In Luke 19:10 we are told that Jesus’ mission here on earth was to “seek and save the lost,” while Inspiration reveals that the “mission” of Satan is to CAUSE ALL TO BE LOST! (cf. I Peter 5:8) In going about to accomplish his purpose, the devil uses many “devices,” and the apostle Paul says, “ We are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Corinthians 2:11) Jesus said, and we see it demonstrated constantly, that “FEW” will enter by the strait gate into the narrow way! (Matthew 7:13-14). The reason that so few enter that narrow way, that leads to life, is that Satan succeeds in hindering them; turning them into the BROAD WAY that leads to DESTRUCTION!
In Luke 11:52 Jesus was condemning the lawyers of His day, for they were not only not willing to enter the “way unto life,” but they were bent on hindering others from doing so! He said their means of accomplishing that was “TAKING AWAY THE KEY OF KNOWLEDGE.”
THE ROLE OF “KNOWLEDGE” in God’s scheme for our salvation is abundantly demonstrated throughout the Scriptures: (1) We are told in Hebrews 11:6 that without FAITH it is impossible to please God; but one cannot come to have FAITH without KNOWLEDGE of the Word of God! (Romans 10:17; John 20:30). (2) In such Scriptures as Hebrews 5:8f.; I Peter 1:22f.; etc. we are told that those who would have the Spiritual blessings, which are only “In Christ” (Eph. 1:3), must OBEY His will. Yet, it is not only true in the spiritual realm, but even in the material matters, that KNOWLEDGE is essential to true OBEDIENCE! If we do not know what one’s will is, we cannot DO what it is that he/she requires of us! (3) It is also seen in the above that FAITHFULNESS to the will of another, in the same way, requires KNOWLEDGE, and yet we see in such Scriptures as Revelation 2:10 that in order to enter Heaven, one must “Be…faithful unto death..!” (4) Preparation for JUDGMENT (“ testing”) requires KNOWLEDGE, inasmuch as we are to be JUDGED by “the things which are written in the Book!” (Revelation 20:12)
The devil, not lacking in the knowledge of all of the above, is well aware of one of the most effective “devices” in his efforts to have us with him in eternal damnation. He wants to PREVENT US FROM “..coming to a KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH!” (2 Timothy 3:7) Thus, today, we see a LACK OF KNOWLEDGE of the Inspired Scriptures (not using the “key”) on the part of individuals, among both the Children of God and those who are not in His family. In either case, the effect is the same! But as it was in Jesus’ day, as in our text, so it is in our time, that the “LAWYERS” / “CLERGY,” in so many ways “TAKE AWAY THE KEY OF KNOWLEDGE!
The real barrier which the lawyers (and remember that those were “lawyers” of the LAW of God) had thrown in the way of those who would have otherwise entered was IGNORANCE of the Will of God! Recall that Jesus says, “If you CONTINUE IN MY WORD, then you are truly my disciples, and YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32) By any means, to keep one in ignorance of the Will of God, is to “take away the Key of Knowledge.” Satan certainly knows that one of his most effective means of accomplishing this is the use of what the apostle Paul called his “ ministers,” (servants) - 2 Corinthians 11:14-15; 4:3-4. In times past, and in a sense today, the “Clergy” leads people to believe that the “common people” are incapable of understanding the Bible-- that they, with their degrees of human wisdom, need to “explain” the Scriptures to “the laity.” By this means and others, they hinder the study of the Scriptures, which is a responsibility of every accountable person (2 Timothy 2:15; John 5:39; Acts 17:11).
Satan, fully aware of the critical role of KNOWLEDGE of Truth, will utilize any means at his disposal to keep people ignorant of Truth. In many cases, where people have “come to a knowledge of the Truth,” he “comes and takes away the word out of their hearts…” (Luke 8:12), or he will entice, through “riches and pleasures of this life,” (v. 14), causing them to become unfaithful to the Lord. Then there is no greater barrier to true faith than the commonly taught false doctrines of “one way is just as good as another,” “join the church of your choice,” “all of these lead to heaven,” etc. Jesus prayed that all of His followers be ONE, “…that the world might BELIEVE that You sent Me…” (John 17:21). A divided “Christendom” presents a DIVIDED Christ (see I Corinthians 1:10-13), and fosters UNBELIEF, as almost nothing else can! The unbeliever, who knows anything about God, knows that He is “not the Author of confusion,” as is stated in I Corinthians 14:33. The “many ways” of Denominationalism represents Christ as a maze of confusion, and so they turn away in disbelief! This effectively “takes away the key of knowledge!”
Of course, we must not overlook the fact that much of the ignorance of the will of God is WILLFUL ignorance! (cf. 2 Peter 3:5). People are UNWILLING TO STUDY, and investigate for themselves the Word of God, that they might come to knowledge of the Truth. (discarding “the Key of Knowledge!”) Such are those who “LOVE NOT THE TRUTH…” to whom the apostle Paul refers in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11. The solemn warning is that God might “send them a working of error, that they might believe a lie, that they all may be condemned, who (do) not believe the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness.” (v. 12) With such, “the Key of Knowledge” has simply been ignored!
One other way that this “device of Satan” might be utilized is by professed Christians, by their MANNER OF LIFE, “Taking away the Key of Knowledge!” For shame, all too many disciples of Christ so conduct themselves that the unbeliever is sometimes heard to say, “if that is Christianity, then I want no part of it!” This is often, at least the “excuse” given, for someone not being willing to engage in a study of the Bible, or to attend assemblies of the church. HEAR THIS! “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, TEACHING US that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should LIVE SOBERLY, RIGHT- EOUSLY AND GODLY in this present age.” (Titus 2:11-12) By the “light” that is supposed to be in us, being “ darkness,” then WE surely “TAKE AWAY THE KEY OF KNOWLEDGE!” Thus we serve the purpose of Satan, rather than that of THE CHRIST! Let us BE CAREFUL that we never be guilty of such! In this we not only HINDER others from “entering into life,” but we will surely NOT enter ourselves!
By Charles G. Maples, Sr.
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