Grace For The Journey
There is a continuous rise and fall of nations and empires, their power and influence advance and recede like the tides of the sea. As one empire fades away, another rises. We are affected by these surges even today. Only God knows how they will turn out. God’s people are affected negatively when a nation is defeated or positively when it is exalted in victory.
The latter has been the case for the modern church in the United States, as it has enjoyed the success of our nation’s global supremacy. However, as valiant and virtuous our forefathers’ efforts were in pursuit of religious liberty, the sun seems to be setting on America. To those who are watching, it is growing apparent that an adversary worthy of our opposition stands before us.
Today, God’s people face a tireless, unremitting adversary. During our lifetimes, we have been subject to our nation’s slow spiritual and moral decline, the development of a destructive and dangerous world view, and the rise of foreign powers. The combination of fallen man’s efforts to live without God and the tireless and treacherous efforts of our chief adversary, Satan the Devil, is a constant challenge in our life and ministry.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” The Bible portrays Satan as a vicious predator hungrily seeking its prey. Lions hunt in packs called “prides” that sneak up on unwary prey and catch the weakest or slowest in a herd. A lion’s fur provides excellent camouflage, so that most prey must rely on other senses to detect its approach. Spiritually, we would be wise to ensure that our senses are on high alert for Satan’s approach.
Curiously, Peter describes Satan as a “roaring” lion, suggesting that he is not interested in stealth but proudly announces his presence to cause terror and panic. A person is much more likely to trip and fall when fleeing in terror than when standing fast in faith. But Peter indicates that we have no need to fear Satan if we remain faithful to Christ. He is led by God to write in 1 Peter 5:9, “Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” We can draw a measure of strength knowing that we are not alone in our fight – faithful family members, friends, and fellow believers have overcome similar attacks. If they can do it, we can too.
Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, exemplify this attitude in their resistance to Nebuchadnezzar’s evil decree in Daniel 3. They reject the order to worship the image Nebuchadnezzar had constructed (Daniel 3:4-6). They do not try to fight the king’s command but simply refuse to worship the image, which they know would be idolatry. They are faithful, keeping the standards that God had set, and by doing so, make themselves adversaries of Nebuchadnezzar.
Like the roaring lion, Nebuchadnezzar is furious, demanding that they either worship the image or burn in the furnace.
He wants them to fear him more than God.
The three friends answer his demand in Daniel 3:17-18, “[O]ur God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
What an excellent display of faith! They know God has the power to deliver them, but they are not entirely certain that God will. He may intend that they become martyrs. Either way, they remain respectful, addressing Nebuchadnezzar as king and declaring that despite his threat of death, they would not disobey God by yielding to him.
They would rather face the roaring lion head on
Than make God their enemy!
As fearsome as the roaring lion is,
He is nothing compared to the Lion of Judah.
Jesus summed up the desire and design of Satan in John 10:10 where He says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy . . .” God has told us in His Word that it is important to know the strategies that Satan uses to seek to destroy and defeat us. In 2 Corinthians 2:11 the Bible states, “Lest Satan should take advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” God wants us to be aware of what Satan uses in his battle against us. We get a clear picture of how Satan operates from a review of the Bible’s teaching of Satan’s schemes.
- Genesis 3 introduces us to Satan in the form of a serpent who is tempting our first parents.
- Matthew 4 introduces us to the devil who is tempting the Lord Jesus in the wilderness.
- In Matthew 12 we see Satan’s effort causing blindness.
- In Mark 5 we see demons cause a man to be a wild man, hurting himself, and unable to be controlled.
- In Mark 9 we see Satan’s influence in causing self-destruction.
The Bible gets even more specific in telling us what Satan’s mission is.
- He is our adversary, seeking to destroy and devour – Luke 22:31-32; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Peter 5:8.
- Satan is the father of lies – John 8:44.
- He blinds the minds of unbelievers – 2 Corinthians 4:4.
- He transforms himself into an angel of light – 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.
- He does signs and wonders – 2 Thessalonians 2:9.
- Satan snatches the Word of God out of people’s hearts and chokes faith – Mark 4:1-9; 1 Thessalonians 3:5.
- Satan causes some sickness and disease – Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38.
- Satan is a murderer – John 8:44; 1 John 3:12; Revelation 2:10.
- Satan fights against the purpose and plans of pastors and missionaries – 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 3:5.
- Satan accuses Christians before God – Job 1:11; Revelation 12:10.
Though we cannot make peace or agree with Satan lest we be opposed to God and perish, we can make peace and agree with God through Jesus Christ in humble, sincere repentance. If we sin against God, we need to repent. If we sin against a brother, we need to humble ourselves and seek their forgiveness. It is as serious as murder!
The great good news is, in Christ we can overcome Satan. Christ has delivered us from Satan’s plans and power. The Bible is very clear that because of what Christ did on the cross and through His resurrection Satan is a defeated foe. Look at what God declares in His Word:
Hebrews 2:14 – “. . . that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil.”
Colossians 2:15 – “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them.”
1 John 2:3:8 – “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
Revelation 12:11 – “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
The Bible is clear
Our deliverance from sin and Satan is
GROUNDED and GAINED only through Christ.
John 10:10b – “I have come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Revelation 7:10 – “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
As we surrender to the Spirit and Scripture , we will always be challenged by our spiritual Adversary, the roaring lion, and his minions. Like Peter, James instructs us, ““Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). We must never submit to him and thereby make ourselves an enemy of Christ, lest He “come to [us] quickly and remove [our] lampstand from its place” (Revelation 2:5). Instead, we are to, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. . . . Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:8, 10).
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”