Jesus cuts right to the chase when it comes to the evil one. He calls the devil “a liar and the father of lies,” (John 8:44). And the father of lies has his pet anti-truths. These lies, repeated often enough, can slowly drown out the promises of God.
We’re living in the end times. We have been since Pentecost. The earliest Christians believed it, and what’s more, that is what the apostles teach us in Scripture. As early as Acts 2:17, just after Jesus had ascended to heaven and poured out his Spirit on His church…
Can there be joy in obedience? That depends on if obedience if a free choice or the result of threats. When obedience is coercive, it dominates and subjugates our wills, or at least attempts to do so, and no one wants to be ruled by another.
For the past twenty years that I've been a Christian, I've not found any evidence in my reading of Judges 13-16 that qualifies Samson for the "book of faith" (Hebrews 11). Selfish, manipulative, short-tempered, and homicidally violent, Samson's a borderline-psychotic personality.
The radical gospel of justification by faith alone simply does not fit, cannot be accepted by, and will not work with an anthropology which sees the human being as a continuously existing subject possessing ‘‘free choice of will’’ over against God and/or other religious goals.
If I were the devil, I wouldn’t just entice believers to do bad things. We’re experts at that anyway. I’d strongly encourage them to do more for God. Just a gentle nudge in that direction. And before you know it, some of them would be so hog-wild about doing stuff for Jesus…
Right now (and I would add, for quite some time) there has been a debate within Christianity about the whole issue of culture. What I mean is if you open up any Christian magazine or website, chances are you are going to find thoughtful (and unthoughtful) Christians dealing with the question of how we are to deal with the culture around us.