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Considering all that the 12 disciples had learned from Jesus and all they had done in terms of ministry, one would assume that they were one with their Maker. However, this was not the case according to Christ’s Words to the Apostle Peter during a conversation the two had concerning his and the other disciples’ future: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has desired to have you … BUT I HAVE PRAYED FOR YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT FAIL. AND WHEN YOU ARE CONVERTED, HELP YOUR BRETHREN (TO BE CONVERTED)–Luke 22:31,32. By this statement the Lord is telling us three vital things: One, that it is conversion, not salvation, that can be attained during this lifetime; two, that doing great and mighty works in Jesus’ name, preaching His Words, etc. does not mean that one has been converted; and three, that even Peter–the Lord’s apostle to the Jews–was not beyond the soul-destroying reach of the devil. Nor was Jesus Himself, if we can believe the Holy Bible. Recall that upon His return from the wilderness following 40 days of fasting, Satan met Him and tried to entice Him to sin. Why would he do this if Jesus was incapable of sinning? Satan knew that Jesus, being a man, could sin, and that if He was found to be guilty of just one sin He could not be the Savior of mankind. Like the first Adam, Jesus–the “last Adam” (2 Cor. 15:45)–was capable of sinning. If He had sinned, salvation would not be offered to mankind. Satan would have owned the soul of every man, woman and child ever born. Knowing that Jesus was a man like all other men, Satan tempted Him, as he does all other men (Heb. 4:15). In that we are commanded to “walk as He walked” (1 Jn. 2:6), we must resist Satan’s temptations with the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, as He did. We must, as did Jesus, “overcome” the devil in order to rule and reign with Him in the Kingdom of God (Rev. 3:21). THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO ACHIEVE SALVATION. Contrary to popular opinion, faith alone cannot save the soul (Jam. 2:14).
During this conversation, which took place not long before Christ’s death, we find Jesus telling Peter that he was not beyond Satan’s grasp, that he had not been converted, and that following his conversion, he was to help his fellow disciples in their struggle for conversion. Let us understand, these were not just any men. They were not a group who had voluntarily “signed up” to follow Jesus. God Himself had chosen them to be His “fishers of men” whom He would send throughout the world to preach His gospel. They were His “light of the world” (Jn. 17:9/ Mat. 4:19; 5:14). They had heard His gospel, learned it, believed it, preached it, healed the sick and cast out demons. And more importantly, they knew who He was and that obedience to His Words was essential for eternal life. Peter himself had testified to Him: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” and “… You have the Words of eternal life” Mat. 16:16/ Jn. 6:68). The disciples knew who He was and why He had come to earth. However, knowing what they knew and doing what they had done had not resulted in their conversions. Their “old man” was still active within them. The things of the world were still important to them. They still had to face that Satan-controlled world without Jesus at their side. THE DISCIPLES HAD TO PROVE THEIR LOVE FOR HIM BY OBEYING HIS COMMANDMENTS/WORD (Jn. 14:21,23). Their war with the devil for their souls was only just beginning. L.J.