As I was working on the studies for our Grace Groups, I was challenged and encouraged by a few thoughts which came from some Puritans. I want to share a few of those thoughts for your edification as well. I hope to share more in future posts. I am deeply thankful to Joel Beeke & Mark Jones for collating so much of this material in their volume, "A Puritan Theology." I encourage you to pick up the book.
The Puritans rightly warned of the need for watchfulness regarding Satan's temptations in the Christian life. The Puritans rightly emphasized the general vigilance we need to employ regarding the devices of Satan and the hope we have in the midst of them.
Puritan Thomas Brooks included Satan's devices in the following quote, "Christ, the Scripture, your own hearts, and Satan's devices, are the four prime things that should be first and most studied and searched." I often attend to the first 3 things which should be studied. I seldom attend to Satan's devices.
Puritan William Gurnall said that no actress has, "so many dresses to come in upon the stage with as the devil has forms of temptation." In other words, Satan tempts us all in different ways. There are a myriad of people with a vast number of different experiences and varying weaknesses. Thus, there are a number of different and personal ways Satan tempts us to sin. It is imperative then that I attend to Satan's devices.
The problem with becoming aware of the active and varied nature of Satan's schemes is that I may become easily discouraged. I can't see how I am able to ever out fox the serpent. This is why it is so helpful to remember that Puritan Stephen Charnock said, "The goodness of God makes the devil a polisher, while he intends to be a destroyer." All the Devil can do to a child of God is be used of God to make me more like Christ. He may tempt me and attack me in painful and wicked ways. However, the Lord is sovereign over all and his loving discipline will bring about the peaceful fruit of righteousness in the lives of all his children. Satan can do nothing about that!
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