Being changed into the image of Jesus
A miracle can happen to you, like the transformation that
happens when a worm is transformed into a butterfly
(2 Corinthians 3:18).
In order for Satan to remain the god of this world, he knew that
desperate measures were called for. If he was going to be able to
continue to dominate the world, he needed to be willing to allow ANY
belief system to exist EXCEPT the one where people were truly
transformed into the image of his arch enemy, Christ.
Of course, Satan’s preference would be to have people
purposefully worship him. But he knew that few people would be
willing to do this. Fortunately for him, he had some tried and tested
weapons in his arsenal. Deception was the most potent one.
After all, deception was how he had ruled the world for thousands of
years, ever since he successfully deceived Adam and Eve in the
Garden of Eden. World history tells the tragic story of his successful
How Satan Blinded The Christian Church
If he could trigger their “God-wannabe,” he could deceive people into
believing the lie that they could do something to please God. Then
they would be deprived of the one weapon Satan feared the most –
their transformation into the image of Jesus.
Thus the stage was set for the battle.
In the New Testament Satan is referred to as the Deceiver. Jesus
knew Satan’s tactics and effectiveness (Matthew 24:4-5). The fact that
his major weapon is deception is revealed in Revelation 12:9-11:
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old,
called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole
world: (Revelation 12:9, the red is mine).
Since not many people will knowingly accept his evil kingdom,
deception is his most successful tool – and he is a master at this. He is
Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the
field (Genesis 3:1KJV, the red is mine).
Satan’s first successful deception was In the Garden of Eden. Satan
said to Eve:
“For God knows in the day you eat of it your eyes will
be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and
evil” (Genesis 3:5).
Being cunning and subtle, Satan didn’t say to Adam and Eve, “Why don’
t you rebel against God and become your own god?” They wouldn’t fall
for that. Rather, he sucked them in by making them think they were
doing a good thing.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for
food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree
desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and
ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate
First Eve and then Adam were deceived; and in their act, an aspect of
Satan’s nature was implanted into mankind – a subconscious tendency
to take God’s place. The Apostle Paul called this tendency our “flesh,”
(Romans 7:18). I am calling it our “God-wannabe”; because since The
Fall in the Garden of Eden, it is the part of our nature that wants to be
Ever since The Fall in the Garden of Eden, Satan’s deceptions have
been many and varied. Witness the many religions of the world where
people think they are doing a good thing by obeying and placating
various gods. Virtually every culture in the history of the world has
had a sense of the presence of a deity.
The reason that all of these deceptions are so effective is because of
the “God-Wannabe” buried deep in man, which wants to take God’s
place. Satan knows that if he can appeal to this fallen nature in a
person, he is able to activate that tendency and change the person’s
perceptions. Then the person is in the mind of the flesh.
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit
against the flesh; and these are contrary to one
another, so that you do not do the things that you wish
Then the person will be convinced that his wrong thinking is correct,
when in fact he is being deceived as were Eve and Adam in the Garden
of Eden. This is a subtle and potent trap, and we all readily fall into it if
we aren’t aware of this vulnerability we all inherited from Adam and
Satan Attacked Immediately
Satan was about his dirty work from the beginning of the Christian
The deceptions he launched against the church were numerous. The
variety of such perversions of the Gospel will be evident to you if you
read the Epistles with an eye to what each writer was coming against.
The essence of deception is “to cause to accept as true or valid what
is false or invalid” (Webster’s Dictionary). The person being deceived
is unaware that he has been deceived. Otherwise he would no longer
be deceived. When deceived, the person is fully convinced that the
lie is the truth. Many people have fought and died believing a lie.
Some such lies are:
• Islam: if you die in a jihad against the infidel, you would so please
Allah that in the after-life he will reward you with 70 virgins.
• Satanism: you will become powerful (Matthew 4:8-9).
• Freemasonry: you will be part of a powerful group that wants to
do good things.
• Adolph Hitler: we are a superior race and will establish an empire
to spread our race.
• Legalism: if you do good things you will be saved and rewarded
• Humanism and New Age: you are God.
• Greek Philosophy: Your rational mind is your true self, and you
can control your own life with it.
• Etc, etc, etc.
Note that all of these deceptions appeal to our “God-wannabe.”
Satan’s Most Successful Use Of Deception
The deception that has been the most productive for Satan is the
Greek (Western) Mindset, based upon Greek Philosophy.
The Greek philosopher Socrates (400 BC) said that our rational parts
are our true selves, and we can therefore have conscious dominion
over ourselves – over our irrational parts which consist of our
emotions and desires.
This philosophy (which I will refer to as the “Western Mindset”), has
been most useful for Satan for a number of reasons.
First, it is effective. It subconsciously and involuntarily triggers a
person’s “God-wannabe,” and the person finds themselves trying to
“be good.” As I have been pointing out, this attempt to try to please
God with our will and intellect does not bring about “metamorphoo”.
Instead it plays exactly into Satan’s hands.
Second, the Western Mindset is pervasive. Those nations that live by
it have militarily dominated the world and spread this mindset around
the world, beginning with Alexander the Great (about 325 BC), and
continuing with the European nations and America. Because those
nations were successful in conquering the world, their philosophy was
viewed as superior. Therefore, this mindset has infected a huge
percentage of mankind.
Third, it is subtle. It is so “natural” and automatic, it seems reasonable,
and it goes undetected. Its subtle influence is all around you, and yet
you likely don’t even notice it. It is as unseen as the air that you
breathe. You probably take it for granted that this is just the way life is
supposed to be. You are likely unaware of its pervasive influence and
of just how destructive it is.
