Time or Eternity? ™


In Satan, Temptaiton on March 30, 2012 at 8:00 am

The truth is that there exists a company of evil spirits, continually employed in resisting the power of God, and stirring up his creatures to rebel against his authority; however, we must bear in mind the apostolic warning, ” Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man; but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.” (James 1:13,14)  The plan, therefore, of Satan is to watch the indications of our prevailing corruptions, and to provide us with opportunities of gratifying them, that lust when it hath conceived may the more readily bring forth the sin which, as the enemy well knows, will, when it is finished, bring forth death. Nor is it to the evil passions alone that he appeals; his daring knows no bounds.

Even in the holy nature of the man Christ Jesus, as untainted by original or by actual sin, he could seek for somewhat whereon to build a powerful temptation. He had been incessantly assailing the patient Saviour in the wilderness, during forty days; at the end of which he saw him tortured by the cravings of a hunger.  It would have been easy for our Lord, by the putting forth of his infinite power, to transform a stone into bread, as to multiply five loaves to the satisfying of five thousand people ; or out of the stones of the temple to raise up children unto Abraham. The desire for food was natural, lawful; yea, it was a duty to satisfy it, since prolonged abstinence must end in self-murder.  Coming as it did in the shape of a proposal merely to satisfy a human want by means of his divine power, we see the deep craftiness of this insidious tempter, and learn a solemn lesson of perpetual watchfulness, and careful sifting of whatever is suggested to our minds, whether by outward circumstances, the counsel of friends, or the seemingly intuitive suggestions of our own minds : for he who assailed the Master will not spare the servant.

Again, the object of our Lord’s incarnation was to take from Satan the kingship of the world; to cast him out of his possessions, to take the prey from the mighty, and deliver the lawful captive. This was to be accomplished by exceeding bitter sufferings, of which a foretaste was then present, in the pangs of extreme hunger. Humanity shrank from what Deity foreknew ; and we have very touching statements from the evangelists, of the anguish that overwhelmed the blessed Jesus on the near approach of the climax of his woes. He was even brought to pray, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me!” (Matt. 24:39) Yet in all this not a taint of evil existed ; it was the innocent shrinking of innocent, holy flesh, from intense tortures. Of this Satan seems to have taken his next advantage and proposed terms on which to give the Saviour the kingdoms, so rendering needless the horrific conflict in which the Lord must engage to effect his expulsion by force.  This was a most refined temptation : it proposed a single momentary act of homage, in acknowledgment of the existing supremacy of that enthroned rebel and traitor, to be followed by the instantaneous resignation of his usurped dominion into the hands of the rightful King. He saw the mortal frame drooping; he knew how closely the human mind naturally sympathized with the body’s feebleness: he calculated on the effect of forty days’ endurance of hunger, thirst, weariness, solitude, and unsheltered exposure; and he, the Devil, the liar and the murderer, boldly ventured on a proposition, the nature of which sends a shudder through the heart of the Christian, for whose sake the Lord of Glory was exposed to such an indignity as this! But it gives a very terrible view of the self-confident greatness of the adversary. May it sink deep into our minds, and fill us with that salutary fear which shall keep us ever mindful of the foe’s devices.

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