As dangerous and as powerful as Satan is, I think some of us give him too much credit.
In the Book of Job we learn that Satan can only do whatever God permits him to do. God forbids him to take Job’s life, so he can’t.
St. James teaches us, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Although he is sometimes referred to as “the prince of this world,” I don’t believe that means that Satan is sovereign over God’s created world, but rather, only over those who reject God for the world.
If the world really did lie under Satan’s government, the whole thing would look like certain places in New Jersey.
If God really had ceded the rulership of the world to Satan, we would have, under Satan’s direction, entirely killed ourselves off by now. I cannot see the human race surviving the 20th century without God’s intervention. Not that we would’ve ever made it to the 20th.
God’s provides us with abundant proofs–the beauties of nature, the tenderness of love, the goodness of His word: but this list could go on all day–that He is a faithful Creator who is always close to us, who loves us, and who will see us through our many trials.
So why does God permit Satan to do anything at all?
Because everything Satan does, God will turn to His own use; because we whom God made in His own image have to be endowed with moral freedom, which sadly means we have the freedom to do wrong, and very wrong indeed… And boy, if you can see clear to the bottom of God’s plan, or clear to the ceiling, you don’t need any two cents from me!
Either I’m getting kind of soppy in my old age, or there is something special about this hymn: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come, traditionally associated with Thanksgiving but really applicable to all the year. It’s the lyrics, it’s the message, it’s the feeling. It’s the suddenly, unexpected awareness of God’s love. It’s the music, it’s the gorgeous background scenery. It’s thankfulness to the Lord Our God, who daily loadeth us with benefits. Love and be loved. It’s from God.
For those who haven’t seen this video, which Linda has shared with us in a comment, or who can’t get the link to work, here it is for everybody.
Watch the baby’s smile unfold like a flower. Seriously–if you were creating the heavens and the earth, in God’s place, would you have ever thought of giving us animals to love, that love us in return? How many eons would have drifted by, before we thought of that? But God did!
That kitten’s love, and God’s love, will bless that baby all his life.
I’ve been re-reading Parables by John MacArthur, a book I’ve already reviewed here and elsewhere: and let me say again that, if you haven’t read it yet, you really ought to.
The chapter I read today examined the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and makes a powerful point: this is what God’s love is like. This is the love that we receive from God. And he quotes St. Paul, “When we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).
“I am saved.” We have heard that so often, and so often said it ourselves, that it has become a cliche–which means we have to try to hear it now as if we’ve never heard it before. As if the good news of the Gospel really were news to us.
This is power. This is Jesus Christ, our Savior. There is no one, no institution, no public policy, no power in the world that can give this to us: only God’s grace alone, in the person of Jesus Christ. By grace we are saved. Not by anything we do, or ever can do. Because we can’t. But God can.And has done so.