It came to dominate the Christian church, and has done so for
centuries for the same reasons. Its influence has caused Christianity
to be ineffective in making people holy. Since this was Satan’s
objective all along, the Western Mindset has played exactly into his
Our whole culture is deceived!
Legalism and Legalistic Religions
Legalism is man’s attempt to please whoever he perceives as being
his god, by using his own strength – his will and intellect.
In some fashion, there is presented to him a list of “laws” that describe
what his god likes and would be pleased with, and a list of things that
his god dislikes and would be displeased with. The person believes
that his god will reward him for obeying, and will punish him for
disobeying. Legalism requires rules to follow. Otherwise people will
not know what goal to focus on in order to exercise their will power to
attain it. Without a “standard”, what would they do?
When the person first comes to believe in that particular god, this
automatically triggers the person’s “God-wannabe” to “try” and obey
the rules. This is the trap of all the world’s pagan religions.
How is Christianity supposed to be fundamentally different from all of
the world’s religions? Christ provided the way by which we can be
transformed into His image; and then by this new nature inside our
Non-conscious Selves, we will spontaneously and without effort do
what pleases God. God performs a miracle and accomplishes what is
impossible for us to do.
Unfortunately, in the absence of the awareness of this provision Jesus
made, the Christian’s “God-wannabe” automatially activates; and the
person spontaneously finds himself striving to please God with his will
and intellect. In the absence of an awareness of “metamorphoo,” this
is inevitable. When this happens, the Christian is caught in the same
trap as is the pagan!
The Apostle Paul specifically addresses this trap in Romans 7:9-10.
But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment,
produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart
from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without
the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived
and I died. And the commandment, which was to
bring life, I found to bring death.
What sin was revived by the law? The sin Paul is referring to is my
“God-wannabe” spontaneously and subconsciously impelling me to try
to obey God by keeping the law.
Consequently, legalistic religion is an integral part of Satan’s most
successful deception. It is also based upon the presence in every
human of a “God-wannabe.” The “God-wannabe” is triggered by the
desire to “be good,” as Rudolf Bultmann (one of the most respected
theologians of the 20th century, writes:
“To the category of conduct ‘according to the flesh’ belongs
above all zealous fulfillment of the Torah; and does so because a
man supposes he can thereby achieve righteousness before
God by his own strength”
Note that by “fulfillment of the Torah,” Bultmann is referring to trying to
obey the commandments of God which are listed in the first five books
of the Old Testament. His point is that trying to be good in our own
strength is a sin. It is a sin that springs out of our “flesh” – our “God-
In short, trying to be good in our own strength is not Christian, it is
sin. It is nullifying the sacrifice of Jesus for us, and taking His
place as our own savior. If we could “be good” in our own strength,
Jesus died in vain.
We all have had this tendency to take His place implanted in us
because we are of Adam’s race. Becomig a Christian does not erase
our “God-wannabe.” All human beings, including Christians, have a
“God-wannabe,” and it will continue to be there impelling us to sin as
long as we live on this earth. However, through Jesus we have been
given the way to remove the “bad roots” that our “God-wannabe”
plants in us – over and over again, day after day.
I do believe in correct doctrine. Doctrine refers to “some body of
teaching used as a standard of orthodoxy.” Correct doctrine is a
guide that tells us what truth is. An important part of Christian doctrine
is “metamorphoo.” Correct doctrine is also supposed to be a guide by
which I can see if my behavior is “good fruit” from a “good root,” or
“bad fruit” from a “bad root.”
Where “doctrine” can go wrong is when it is interpreted as something
we are to try to attain through willpower.
One evidence of the pervasiveness of the Western Mindset is the
prevailing idea in our culture that any person who has bad things
going on in his life is making “bad choices.” It doesn’t matter if the
problem is anger, or adultery, or lying, or any other sinful pattern. As I
have mentioned, the recent bumper sticker that says “Just say no” to
drugs is an illustration of this Western Mindset. So is the view that a
person on drugs or alcohol has made “bad choices.” This wording is
not only common in our culture outside the Christian church, it is also
prevalent inside it!
However, almost always the people with these destructive patterns are
impelled into these behaviors by “bad roots,” which is why they are
unable to “choose” to behave differently by using their will power (see
Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4). The fact that they are impelled to these
behaviors by huge spiritual forces does not mean that they should
simply accept their lot. It does mean that they need to apply the blood
of Jesus to the “bad root” in order to be set free, instead of trying hard
with their will power to change their behavior.
All of us who have tried hard to please God and to overcome
undesirable patterns in our own lives know this Western
(Greek) Mindset doesn’t work. As I have already pointed out, the
Apostle Paul knew this didn’t work when he wrote about the impotency
of our will:
For what I am doing I do not understand. For what I
will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I
do (Romans 7:15, bold is mine).
Unfortunately, for those of us who grew up in Western culture, striving
to control our lives with our will and intellect is a powerful and
subconscious view of life that permeates our perspectives every day.
It is a colored pair of glasses through which we view life.
Then, because we are not consciously aware of the subtle influence of
our surrounding culture, we end up thinking a lot like the world around
us. That is why it is so easy for us to slip into trying hard to be good.
I know this trap well. I grew up in a Germanic household where the will
and the intellect were firmly on the throne. The message that I grew
up with was that you did not trust anything coming up from your Non-
conscious Self over which you didn’t have conscious control.
Because of His love for me, God was not content to leave me stuck in
that error. Later in my adult life He made sure that trying to run my
life from my “Head” didn’t work very well for me, especially in my
marriage; and that pain impelled me to look for a better way. This
quest is how I found Jesus.
In fact, to the Western “rational” Mindset, the provision Jesus has
made for us to be transformed into His image, is not only a mystery; it is
in many ways an “insult to our intelligence.” See Appendix C for more
on the “mystery” of Christ.