When people choose on purpose to do evil things, the effect on society is terrible. People may say that they are just looking after themselves. However, the reality is that everyone suffers because of their selfish attitudes, including themselves. They are not really working for their own benefit: they are serving the devil.
Godís commands are clear. Murder is against his law (Deuteronomy 5:17). It is wrong to steal (Deuteronomy 5:19). A person should not have sex with anyone who is not that personís husband or wife (Deuteronomy 5:18). Because of Christís death, God can forgive people who do these wrong things. However, God will not forgive anyone who does not repent. To Ďrepentí means to turn from sin (evil deeds) and to turn to God. A person must choose, with Godís help, to stop his evil behaviour and, instead, to serve God.
John is describing people who will absolutely refuse to repent. They are proud of the wicked things that they are doing. They do not merely desire to take the property, wives and lives of other people. They also desire power over the spirit world. That is why they carry out magic. That is also why they serve devils as their gods (verse 20). They think that, by such actions, they can use spirits for their own advantage. They believe that they can actually control evil spirits. Really, however, the evil spirits are controlling them. They have given their lives to the devil, and the devil will ruin their lives.
Godís law warns strongly against the use of magic (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). People who use magic will have no place with Godís people in the New Jerusalem (22:15). God urges those people to repent, so that he can forgive them.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.