . . I will be like the most High." Isaiah 14:13, 14. NoTE.—In a word, pride and self-exaltation led to Satan's downfall, arid for these there is no justification or adequate excuse. "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18. Hence, while we may know of the origin, cause, character, and results of evil, no good or sufficient reason or excuse can be given for it. To excuse it is to justify it; and the moment it is justified it ceases to be sin. All sin is a manifestation of selfishness in some form, and its results are the opposite of those prompted by love. The experiment of sin will result finally in its utter abandonment and banishment forever, by all created intelligences, throughout the entire universe of God. Only those who foolishly and persistently cling to sin will be destroyed with it. The wicked will then "be as though they had not been" (Obadiah 16), and the righteous shall "shine as the brightness of the firmament," and "as the stars for ever and ever." Daniel 12:3. "Affliction shall not rise up the second time." Nahum 1:9. See reading on "Origin, History, and Destiny of Satan," page 491. In contrast with the pride and self-exaltation exhibited by Satan, what spirit did Christ manifest? "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and be- came obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philippians 2:6-8. After man had sinned, how did God show His love, and His willingness to forgive? "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.

UP AND DOWN

In heaven Satan sought to lift himself up above God. He was cast down to earth. On earth Jesus humbled Himself and was then exalted to the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. We who would go up to heaven must first go down to the cross—that old rugged cross, where Jesus died for sin and where we die to sin.

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DOWN at the cross where my Saviour died, Down where for cleansing from sin I cried, There to my heart was the blood applied, Glory to His name. —E. A. HOFFMAN.

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