Probably everyone has heard the Charlie Daniels song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” which was released in 1979 on his album Million Mile Reflections.  You’ll remember the story line of Satan confronting a boy in Georgia for a skill competition on their fiddles.  The prize for the boy, if he beats Satan in the contest, is a fiddle made of gold.   If he loses, however, the devil will get his soul.  The boy wins the contest and the Devil goes off in a huff.  It’s an amusing song which highlights great violin-playing skills by Charlie Daniels.  The story line is an old one, though.  For centuries, stories have been circulated about people making bargains with the Devil or one of his demons over their souls.  Probably the earliest such story is about Theophilus of Adana from the 6th century.  In this story, an archdeacon was denied a promotion to bishop which he desired and, thus, made a deal with the Devil to get that position in exchange for his soul.  Although the Devil carried out his part of the bargain in this story, Theophilus repented later of the pact and through a combination of intercession to the Virgin Mary and confession to the legitimate bishop, he was released from the bargain and died.  

This legend was then the foundation for the German legends of a Doctor Faust who sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasure.   The most famous renditions of the legend were a play published in 1604 by English writer Christopher Marlowe, who was a contemporary of William Shakespeare, and a play by famed German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published in 1808.  There have been, however, many other uses of the “deal with the devil” motif.  If you have watched the excellent comedy O Brother, Where Art Thou? from 2000, you will remember that the three fugitives met up with a blind guitar player who was black, played by actor Chris Thomas King.  The guitar player told them his name was Tommy Johnson.  Much of the movie uses real names or incorporates real events from that era of U.S. history, especially with regard to early American music.  Tommy Johnson was a real person, a well-known blues guitar player during that Depression era in the South.   

In the movie the character tells the three fugitives his story, claiming that he had sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for guitar playing skills.  This was taken from real life as the real Tommy Johnson also claimed to have sold his soul to the devil in order to promote a “bad boy” image for his stage persona.   In real life, such stories became widespread about black blues players as people imagined all sorts of wild things about these rebels who were living on the edge and playing a seemingly new type of music that was extraordinary.  There have been many other movies using the "pact with the devil" motif including the 1958 classic, Damn Yankees, in which a baseball player sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for winning the league pennant.  So, as you can see, this is a motif very deeply ingrained in our literary and film heritage.  The problem is that there is absolutely no truth to it.  I don’t doubt that one can make a bargain with the Devil, but until the moment of salvation, your soul already belongs to him.   

Everyone that is born into sin (and that includes every single human being brought into this world after Adam and Eve) is destined for Hell automatically unless they accept God’s offer of redemption through Jesus.  The Bible tells us that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE is righteous enough or good enough to earn their way to Heaven.  That being the case, I can’t imagine why anyone would turn down God’s generous offer of redemption, but I know that many will.  Many in their ignorance and sin will believe the lies of Satan or will be so enamored of their sin that they will reject God’s offer.  But eternity in torment is just too unimaginable to flippantly dismiss the decision to give your heart to Jesus.  Regardless, God always gives us choices.  It is only the Devil who uses force and violence.  God almost always uses enticement and love to get us to walk the right path or do right by others.  He does sometimes have to resort to more forceful tactics when we are stubborn or deeply entrenched in our ignorance, but He loves us too much to leave us in that condition, even if we don’t recognize His constant loving intervention.   

I pray that you will be saved today if you are not already, and that if you are saved by Jesus, that you will be filled with His Sweet Love and Joy in these last days.  
 


Comments

The relationship between the bad or good things is always discriminated because both cannot live in the same place. The good things are always won because they opted the white or good ways. This is very nice information that you write on this blog.

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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