For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.(Mark 8:38, cp. Luke 9:26)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel… (Romans 1:16)
Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” (Matthew 4:10)
“And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?” (Matthew 12:26)
And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (Luke 10:18)
Simon, Simon, behold Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat…” Luke 22:31)
If Christ words are true, as all who profess to be Christian do, by that profession, proclaim them to be, then there are but few Christians among the politicians and other political actors who these days seek political support from Christian voters in the United States. Which of them openly acknowledges that Satanic evil is at the heart of the crisis that now threatens the liberty of the American people?
Most are ashamed of the words of Christ. Most are unwilling to admit that, on account of America’s role in thwarting Satan’s horrific agenda for humanity in the twentieth century, what was said of Peter might be said of righteous Americans: “…behold Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat…”
Thanks to the harsh ridicule that is instantly heaped upon anyone who dares even obliquely to refer to the evil personality the name evokes, many Christians in public life seem to be ashamed of the Scriptural references to Satanic evil, including Christ’s first hand description of Satan’s fall from heaven. Because we cannot think of these words without fear of ridicule, we make no effort to think about why and how they are relevant to the moral battle that is now taking place in the United States.
Satan may intend this battle to be the final offensive in his long campaign to capture America’s body politic. He aims to make it a member of the body which has, ever since Jesus was born, worked against the body of Christ to forestall the liberation of the many who are still susceptible to Satan’s God-hating delusions, which he employs to keep people entangled in death’s fatal coils.
Because we are ashamed of the gospel, Christ’s proffered authority “over all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19) is literally withheld from us. On account of our shame we will not boldly look into the face of our adversary; we will not boldly advance, wielding the sword in our mouths to drive him from the ground he now stains with the blood of ruined souls, even the souls of our posterity which it thirstily swallows to perdition.
Our shame makes us defenseless. It deprives us of the strategic understanding that would make good the arms of the spirit which, even now, Christ offers us.
Because we will not ponder Satan’s name we have forgotten its meaning, and lost the way of thinking which a sense of its meaning would otherwise make clear to us. For in the parlance of God, Satan means ‘the adversary’, the enemy, the one disposed ceaselessly to war “against the LORD and against his anointed, saying ‘Let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us.” (Psalm 2:2-3)
The freedom offered in Satan’s name is freedom from God, and therefore from all the God ordained measures and boundaries by means of which our Creator has made and makes us what we are. In a word, satanic freedom is self-destruction, the freedom to undo all that God has done for us, to peals of laughter from Satan’s throne in Hell.
Because we are ashamed of Christ’s words, we have lost the strategic advantage true Christians enjoyed in the ceaseless battle for life that is, whether we perceive it or not, the permanent and general condition of humanity since straying from our first home, out Eden’s way.
Though from the largest strategic perspective, the war was won when Christ rose up in triumph, yet for us the battle rages, ’til in glory he has come again. But because we have forgotten the meaning of Satan’s name, we wander about the battlefield as smiling idiots; heedless children rapt in play.
In the spiritual battle that now hangs in the balance, we Christians have lost the general’s eye. The general sees the hills as battlements; the forests glades as staging areas; the forests themselves as venues for ambuscade; the meadows, lanes and streams as avenues of attack, ripe with danger or offering escape from it. Thanks to our strategic blindness we Christians have especially lost that sense of danger and opportunity, the wariness on account of which the mind considers how each moment and circumstance might be turned, either against us or against the forces of our adversary.
Strategy is the general’s art, the art of war. But where there is no adversary the presence and ceaseless activity of the adversary is forgotten. Perceiving no war, one neglects to see the world in warlike terms. Is there a higher triumph of the general’s art than to induce an enemy thus to indulge a false sense of security? Doing so, he may be taken unawares, almost without a blow.
In the war for America’s soul, the shameful neglect of Christ’s awareness of the adversary: the one who slanders God; the one who plots against the LORD and his anointed (all which are in the tones and overtones of the meaning of Satan’s name). On account of this neglect, Christians continually react to the adversary’s stroke as though taken by surprise. They have gone from being Christ enabled champions on the field of spiritual battle to being timorous cowards, paralyzed by fear, or else moved to search for avenues of escape or accommodation even before the battle has been joined.
Sift through the short and long of all the tomes by strategists of war and one thing is clear- the key to successful war is to foresee and thwart the conspiracies of your adversary. To have an ear wherever enemies whisper is the dream of kings and conquerors. But even such ears mean nothing except that we perceive what we hear with eyes that see the enemy for what he is.
These days people who call themselves conservatives loudly decry Obama’s unwillingness to see our terrorist enemies for what they are. Yet some of these same people, self-styled Christians though they are, refuse to see their enemy as Christ saw him.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” the Apostle admonishes. If we are loath to let the words of Christ inform our minds, how can this come to pass? But if we can overcome our impious shame, we may rediscover in Christ the training for strategic thought. We may restore the bold readiness for battle, that was the key to victory in so many spiritual contests in ages past.
This week the column I am preparing for WND deals with an issue that reflects this Christian’s willingness to banish the shame that, though it professes the name of Christ, refuses to do what Christ did, to wit: name and take account of the personification of evil as we think through the wicked stratagems that these days masquerade as appeals to Christian tolerance and love.