Friday, November 26

Satan's Schemes Backfire

We walk cautiously between fear of the devil on the one hand, and treating him flippantly on the other. One truth the believer must affirm is the victory of Jesus Christ over sin, self, AND the devil! It is for this reason I have loved the stanza from Martin Luther's famous hymn: 

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed his truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure; One little word shall fell him.

And this from Desiring God Blog:
According to Jonathan Edwards, Satan's desire to destroy man in the garden grew out of envy. His haughtiness and pride were insulted to see earthborn creatures receiving such honor while he, a native of heaven with such natural strength and knowledge, was cast down and dishonored. Thus, in this jealousy, Satan deceived Eve to bring an end to the insult.

Edwards paints the scene, and then he exposes the irony:

And oh, how may we conclude Satan triumphed when he had brought 'em down! How did he as it were laugh, to think how sorrowfully they found themselves disappointed in their expectations of coming to higher honor and being like gods.

But their fall has been the occasion of their being advanced to much greater dignity than before, brought much nearer to God, far more nearly united to him, [and] are become his members, his spouse, and in many respects more honored than the angels. . . .

This very act of Satan has been the occasion of bringing about the very thing, the destruction of which he therein aimed at, and that in higher degrees. (Miscellanies #156, paragraphing added)

The irony with Satan is that all his schemes for evil—whether in Eden, at the cross, or in your life—do precisely the opposite of what he intends. In his attempt to ruin man by killing him with sin, Satan only opened the door for a greater win: unbreakable union with God through Jesus Christ.

Just like with the helpless schemes of Joseph's brothers, no matter what Satan may mean with his evil deeds, God means them ultimately for his glory and the greater good of those who love him (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28).

John Piper touches on this same irony in his sermon about how Satan's murder of the Messiah was actually a suicide: "Judas Iscariot, the Suicide of Satan, and the Salvation of the World."

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