As we continue our reflections during the season of Lent, I am sorry to have to discuss another prominent player. He is called the devil or satan.
Even though I hate to even think about him, we need to know he is still around. Peter warned us.
“Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
Satan has the uncanny ability to morph into most anything or anyone you always thought you wanted.
I will use the male pronouns to describe him, but he is really an “it” if anything, and is able to appear as male or female.
He can be beautiful. He can be handsome. He can be sexy. He can give you a false high. He will make promises he won’t or can’t keep. He will temp you to give up everything for just a taste of what he has to offer.
And when you bite (no pun intended to Adam and Eve), he will laugh and accuse you for being so stupid.
He will torment you and offer you more “get out of jail free” cards, but nothing is free with him. Everything has a price and it is a steep one.
If you keep him in your life, he will drag you to the bottom pits of hell right here on earth and potentially in the world to come.
Why would we even consider him in a story as beautiful as The Easter Story? We look at him because it was he who sought to be master and Lord.
It was satan who wanted The One God to bow to him.
It is satan who wants to make you pay for every sin you have ever committed. But his way of doing business is a little backwards to that. You commit the sin. He pays you, but not in any way you want.
It was not God Who wanted to pile your sins on you and beat the stuffings out of you. It was satan.
Romans 6:23 summarizes it neatly. “The wages of sin is death.” Hang with satan. Hang on to the sins. He will pay you what you earned.
If you want to get out of Satan’s pay line, then you can accept A Gift from Your Creator, Who never wanted you to suffer.
What’s The Gift? Eternal Life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Second part of Romans 6:23.
Why would anyone reject a Gift? If you don’t trust the one giving the gift, you may refuse it. You may think it’s too good to be true. You may wonder, “What’s The Catch?”
Satan knows God’s Gift is free to all. He knows it is a good Gift. He know your receiving that Gift is going to make it very difficult for him to hang on to you.
He can’t stop God’s Offer, but he hopes to keep you from accepting it.
Satan’s main goal is to convince us God does not love us. If we believe God does not love us, we will believe He has distanced Himself from us. If we believe God does not love us, we will distance ourselves from God.
And if we cease to communicate with God, we will not seek His Forgiveness for our sins. We will believe He would not forgive us, even if we asked. We will believe He would punish us.
We will believe we are alone. Satan will assure us we are not alone. He is with us. He will offer more things that cloud our mind and make us forget The Truths we knew about God.
Satan has tried to claim what victories he could through the Easter story. He threw everything he had at Jesus.
Even though he could not get us to forget the resurrection, he did succeed in getting some to believe God abandoned Jesus in His Time of suffering on the cross.
Satan loves to play up Jesus’ Words of, “My God, My God, why haven’t You forsaken Me?” Those words seem to fit in so nicely with all the other doubts about God that Satan planted.
God, angry with His Creation. Sending His Son to take a beating and die a horrible death to show the people what He wanted to do to them. And then looking away when His Son was suffering under a load of sin.
Satan, The Accuser, revels in the opportunity to accuse God.
But Jesus told us who satan is.
“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
What is The Truth?
God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit are ONE. They were ONE at the cross, as they always had been and forever shall be.
When satan wanted to pay everyone for the sins they had committed, The ONE, said, “OK, let’s balance the books right now. Pay Me their wages!”
The horror of the crucifixion allows us to see how satan pays his wages. And if we look at the cross in its true Light, we will see a Loving God receiving satan’s wages in our place.
Isaiah knew someone would think it was God dealing out punishment, but it was not. It was God receiving on our behalf.
“Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him and by His Wounds, we are healed.”
So what about Jesus’ statement that seemed to imply God had abandoned Him? We will talk more about that in a future blog post.
For now, know this. Isaiah 59:2 says, “Your sins have hidden His Face from you.” God will still be there. Remember Paul’s Proclamation.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God will always be present, but you may think He is not. Your sins will be blocking your view.
Also know this. You should always read all of a scripture passage. Right after God demonstrated what sin can do to your view of Him, He demonstrated what will relieve you of sin and bring you face to Face with Him.
Jesus’ next action was surrender to God. Surrender is not giving up yourself. Surrender to The Spirit of God is allowing God to take off anything that has covered up what He created you to be.
Surrender to God frees you from satan’s grasp and allows you to fully experience being part of The Glorious One.
“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Your Hands I commit My Spirit.’”
And at that moment, it was clear to all Jesus had not been abandoned. The Glory of Father, Son and Holy Spirit turned on all The Lights in the universe.
Satan hates light. He fled.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Those who were still at the cross knew they were in The Presence of Almighty God.
“And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’”