March 13, 2008

Which is he?  Nowhere?  Or now here? 

There are two errors we make when considering the devil.  One is believing him not to exist.  “It is impossible,” Bultmann wrote, “to use electric lights and the wireless, and to avail ourselves of modern medical and surgical discoveries, and at the same time believe in the New Testament world of demons and spirits” (quoted in Stott, The Cross of Christ, 231).  The other error is to imagine that the devil is an omnipresent reality in your life.

Surely Michael Green is right that we ought to be neither excessively preoccupied with the devil nor excessively skeptical about his very existence (ibid., 231).  The middle road–the true path–between preoccupation and skepticism is biblical realism. 

Here is reality.  The devil is certainly on the prowl, seeking to harrass our faith and undermine our obedience (1 Pet 5:8).  He is all in a rage, knowing that his time is short (Rev 12:12).  We will smell his foul breath about us from time to time.  But know this about him, Christian.  Know that:

1. He has been mortally wounded by Christ (Gen 3:15).

2. He has been stripped of his weapons, openly shamed, and triumphed over by God, who nailed the record of your debt to the cross (Col 2:13-15).  Therefore, this is now the glorious truth. 

3. He can be consistently and decisively thwarted by you, if you will fight his enticements the way God has instructed you to fight (Jam 4:7-8; Eph 6:10-18a).

The devil is somewhere, and he may or may not be pestering you presently.  But when he does turn up again, remember these truths.  Let them invigorate you for the fight, so that Christ might be glorified in you.

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