The Devil is mean. You may recall that towards the end of last week’s sermon I briefly addressed the question of the believer’s assurance. I noted that once someone has been made a child of God, there is nothing that can take that person out of the Father’s hand. I know arguments have been made to the contrary, but when it comes down to it I find myself asking, if God became my Father when he adopted me into his family through the death and resurrection of his Son and the power of the Holy Spirit, what kind of Father would he be if he turned around and denied he ever knew me? What sin could I commit once I have been redeemed that would not be covered by Jesus’s blood?
It’s vital for every believer to appreciate what it means to be adopted into the divine family and given the privilege of calling God, “Father”. It’s vital for every believer to know that Jesus has become our elder brother, the first of many to be freed from the bondage of sin and raised to new life forever more. It’s vital for every believer to understand that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence with them and will bring to completion the work begun in us at the time of our conversion.
Why, you might ask, is this so important? Because, as I said at the beginning, the Devil is mean. Once you have been adopted into God’s family, Satan has no more claim upon your life. This means that his chief aim turns from trying to keep you in darkness to trying to take away your assurance.
Intriguingly, earlier this week I was talking with a friend who shared something he discovered while reading through the Psalms. He started in Psalm 44 which begins recounting God’s mighty acts in the past, but turns and laments that, in the present, God appears to have disappeared!
“Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?…
Why do you hide your face?”
Then, just two Psalms later, in Psalm 46, we read that instead of God feeling distant and silent, he feels close and powerful.
“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.”
What, my friend wondered, changes the feeling of God as distant (Ps. 44) to God as near (Ps. 46)? Perhaps something in Psalm 45?
Psalm 45 is a love song that poetically frames God’s people as a bride and God himself as both king and groom. Notably, this Psalm is directly applied to Jesus in the book of Hebrews. How poignant that immediately following a Psalm expressing the struggles of someone whose assurance of God’s love, protection and intimacy has been lost, is a Psalm extoling the truth of who we are in God’s sight.
My takeaway? When my sense of assurance begins to falter (Ps. 44), I need to remember who I am in Christ, who I am in relation to my heavenly Father and who I am being made into (Ps. 45), and that will give me a firm foundation on which I can stand against the lies of the Devil (Ps. 46).