Satan’s “If” vs. God’s “Amen”
Satan’s Consistent Method
by Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Part 1 of a series.
Satan always uses the same basic method to undermine Christians individually and the Church corporately.
Satan always uses one basic method as he seeks to undermine Christ’s church: He attempts to make Christians forget that God and His Word are all-sufficient. Satan’s method is to cause us to doubt God.
As we look at the instances we find in Scripture, and as we look at the church in our day, we find that one of Satan’s most common ways of doing this is the implied lie – a statement or question that contains or suggests the little word “if” as a way of creating doubt about God and His Word.
But God’s Word leaves no room for doubt, either about the wiles and lies of Satan or the truth and trustworthiness of God and His Word. On the one hand, we find Satan constantly using the little unsettling word “if”. But on the other hand we find great comfort, assurance, and power against the evil one, in the fact that our God and His Word proclaim not an unsettled “if” but a firmly settled and all-encompassing “Amen”.
One of the most powerful statements of this fact is found in Psalm 119:
Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides.
They continue this day according to Your ordinances, for all are Your servants.
Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life.
I am Yours, save [or preserve] me; for I have sought Your precepts.
The wicked wait for me to destroy me, but I will consider Your testimonies.
I have seen the consummation of all perfection, but Your commandment is exceedingly broad. (Psalm 119:89-96)
The All-Sufficiency of God’s Word
This passage is a testimony to the nature both of the Word of God, and the God of the Word. Both are all-sufficient. Both are completely trustworthy.
The Word of God is the settled Word. It is unchanging and unchangeable.
The God of the Word is the faithful God. He unchanging and unchangeable.
It is also essential to the nature of the Word that it is all-encompassing ─ applying to all people, in all situations, and in all times. That is the meaning of the words “Your commandment is exceedingly broad” in the original language of verse 96.
The Total Insufficiency of Man
This passage from Psalm 119 is also a testimony to the insufficiency of man – man apart from God, and apart from His Word. It is a testimony to our need to rely, absolutely, upon the Word of God and upon the God of the Word.
We must rely absolutely upon the Word of God because of our internal struggles of the heart and mind. Without God’s Word, the psalmist says, “I would have perished in my affliction.” The word that is translated “affliction” speaks of an inward poverty and misery, the internal struggles of the heart, soul, and mind.
We must rely absolutely upon the Word of God because of our external struggles as well – our struggles with this present evil world. “The wicked wait for me to destroy me,” the psalmist says. Literally, in the original this reads, “The wicked forces of this world are eagerly out to get me so that they can ruin me.”
Man’s insufficiency is rooted in his sinfulness, his variability, and his tendency to unfaithfulness. Satan preys upon these characteristics of our fallen nature. Ironically, as we shall see, Satan uses man’s insufficiency to make man think that he is sufficient without God. This has been Satan’ great treachery from the beginning.
Man’s insufficiency can only be overwhelmed and overpowered by salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer, and constant feeding upon the living Word of God.
That is the picture in Psalm 119: God’s total sufficiency rescuing us from our total insufficiency; God’s steadfastness rescuing us from Satan’s treachery. This is the picture of the Christian life, the Christian walk, the Christian position.
But into this picture, as we shall see as we continue, constantly steps Satan our adversary, wanting to ruin us. We must understand his method, and we must understand God’s answer.
Part 2 Satan’s use the implied lie
Part 3 Satan’s “Ifs” in the Pages of Scripture
Part 4 Satan’s implied lies in the church
Part 5 Satan’s Implied Lies in the Life of the Christian
Part 6 Satan’s Lying “Ifs” Demolished By God’s Faithful “Amen”
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