IN Gods original empire everything was happiness, and joy, and peace. If there be any evil, any suffering and pain, that is not Gods work. God may permit it, overrule it, and out of it educe much good; but the evil cometh not of God. He himself standeth pure and perfect, the clean fountain out of which gusheth forth ever more sweet and pure waters.
Death is a part of Satans dominion, he brought sin into the world when he tempted our mother Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, and with sin he brought also death into the world, with all its train of woes. There had been likely no death, if there had been no devil. If Satan had not tempted, mayhap man had not revolted, and if he had not revolted he would have lived for ever, without having to undergo the painful change which is caused by death.
I think death is the devils masterpiece. With the solitary exception of hell, death is certainly the most Satanic mischief that sin hath accomplished.
A Christian in health he will seldom attack; a Christian who has been living near his Master, and is strong in grace, the devil will leave alone, because he knows he will meet his match then; but if he can find a Christian either weak in faith, or weak in body, then he thinks it a fair opportunity for attack.
All the devils in hell could not take away the life of the smallest infant in the world, and though we lie gasping and sick, so that the physician despairs of us, it is nothing but the fiat of the Almighty that can cause us to die, even in the extremity of our weakness As far as the cause is concerned, the devil is not the cause of death.
The subject of our discourse this morning is this. Jesus Christ through his death, hath destroyed what power the devil hath over death. Ay, and to add a second truth which shall be our second head, he hath not only by his death destroyed the power which the devil had over death, but he hath destroyed the devils power entirely in every respect by the death which he died.
The devils power over death lies in three places, and we must look at it in three aspects. sometimes the devil hath power in death over the Christian, by tempting him to doubt his resurrection, and leading him to look into the black future with the dread of annihilation.
So, you see, Christ, by being a witness to the feet of the resurrection, has broken the power of the devil in death. In this respect he has prevented him from tempting us to fear annihilation, because, as Christians, we believe that because Christ rose again from the dead, even so they that sleep in Jesus will the Lord bring with him.
Full often the devil comes to us in our life-time, and he tempts us by telling us that our guilt will certainly prevail against us, that the sins of our youth and our former transgressions are still in our bones, and that when we sleep in the grave our sins shall rise up against us “They have many of them,” saith he, “gone before you unto judgment, and others shall follow after.”
He is a man that has got faith indeed that can look sin in the face, and still say, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth me from sin.” But were it not for that blood, were it not for the death of Christ, you can easily conceive what power the devil would have over us in the hour of death, because he would fling all our sins in our teeth just when we came to die, But now see how through death Christ has taken away the devil s power to do that.
But O fiend, let me tell thee my sins were numbered on the scape-goats head of old. Go thou, O Satan, to Calvarys cross, and see my substitute bleeding there, Behold, my sins are not mine; they are laid on his eternal shoulders, and he has cast them from his own shoulders into the depths of the sea.
“Ah!” said an aged saint once who had been much teased by Satan, “at last I got rid of my temptations, sir, and I enjoyed much peace,” “How did you do it?” said a Christian friend who visited him, “I showed him blood, sir; I showed him the blood of Christ.” That is a thing the devil cannot endure. You may tell the devil, “Oh! but I prayed so many times.” He will sniff at your prayers. You may tell him, “Ah! but I was a preacher” He will laugh in your face, and tell you you preached your own damnation You may tell him you had some good works, and he will lift them up and say, “these are your good works filthy rags: no one would have them at a gift.” You may tell him, “Ah! but I have repented.” He will sneer at your repentance. You may tell him what you like, he will sneer at you, till at last you say, Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to the cross I cling;” And it is all over with the devil then; there is nothing now that he can do, for the death of Christ has destroyed the power that the devil hath over us to tempt us on account of our guilt.
Once more, you may suppose a Christian who has firm confidence in a future state. The evil one has another temptation for him. "It may be very true,” saith he, “that you are to live for ever and that your sins have been pardoned; but you have hitherto found it very hard work to persevere, and now you are about to die you will be sure to fail.
O fiend, thou temptest us to think that thou wilt conquer us; remember Satan, that the strength that has preserved us against thee has not been our own; the arm that has delivered us has not been this arm of flesh and blood, else we had long since been overcome. Look thou there, fiend, at him that is Omnipotent: his Almightiness is the power that preserves us to the end; and, therefore, be we never so weak, when we are weak then we are strong, and in our last hour of peril we shall yet overcome thee.”
Some people say they dont believe in a devil. Well, I have only to tell them I dont believe in them because if they knew themselves much they would very soon find a devil. But it is quite possible that they have very little evidence of there being any devil; for you know the devil never wastes his time.
The reason why you dont believe there is a devil, very likely is, that the devil very seldom comes to you because you are so safe that he does not take any trouble to look after you, and you have not seen him, because you are too bad for him to care about, and he says, “Oh no, theres no need for me to waste time to tempt that man, it would be carrying coals to Newcastle to tempt him, for he is as bad as he can be, and therefore let him alone.” But when a man lives near to God, or when a mans conscience begins to be aroused, then Satan cries, “To arms! to arms! to arms!” For two good reasons: first, because he wants to worry him, and secondly, because he wants to destroy him. Well, we bless God that though the devil may direct his utmost scorn and craft and malice against the Christian, the Christian is safe behind the rock Christ Jesus, and may rest secure.© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible