Incredible joy, he will not let this stand. Merciful freedom, he hates every unbound step you take. A risen Savior who crushed his head, he will do everything in his power to drag you down to the pit with him. The great Deceiver is craftily educating you right now, especially after such an Easter celebration that proclaimed eternal life was won for you.
But Satan’s strategies are no different than when he first began teaching. Questioning the Word of God, inspiring doubt in the hearts of God’s people. But he instructs deceit in the gentlest of ways. He strokes your ego, he dangles the shiny happy life before your nose, he sweetly invites you to be your own person, he displays a glistening opportunity to turn away from the Almighty God. And you bite every time.
Right after our happy Easter Sunday Celebration you have been thrown back into the world that never stopped spinning. The bright light of God’s promise to you—forgiveness, new life, eternity—clouds over when you look around. Friendships crumbling, family relationships dying, disappointments and stress chip away at the blessed hope you just celebrated. And the Devil begins to whisper, “Did God really say that Jesus would make this better? I mean, look at this place. Death still happens. Sin runs freely. It doesn’t look like anything has changed. Did God really mean the battle is over… really?” And the evil one moves in closer as you start to wonder.
The devil knows exactly what he is doing. So, now he presses a little harder, coaching his lies. “Did God really say that you are part of his eternal kingdom? How do you know for sure?” You look at your own life, you consider your incomplete ways. How do you know that these promises are really for you? You can’t see a difference in your own wretched life. In fact, you seem worse and worse the more you study God’s Word. So even after Easter, your life is feeling less and less like the saint you were proclaimed to be. And the evil one smiles as you look deeper into your own heart for the answers.
Satan’s words are now boldly untrue, charging you with responsibility for your righteous life. Sickened by the evil that lurks within, Satan teaches you how to fix it. Repent harder, he says. Dig deeper, he smirks. Do more, he shouts. You are responsible for your own destiny, Satan lectures, God helps those who help themselves. With every wicked word, he points you directly to the source of failure and death—trusting in yourself as your very own god. And the evil one giggles as you shun the external mercy of God on a cross, to embrace wrath.
The only way that any unfortunate sinner could please the Almighty God is by the perfect work and atoning death of Christ.
Pondering the strange ways of the Lord, the devil isn’t finished grooming you to instead walk in his ways. Constantly asking, “Why would God keep you from enjoying life right now? Of course, God wants you to be happy!” Every day God’s Word is more and more forgotten, and a life of comfort and peace becomes the final hope for which you pray. A better today free from suffering, Satan promises, a productive life of success will be yours. And the evil one breathes a sigh of relief that you are living in the moment—safely chained to him.
Before you ever know what happened, Satan has taught us to doubt the promise of the crucified and risen Christ. His terrible classroom on the earth captures our attention. It surrounds us wherever we walk, and his teachings are on the lips of too many people around us. But there is a place where his darkness cannot reach. And the Evil One is terrified that you will take root in this place of truth.
It’s nothing to look at, a confused and malicious gathering of people. A whole room of poor miserable sinners, in fact. But it’s not their life, it’s not their deeds, it’s not the way they look or how they talk or how they feel. A broken body is there. It’s given to all these people who gather for the forgiveness of sins.
A cup of blood is there, shed for you.
Each person sips this precious gift of eternal life. It is an amazing foretaste of the feast that will surely come, won by the blood of Jesus. Here they listen and taste the truth about Easter. The only way that any unfortunate sinner could please the Almighty God is by the perfect work and atoning death of Christ. Jesus died, just at the right time, for dreadful sinners. Jesus rose from the dead, and these proclaimed saints will follow in their own resurrection. Alive forever! It is here that the devil and his lies are beat back with the sure gifts of God.
And the Evil One doesn’t want you to know: In Christ, he has absolutely no power over you.