Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
The title for today’s message may sound more than a little strange to you, since I frequently emphasize God’s plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone. But make no mistake, Satan has a plan of salvation too. He presented his plan to Eve in the Garden of Eden, craftily convincing her to question God’s perfect goodness. The scheme worked; Eve brought Adam into Satan’s salvation and plunged all creation into a downward spiral of corruption and death.
Satan’s salvation is rooted in living for the self. It is designed to cause us to shrink our lives down to the size of our lives and to live for nothing bigger than self. Satan offers to give us the desires of our hearts . . . as long as our hearts are beating for everything other than Almighty God. The serpent convinced Eve that she could be just like God, knowing all things and able to determine all things for herself.
Don’t be fooled by the cultural caricature that Satan wants us to be down, dejected, depressed, defeated, and destroyed. That simply isn’t true! Satan wants us to eat, drink, and be merry, to happily and heedlessly “live for the moment” right up until the moment we die . . . and to die in Satan is to die down, dejected, depressed, defeated, and ultimately destroyed for all eternity. Satan says, “Serve me, and I will bring you instant gratification with all things temporal: temporal happiness . . . temporal joy . . . temporal success . . . temporal pleasure.”
Satan’s promise to you is the same promise he made to Jesus during our Lord’s wilderness experience: “You can have it all right now, Son of God, without having to carry that terrible cross.” But eventually, the temporal must end, and that end is death and destruction. Satan’s salvation is the broad road that Jesus warned against in Matthew 7:13, and many are careening down that road right now, living for nothing bigger than the self and the sensual.
What have you been living for lately? Self or Savior? There are only two options; when you live for the self, you are actually living for Satan. He is sitting on the throne of your life, leading you further and further away from God. But when you live for your Savior, He is sitting on the throne of your life, leading you further in and further up into eternal blessing. But your Savior requires that you take up your cross and follow Him, regardless of where He is leading. Jesus may lead you beside still waters, but He will also lead you into stormy seas. Where Satan promises to give you what you want, Jesus promises to give you what is best.
Jesus dealt with and ultimately defeated Satan’s offer of salvation by resting on the promises of God, which are found in the Word of God. And that is the key for you and me. When tempted to trust in the promises of Satan, we must respond as Jesus did: “Away from me Satan, for it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’” (Matthew 4:10).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!