29 July 2022 Anno Domini
the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. 23He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.”
(Luke 11:21-23; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Make no mistake, Satan is the very personification of evil and his approaches are full of deception and hate for the righteous. In fact, he even hates his own who serve him and will destroy them if able. He promises that which he has no power to give, and gives that which is only spoiled goods.
There is a grave danger in studying too much of the Devil for we leave ourselves open to a near sympathetic and listening ear as did Eve at Eden. But “Take my yoke upon you, and LEARN OF ME; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
A few years ago, I had a neighbor, the widow of a prominent physician of our town, who began a Bible study in her home. She began as a biblically sound Baptist and ended up a complete nervous wreck in the end. What led to this lady’s ruined faith? Her study group decided to take up the study of Satan and his tactics. Their motive was not one of wicked imagination, but of a desire to learn more about Satan so as to be enabled to defend against him. The Gospel was mostly excluded from this study, and the results were horrific.
The group began to fear that Satan was after them. They became fearful of going outdoors. The lady I referenced above called me one day to check her phone – in those days it was only a landline. She believed that Satan, or his fellows, had tapped her phone. I had an instrument that would reveal if her phone was tapped, and it was not; but nothing would convince the lady of that. I tried to get her to pray with me for release from these terrifying fears, but she would have none of it. Such prayers would anger Satan and he would double his efforts to destroy her, she thought. A year later, the lady disappeared and no one has been able to find out where she went. She may have believed that Satan was limited by geography and she fled to a distant state still ruled by fear and dismally dark imaginations – much like Jonah in believing he could flee from the presence of God.
Evil knows no geographical limits, but neither does the power of God to overrule every deception and wicked object of that Prince of Darkness.
Our leading text has been used to suggest a justification for the right of self-defense, and that may be concluded from the principle stated; however, it is much more expansive than that! The natural home of the devil is in the hearts and minds of those who belong to his rule. The incorrigibly wicked are his favorite servants to maim, rape, murder and commit every perversion known to mankind. When the devil resides in the heart of the sinner (and he does in every habitual sinner’s heart), the man is helpless to rid himself of the shackles of that demonic rule. Satan is strong behind the bulwarks of wicked desire and greed. No mortal can evict him from the heart of the sinner – that is his PALACE.
There is no righteous decision that can lead a man to accept Christ while he is dead in trespasses and sin, and controlled by that sinister power of Hell. The sinner is helpless to do anything to rid himself of his sinful nature encouraged and informed by Satanic forces. But there is One who is far stronger than Satan – the Lord Jesus Christ. When He enters the heart to abide in it as His Temple, the devil is evicted and wanders aimlessly seeking another soul to inhabit. The child born of God is no longer subject to condemnation.
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:4-6) When Christ enters the heart through the grace and mercy of His Holy Spirit, there can be no room for the Prince of the Air. He is vanquished, bag and baggage. Christ is strong and able to keep that which the Father has committed unto His care.
The key for the Christian is not to study the devil, but study the Gospel! The Gospel provides the armor and strong walls to defend the Garden of the Heart. Satan is a counterfeit. He poses as an Angel of Light, and so do his ministers who may profess Christ while following their father the Devil just as many of the Jewish leaders did. The Gospel conveys knowledge and wisdom, and knowledge and wisdom of our loving Savior builds the bricks of love about our hearts. Love dispels all fear. The bank teller does not study counterfeit money, but handles the genuine currency so much day-by-day that he cannot be deceived by the counterfeit. This principle holds true for the devout Christian. “Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.”