We live in time between the times. We are living in a time that is after Jesus has come and before he comes again. We are living between two advents. The Messiah has come and he has achieved our salvation by his perfect life, death, and resurrection. The Spirit has come as well and he indwells all who call upon the name of Jesus. He empowers us, gifts us, and sanctifies us. However, we are awaiting the return of Christ. We live in a world that groans with the pains of childbirth (Rom. 8:22). And not only creation, but we also groan with these pains as we are still living in the flesh (Rom. 8:23). Even though we fight to set our minds on the Spirit and not on the flesh, we live as paranoid schizophrenics as we don’t understand our actions. We ache with Paul as he writes,
For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing (Rom. 7:15, 19).
The truth is, that as we wait, work, and fight for our continued faith in Jesus by the power of the grace of God, we are in a great and serious spiritual battle. The serpent of old has his fangs sharpened and primed to inject deadly poison. However, we have the antidote. While we do have immeasurable future grace to rest on for the forgiveness of our sins, we should take more seriously and apply more vigorously the empowerment of God’s grace to fight sin. By God’s grace, we have “learned Christ..and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds” (Eph. 4:20, 21-22 emphasis mine).
It is easy for us to depend on the grace of God to pardon us when we sin. However, we must rely more often on God’s grace to empower us to flee from sin. The Puritan pastor Thomas Brooks (1608-1680) wrote a remarkable and timeless work on fighting sin and Satan in this time between the times. In this land that we are sojourning on as strangers, Brooks has given us a work, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, that is very helpful in our fight against sin and Satan. In my reading of this work, I am currently going through 12 devices that Brooks says Satan uses to draw the soul to sin. There is one glorious remedy that Brooks gives that should be used to fight the device of “painting sin with virtues colors” that I will quote at length. Satan entices us to sin by making sin look virtuous. Brooks has given me an effective weapon to put in my arsenal in my fight against sin and Satan. It is built on the confidence in the Christ who has already defeated sin and Satan. Considering what Jesus has done in our place and placing our faith and confidence in the work of Christ to defeat sin and Satan will be a tremendous weapon to use in our fight for holiness against Satan’s devices. May your faith be strengthened by this beautiful exposition of how confidence in Christ’s atoning work to defeat Satan and the sins that destroy will be a great aid in fighting sin as we walk in the land of “already and not yet”. This excerpt is taken from Thomas Brooks’ Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices (BTT: 2011, Orig. Pub.: 1562, p. 36). All emphasis is from the author:
Seriously to consider, That even those very sins that Satan paints, and puts new names and colors upon, cost the best blood, the noblest blood, the life-blood, the heart-blood of the Lord Jesus. That Christ should come from the eternal bosom of his Father to a region of sorrow and death; that God should be manifested in the flesh, the Creator made a creature; that he who was clothed with glory should be wrapped with rags of flesh; he who filled heaven and earth with his glory should be cradled in a manger; that the almighty God should flee from weak man–the God of Israel into Egypt; that the God of the law should be subject to the law, the God of the circumcision circumcised, the God who made the heavens working at Joseph’s homely trade; that he who binds the devils in chains should be tempted; that he, whose is the world, and the fullness thereof, should hunger and thirst; that the God of strength should be weary, the Judge of all flesh condemned, the God of life put to death; that he who is one with his Father should cry out of misery, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27:46); that he who had the keys of hell and death at his belt should lie imprisoned in the sepulcher of another, having in his lifetime nowhere to lay his head, nor after death to lay his body; that that HEAD, before which the angels do cast down their crowns, should be crowned with thorns, and those EYES, purer than the sun, put out by the darkness of death; those EARS, which hear nothing but hallelujahs of saints and angels, to hear the blasphemies of the multitude; that FACE, which was fairer than the sons of men, to be spit on by those beastly wretched Jews; that MOUTH and TONGUE, which spoke as never man spoke, accused for blasphemy; those HANDS, which freely swayed the scepter of heaven, nailed to the cross; those FEET, ‘like unto fine brass,’ nailed to the cross for man’s sins; each sense pained with a spear and nails; his SMELL, with stinking odor, being crucified on Golgotha, the place of skulls; his TASTE, with vinegar and gall; his HEARING, with reproaches, and SIGHT of his mother and disciples bemoaning him; his SOUL, comfortless and forsaken; and all this for those very sins that Satan paints and puts fine colors upon! Oh! how should the consideration of this stir up the soul against sin, and work the soul to fly from it, and to use all holy means whereby sin may be subdued and destroyed!