How can we possibly endure the fatigue from endless Spiritual Attack? Here are the techniques employed by victorious spiritual warriors: 1) God records both sin and repentance, 2) The saints did not make a habit of sin, 3) God does not disinherit sinners, but He does punish them and, 4) God has two reasons for recording the fall of the saints.
Book Review: When I first learned about Thomas Brooks, the Puritan preacher, I was overwhelmed by his spiritual maturity and the authority of his insights. However, I also realized that because it was written in an old style of English, most of the message would be lost on a post-modern audience …the very people who need to hear his words the most! Therefore, I decided to undertake a massive book review project, reviewing each chapter individually and “translating” the key ideas into a format suitable for a popular audience. All these techniques of Spiritual Warfare are adapted from Thomas Brook’s book “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” first published in 1652, now available through Puritan Paperbacks (see the Paid Link Below).
Device #4: Showing Only the Sins of the Best People, While Hiding their Virtues
In Device #3, we saw how the burden of sin was nearly unbearable for everyone. Even the smallest of sins pose the risk of mortal danger. But that is only half the story. Everyone, without exception, lives with sin. However, victorious spiritual warriors find ways to engage and overcome evil. Therefore, Satan’s fourth device of Spiritual Attack is to show you only the sins that the best people commit while hiding their virtuous behaviors. These are the virtues that make the burden of sin bearable; by hiding them, Satan seeks to trick you into giving up the fight.
Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked. (Genesis 9: 120-23 NIV)
How do we experience this device today?
Nicholas Sandmann was a sixteen-year-old boy from the Covington Catholic school who was falsely accused of being a racist and aggressively confronting an elderly Native American activist. After months of public harassment, the Washington Post settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit with him for defamation.
Three members of the Duke lacrosse team in Durham, North Carolina, were falsely accused of rape. The accuser caused a national uproar around the subjects of racism, sexual violence, and media bias. In 2007, the North Carolina DA dropped all charges, declaring the lacrosse players innocent. And the prosecuting attorney was disbarred for dishonestly, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation.
During the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme court of the United States, the presumption of innocence was abandoned when he was accused of a wide assortment of scandalous crimes. Eventually, the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded that no witness could be found to provide any verifiable evidence to support any of the allegations brought against him.
Remedy 1: Despite what we see in the news, understand that God records both sins and the REPENTANCE of saints. Yes, the burden of sin is immense. And yes, even the smallest of sins carries with it the weight of eternal damnation, but that is only half of the story. The other half, the more important half, is about the ongoing resistance and repentance of sin. Post-modern audiences are quick to reject Scripture because it convicts them of sin, but the Bible really talks about salvation through repentance. To miss that is to miss the whole point. Each person can sin as easily as the next, but the real question is; can you repent as the best among us do?
Remedy 2: The second thing to consider is this: The victorious spiritual warriors among us do not make a habit of sin. They occasionally fall through accident, momentary weakness, and with reluctance. In contrast, you frequently sin, obstinately, and with delight. Can you see the difference? By making a habit of sin, you bring upon your soul a kind of cursed necessity to continue sinning. It is as if evil has become your nature. When you claim that others are no better than you because they also sin, you are wrong. Their hearts turn aside from folly the next day, while your heart turns to folly every day.
Remedy 3: The third remedy is a hard lesson to learn, but of great benefit. God will never disinherit people for committing sins; however, He will punish people for their sins. Scripture abounds with examples. But it is mercy that our punishment is not death but correction. God’s corrections are our instructions, His lashes are our lessons, His scourges are our schoolmasters. For God is most angry when He shows no anger. When God abandons people to wallow in their sins (Romans 1:24-25), it is a prelude to destruction. Post-modern people should pray for God’s anger because leaving us without punishment leads to profound and eternal misery.
Remedy 4: Not even the bravest spirits and noblest souls escape sin on this earth, but God has two reasons for recording the fall of saints. The first reason is to keep the masses of humanity, who are also struggling with the perpetual influence of sin, from fainting, sinking, and despairing under the burden. If saints can persevere under the burden of sin, so can we. The second reason God keeps a record of their fall is to provide landmarks to warn others how they come near the pitfalls, snares, and baits that lure us all. If someone claims that the sins of virtuous people justify their own sins, you may call that person Christless, graceless, a soul cast off by God that Satan has taken by the hand.
Because Thomas Brooks offers so many remedies, and because he lists them so systematically, I built an online spreadsheet for easy referencing. Find all of the Remedies to Satan’s Devices at the Spiritual Warfare Curated Library. Be sure to link to the page as the spreadsheet is constantly being updated!