Dear Christian, it is quite telling that the Bible twice calls Satan, “the tempter” (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5). He is described in this way because he loves to tempt (or test) the sons of men. This description summarizes well his chief occupation. And when our own unchecked (Jeremiah 17:9) and lustful hearts (Matthew 15:10-20) are melded with the aims of the tempter, sadly, they succumb to the wiles of the devil (James 1:13-14).
Therefore, let us be very clear, this deceiver is both God’s enemy and our adversary. But his aim to destroy us is not always easily seen by God’s children (2 Corinthians 11:14). Very wisely, the great puritan Richard Sibbes once said, “… in all temptations let us consider not what he (Satan) offers, but what we shall lose.” And let us also never forget the words of C. H. Spurgeon, “Satan is adept in teaching us how to steal our Master’s glory.” Thus, because this foul-fiend is out to destroy us, let us expect this conflict to be endless, this side of heaven.
So, Ephesians 6:11-12 says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over the present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” And even though our victory is sure (John 19:30) and Satan is a defeated foe (Matthew 12:28-29; John 12:31-32; Colossians 2:15), he is nevertheless a prideful one, who is daily roaming the earth seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
O dear friends, if he tempted the Son of Man for forty days (Matthew 4:1), he will no doubt daily seek to “sift us like wheat” (Luke 22:31-32). But there’s hope, we have a Savior who understands our plight (Hebrews 2:18), and daily provides a way of escape from the evil one’s temptations. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Therefore, let us take courage in these blessed words and let us then always and immediately take this way of escape! And if we do, then we will be marked constantly by repentance from our sins (1 John 1:9), and by resisting the Devil’s overtures which will come our way, moment by moment (Matthew 26:41; 1 Peter 5:9). Let us then pray constantly to our Lord, “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).
In conclusion, let us draw near to God; first, by taking heed to our heart preparation today, for encountering the living God tomorrow; both through our praises and prayers offered to Him, with God’s people; and secondly, through our attending to the public reading and preaching of His Holy, inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word! Soli Deo Gloria! Happy Reformation Year 500!