It may sound weird, but knowing we have an enemy is encouraging.
The gospel is full of odd comforts. Discovering I’m afflicted with depravity brings the relief of the doctor’s diagnosis: “There is something wrong with me. It’s not all in my head.” More importantly, it provides the good news that in Christ there’s a cure for what ails me.
The doctrine of sin is not the only strange solace the gospel offers. It also tells us that we have an Enemy who walks around roaring like a lion looking to destroy us, so we should watch out (1 Pet. 5:8)! Many of us already feel like we’re in the middle of a battlefield, with an ancient foe wreaking havoc and destruction. The Bible says we’re right.
Unfortunately, we are tempted to forget this in our daily walk with God. As Fleming Rutledge notes, we read our Bibles and live our lives as if “there were only two dramatis personae, God and humanity” in the drama of redemption, contrary to the New Testament, “which presents three.”
Even those of us who believe the Gospels—which show Jesus came casting out demons, aiming to “bind the Strong Man,” and flinging Satan down like lightning—can tend to act as if all that stuff was way back then in biblical times.
Yet the Bible says Satan is at work now and we dare not forget it. Indeed, it’s not enough to know we have an enemy. We need to know his “schemes” (Eph. 6:11) and what resources we have in Christ against him—what Puritan Thomas Brooks called our “precious remedies against Satan’s devices.”
In The Crucified King, Jeremy Treat identifies three main ways Satan works: deception, temptation, and accusation. In other words, he is a wicked whisperer.
First, our Enemy whispers lies …
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