by J.C. Ryle
“The Gospel of Luke” 1858
“Simon, Simon–Satan Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat!” Luke 22:31
We learn here–what a fearful enemy the devil is to believers. Satan was near Christ’s flock–though they saw him not. He was longing to accomplish their ruin–though they knew it not. The devil desires the destruction of souls, more than the wolf craves the blood of the lamb!
The personality, activity, and power of the devil are not sufficiently thought of by Christians. This is he who brought sin into the world at the beginning, by tempting Eve. This is he who is described in the book of Job as “going to and fro in the earth.” This is he whom our Lord calls “the prince of this world,” a “murderer,” and a “liar.” This is he whom Peter compares to a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” This is he whom John speaks of as “the accuser of the brethren.” This is he who is ever . . . working evil in the churches, catching away good seed from the hearts of hearers, sowing tares amid the wheat, stirring up persecutions, suggesting false doctrines, and fomenting divisions!
The world is a snare to the believer. The flesh is a burden and a clog. But there is no enemy so dangerous as that restless, invisible, subtle, experienced enemy–the devil!
If we believe the Bible, let us not be ashamed to believe that there is a malicious devil who is ever on a deadly prowl. It is a solemn proof of the hardness and blindness of unconverted men–that they can jest and speak lightly of Satan.
If we profess to have any real religion, let us be on our guard against the devil’s evil schemes. The enemy who overthrew David and Peter, and assaulted Christ Himself–is not an enemy to be despised. He is very subtle and malicious. He has studied the heart of man for six thousand years. He can approach us under the garb of an “angel of light.” We have need to watch and pray, and put on the whole armor of God.
It is a blessed promise, that if we resist him–then he will flee from us.
It is a still more blessed thought that when the Lord comes–He will bruise Satan under our feet, bind him in eternal chains and cast him into the lake of fire!
“The devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever!” Revelation 20:10
by J.C. Ryle