Timeless Advice

The more things change, the more they stay the same, as the old saying goes. Precious little has changed since man was first created, and since he first transgressed. The Lord promised “enmity” between Satan and the human race after the adversary beguiled Eve in the garden so many thousands of years ago; true to God’s word, we still have a daily war to wage with “that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9).

However, the rest of God’s proclamation in Genesis 3 came to pass just as certainly—the Seed of woman, realized in Jesus Christ, would deliver a crushing blow to the head of the deceiver, winning a great victory over him even at cost to Himself. Because Jesus was willing to lower Himself to the earth, because He was willing to offer His own life, we need not ever let Satan win a complete victory—we are equipped to resist the father of lies and, failing that, to claim forgiveness through Christ.

Even before the Word became flesh and displayed the at- tributes of God on earth—His holiness, perfection, faithfulness, goodness—man received instruction concerning ‘sin prevention’. Wise is the man who applies that old saying we began with to the Scriptures; the words found within your Bible are as useful to you today as they have been to anyone else. How do we have hope of withstanding Satan and his wicked devices? “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:3). The proverb echoes the sentiment of Psalm 119—nearness to truth, to the word of God, is one of our most powerful allies in the daily battle. Do not leave it, and do not let it leave you. In other words, “Keep sound wisdom and discretion; so they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck. Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble” (Proverbs 3:19).

We could reproduce any number of proverbs and biblical passages which say much the same thing, but they are all meaningless if we do not first make the determination to take them to heart. Do we treat these ancient Scriptures as some dusty old volume, a hopelessly outdated collection of advice that doesn’t quite stack up anymore? Woe to us if we do. When you ‘keep sound wisdom and discretion’ by discerning the word of God, you are wielding a sword which is living and powerful, razor-sharp and never-dulling.

Of course, we need look no further than at Jesus Himself, a point which we often mention (to our credit). Jesus was tempted as any other man—more so than any other man, if we are honest—yet He experienced triumph in His encounters with the evil one. What example did He leave in besting Satan? Jesus used the Scriptures; in fact, He used an extremely small portion of the word we have available today. Though the whole ‘Old Testament’ was at His disposal, Christ was able to find useful wisdom within two chapters of the book of Deuteronomy. Clearly He had not let truth forsake Him, and instead had used it as the capable weapon it is.

Yet even when we fall, when we fail, we are promised beyond doubt that “in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). The world has changed much since Paul wrote those words, but the power of Christ’s blood has stayed exactly the same. Let us all join as one household, strengthening our brothers and sisters so that they may have the wisdom to overcome, and reaching those who are still alienated from God, that they may obey the Lord and be found in Christ, accepting redemption. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (I Peter 2:10).

Our enemy and his tactics remain the same—but our God’s ability and desire to save us are also unchanging.

—Drew Jones