Much of my conversation with my sons revolves around the gospel promises of God, and with good reason. I am completely convinced that the presence of righteousness or absence of sin in our lives is due to our belief or unbelief in the promises of God contained in the Bible. But there is a sense in which labeling sin only as “unbelief” seems a bit too harmless, a little bit too safe, and much too one dimensional; kind of like knowing that a daddy longlegs, while poisonous, doesn’t have fangs long enough to bite you (mythbusters has already disproven this). But sin is anything but harmless, is in no way safe nor one-dimensional, because Satan is none of those things. Satan is real and he is prowling around like a roaring lion doing all he can to devour you and your sons. But do your sons believe this? Do your sons believe that Satan is real and menacing and conniving and out to destroy them, or is their view of Satan more along the lines of an inept villain like the Evil Emperor Zurg or Shredder? This is the idea behind Paul’s plea to us in 2 Corinthians 2:11 to “not be ignorant of [Satan’s] schemes.”
Over the past few days, I have been reading through Thomas Brooks’ Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, a book that is hundreds of years old but has a ton of present day application. More than anything, it is a great window into not only the schemes of Satan but also the remedies to fight against them.
Here are the first 5 schemes/devices:
- To present the bait and hook: “to hide the poison; to present the sweet, the pleasure and the profit that may flow in upon the soul by yielding to sin—and to hide from the soul the wrath and misery that will certainly follow the committing of sin.”
- To paint sin with virtue’s colors: “Satan knows that if he would present sin in its own nature and dress, the soul would rather fly from it than yield to it; and therefore he presents it unto us, not in its own proper colors—but painted and gilded over with the name and show of virtue… “
- By extenuating and lessening of sin: “Ah! says Satan, it is but a little pride, a little worldliness, a little uncleanliness, a little drunkenness, etc… you may commit it without any danger to your soul. It is but a little one; you may commit it, and yet your soul shall live.
- By presenting to the soul the best of men’s sins, and by hiding from the soul their virtues: by setting before the soul the adultery of David, the pride of Hezekiah, the impatience of Job, the drunkenness of Noah, the blasphemy of Peter, etc., and by hiding from the soul the tears, the sighs, the groans, the meltings, the humblings, and repenting of these precious souls.
- To present God to the soul as one made up all of mercy: “Oh! says Satan, you need not make a matter of sin, you need not be so fearful of sin… for God is a God of mercy… a God that delights in mercy… a God more prone to pardon his people than punish his people.”
We live in a war-time environment (Eph 6:10ff) but often with a peace-time mentality. Dads, don’t let your sons grow up ignorant of Satan and his schemes. Teach them so that they, as Paul says, would, “no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes.” Ephesians 4:14 (NET) Teach them to believe in Satan’s existence; he is real and he is at work, scheming against the children of God. But know also that we serve a risen Savior who has already defeated Satan and freely gives us strength for the fight so that we, “may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11 (NET)