Satan had no interest in bowing the knee to God. He lusted for a sovereignty and independence not granted to him. He rebelled. He enlisted followers from the angelic ranks. The result was the heavenly excommunication and eternal curse promised to him and his minions.
He could do nothing to harm God, his Creator and Sovereign Master. Personal retaliation was beyond his skill-set. Therefore, he turned his attention to harm those created in God’s image. Satan visited Adam and Eve in the Garden, and he only had sinister intent. He desired to defame God and ruin them, and this he did. Adam and Eve were seduced by his temptation. They joined Lucifer’s cause and became devilish rebels before the face of their Loving Creator.
Adam and Eve’s children were then affected by their parents; they too, all of them, followed the course of their wicked ancestors. However, they were tempted by much more than the devil. Cain, Able, and all their brothers, sisters, and descendants, were encouraged to rebel by the wicked devil, their wicked world, and their own wicked flesh. Lucifer hated all of them. He delighted in their depravity, their demise, their damnation, and their ultimate destruction.
The Bible is full of Satan’s victories. From beginning to end — the world, the flesh, and the devil — call the names of those created in God’s image. Men hear, men lust, men act, men fall; they prove their allegiance to Lucifer and struggle under the chaos and curse ordained by God. They sin, they hurt, and Satan laughs. Why? Because he hates those created in the image of God.
For many, the end of the story is worse than the beginning. Ultimately, Satan and his fiendish friends are cast out of God’s sight into the place of eternal destruction. God is long-suffering, but he is not eternally-long-suffering. His patience does end and his arm of wrath is displayed. The devil, the demons, and the depraved are damned forever.
Yet, there is Good News. God protected two-thirds of his angels from enlisting in Satan’s ranks. Then, when Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, God quickly found his lost couple and promised them mercy and grace. And this electing, atoning, wooing, and saving character of God is presented throughout the Scripture — from beginning to end. There is hope for those who have been enticed by the world, the flesh, and the devil. There is hope for those who have heard, lusted, acted, fallen, and have found themselves accursed. Satan hates men, but God loves sinners, and God’s love is seen in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Jesus added to himself a human nature, and Satan came after him:
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread ….” (Matthew 4:1-3)
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down ….” (Matthew 4:5)
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:8-9)
However, notice the different result:
Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ ” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (Matthew 4:10-11)
Friends, consider this glorious news. We have a priest who put on true humanity. We have a priest who encountered the best Lucifer could throw at him. We have a priest who could not be swayed. And we have a priest who became the acceptable representative and the acceptable sacrifice for all Lucifer’s followers who desire to switch allegiances and follow Jesus Christ.
And not only can we be rescued from the condemnation and curse of sin, we can also be rescued from sin itself.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
… He helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:16-18)
Yes, until the glorious day of our sanctification, we will always sin. Yes, until we receive our new flesh, we will always be “wretched individuals” struggling with our fleshly remnant. However, Scripture says, “We are more than conquerors.” Scripture teaches us we are no longer in bondage to sin; we do not have to walk in it any longer. Satan is no longer our master; we have been bought, adopted, and betrothed to another. Therefore, what are we to do? When tempted by the world, the flesh, and the devil, let us look to Christ, let us talk to the Father, and let us be freshly filled by the Spirit. Without ceasing, let us pray that the mind of Christ will reign supreme in our desires and decisions. And let us rejoice in the fact that, not only did Jesus Christ say “No” to the one who hated him, but Jesus gave us the ability to say “No” to the one who hates and despises us. Perhaps Paul, the “wretched man” puts it best in his letter to the carnal Corinthians:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. (1 Corinthians 10:13-15)
Practical Instructions for Personal Prayer
- Consider the revelation of God and the temptation of Satan.
- Consider your disbelief of God and disobedience before his face.
- Confess your sins; do so through the Jesus Christ, the High Priest who lived, died, and perfectly intercedes for you.
- Leave the throne of grace with peace and joy. Do not be happy over your sins, but do not diminish the effectiveness of Jesus’ atonement. He paid it all. The wrath of God is satisfied. You are his beloved. Do not pretend, even for a few hours, that you are not beloved. Do not put yourself in a “spiritual time out” or “probation period.” Jesus died for you. Like Hosea to Gomer, the Groom has come to purchase, possess, and redress you. Jump in his arms, for he loves sinners!
- Consider afresh the revelation of God and the deceitful temptations of Satan.
- Pray without ceasing and walk circumspectly. Be ready to fight. Be ready to flee.
- Consider it joy when you face trials and temptations, for this is an opportunity to worship and give glory to your Heavenly Groom. You get yet another opportunity to prove your allegiance and see his sanctifying grace.
- Be thankful and rejoice in your Spirit-led victories.
Repeat as necessary
(Trust me, it will be necessary.)