There is an intimate connection, beloved brethren, between that which we have in the concluding verse of the chapter partially before us last week and the great subject of this chapter — a connection which, I believe, is given by God in order to bring before us who it really was that was thus tempted of the devil. That verse completes the genealogy as presented in the Gospel of Luke. I will just read it for you: "Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God."
Now, have you ever thought what this scripture implies? There is attached to it a distinct and definite meaning, which casts a bright light on what follows.
It is very clear that the Spirit of God in Luke's Gospel traces the Lord's genealogy up to Adam; that is to say, He shows the Lord to be a true, real Man. It is, then, Christ's connection with the human family which is set forth here. A single sentence in one of the epistles (Galatians 4:4) gives both this and His Jewish connection "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman." This presents His connection with the human family. It is saying that He was truly and really a Man. "Made under the law;" that is to say, He was truly and really a Jew. He was pleased not only to become a Man, but also, as is said elsewhere, to take "on Him the seed of Abraham;" i.e., the Blessed One took the position and circumstances, but not the state. How blessed to meditate on the grace of such words as "The Word became flesh, and dwelt [tabernacled] among us." John 1:14.
Now, the passage before us tonight does not set forth His connection with the nation of Israel, but His connection with the whole human family. And mark, that last verse — "Which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God" — means this, that He who was truly Man, He who was pleased to become such here — "the Word became flesh" — demonstrated and proved plainly and distinctly that though Man He was the Son of God.
He is the One whom we are privileged to look at adoringly in Luke 4. He is the One who returns from Jordan full of the Spirit; and it is very blessed that it is set before us in this way. He had gone down into John's baptism in association with every true heart that turned to God in Israel. He had exhibited the perfection of His human nature in dependence and obedience there — "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness" — and when there, as we were seeing last week, the heavens were opened upon Him, the Object upon whom the heavens could open, and the Father's voice greeted Him in the perfection of the position that He was pleased to take, saluting Him with these words: "Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased." v. 22.
Thus, full of the Spirit, and anointed — not to add anything to His person, but in connection with His ministry and service — He returns from Jordan, and is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of Satan. If you will turn to the Gospel of Mark (chapter 1:12, 13) you will find a very striking and touching addition to what we have either here or in Matthew's Gospel. It is a statement that is peculiar to Mark. We read, "And immediately the spirit driveth Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts."
How interesting and touching a fact! This blessed, spotless, perfect, holy Man, true and very Man, yet very God, is found in the dreary desert, the solitary, howling wilderness — a more desolate scene than which you cannot conceive — where there was nothing to minister to Him, nothing in consonance with Him; there, surrounded by the wild beasts, He is for forty days tempted of Satan.
Here we are at once brought to the point when Satan steps on the scene. He had tried his power on the first man, and had succeeded. He had contested every inch of the way with Adam in a very different scene from this. In Paradise, surrounded by all the fresh proofs of the Creator's tender care and interest in His creature; surrounded by all the marks and favours of His hand; Satan there fought with man, and won. And now he cannot endure that there should be a Man on earth, a real, true Man, who had never, like Adam, forfeited Eden; a blessed Man, who did always those things that pleased His Father and His God. I say again, the devil could not endure that the Son of God should be there as Man in connection with the human family; yet owned and greeted from heaven by the Father's voice as the Father's beloved One, in whom God had found His good pleasure. Satan could not permit that. And therefore he comes forward to contest the path with Him who is thus led by the Spirit into the wilderness.
You will observe, beloved friends, the contrast between Christ and every other man in that respect. Every other man is driven into the scene of temptation by his own lusts, the folly and wretchedness of his own heart. Man goes there by the very nature of that which is in him, and there is defeated, and falls. But Christ is led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness, where there is the perfect contrast to everything that was found in the earthly Paradise. Thus it is we see the Blessed One here; and Satan comes and says, I will dispute your whole title, your whole position.
Now, there is not merely the contrast of the circumstances in which the first Adam stood with the circumstances in which the Last Adam stood, but there is the contrast after the defeat of the one, and the victory of the other — after the defeat of Adam, and after the victory of Christ. Have you ever thought of it? After the defeat of Adam, God "drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." Genesis 3:24.
Innocence is everlastingly lost. There is no possibility of lost and ruined man ever returning to that condition of innocence in which he stood originally, as created by God. But when Christ, the Second Man and Last Adam, is victorious; when Satan himself is bound by the perfect obedience and dependence of the Blessed One, who is the contrast to every other man in this world — He who as Man not only lived by the Word, but kept the Word, and also kept that position which He was pleased to take in grace — then observe the contrast: angels come and minister to Him. Angels, I believe, were found connected with the cherubim in the first garden, to bar for ever the way of return; the witness to the utter ruin of responsible man. But angels are also found in the wilderness, where Jesus was victorious over Satan, as those who minister to His body; for I do not believe it went beyond that. They minister to the bodily necessities of the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Man, the perfect, victorious Man.
How marked the contrast! They are the executors of judgment in the first garden, guarding the tree of life from fallen man, the solemn witness to the impossibility of any return to innocence; but in the wilderness they are the blessed witnesses of Satan's defeat, and of the triumph of the only obedient and dependent Man.
Now, it is very important that we should clearly understand the meaning of the word "tempted," as applied to the blessed Lord Jesus Christ. There is no difficulty in understanding its meaning as applied to all other men. If you will turn to the Epistle of James (James 1:14, 15), it will help to show the contrast: "Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
From this it is very evident what the meaning of the word "tempted" is, as applied to you and me. Clearly it is the drawing forth of a principle that is within us. There is in fallen man a principle which responds to and is acted upon by the allurements or terrors which Satan brings to bear upon him. So when we speak of temptation as applied to ourselves, it is the calling out of the evil which is in us. How well we know it, if, indeed, we know ourselves in the light of God's holy presence! But, alas! how many have never as yet measured themselves with that light and hence it is, I have no doubt, that the man of self is but little and imperfectly known. We talk of Satan's tripping up and turning the feet aside, and doubtless this is painfully true but is it not too often pleaded and urged with solemn forgetfulness, that there is that in man upon which the enemy can act, and that the great power of the temptation of the enemy is in the principle that he finds within man? In this, be assured, lies the secret of the energy of Satan acting upon us, finding a response and an echo there — a something which at once responds to his touch.
But when Scripture applies the word "tempted" to the Lord Jesus Christ, it is the exact opposite to all this. You will remember that precious word, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me." John 14:30. Oh, the blessedness of it! How it sets forth and brings out before our souls the perfection of the matchless Saviour! There was nothing in Him that answered to Satan's allurements. The presentation was entirely external. That which was typified by the fine flour mingled with oil, with the frankincense poured thereon, supplied no response to the enticements of the wily foe and hence it is written of Him that "He Himself hath suffered, being tempted." Heb. 2:18. Let us note this well. The external presentation of delectable things for life, brought with it to the Lord Jesus, as perfect Man, a suffering peculiar to Himself. It is well said that the flesh in man, when acted upon by its desires, does not suffer. Being tempted, it enjoys. Hence we are exhorted to arm ourselves with the mind of a Christ who died rather than not obey. See 1 Peter 4:1.
It is an immense thing to get a due sense in our souls of the difference in this respect between Christ and every other man. Here is One who never had a motive in His heart save the will of God — One whose meat and drink were to do that will. And the presentation of anything else to Him brought the most intense suffering, the deepest pain and anguish. Why? Because He was, as Man, absolutely perfect. Temptation to other men is pleasure. There is in us a kindredness to it; there is that in us which responds readily and gladly, which accepts, entertains — yea, even welcomes, the allurements of the enemy. Have you not found this out, my beloved brethren? Is it possible that you have not as yet discovered that there is an open door, the flesh in us, for all comers? Are there no pleasures in sin? And that too even though they be but for a season? Mark what the Spirit of God says as to lust. What is lust? It is a principle of the flesh that desires to have for itself; it matters not what it is. It is the desire to possess independent of God, and that independent will in the creature is the root and essence of sin.
There exist on all hands very mistaken notions of what sin is; and just as there are loose thoughts of sin, so there are loose thoughts of holiness. If you have wrong thoughts of holiness, it is because you have wrong thoughts of sin. You cannot have one without the other. You cannot have divinely exalted thoughts of holiness if you have not divinely true thoughts of sin. If you mistake what sin is, you will be sure to mistake what holiness is.
It is important to get down to the bottom of things. There is a way of speaking about sin which is disastrous and dangerous to an appalling extent. Sin is now limited to mere acts; certain acts are taken to define sin. Sin does produce acts, as a tree produces fruit; but it is very possible to restrain these in an outward way. Many motives would combine to render this expedient and advisable, but it were indeed blindness itself therefore to deny the existence in man of a will independent of God. That, as I have already stated, is the very essence and principle of sin, and it is found in every fallen man, but is just the very thing that was not in Jesus. The will of God was the secret spring of every movement of His blessed life. He never moved but to obey God's will. "I delight to do Thy will," are His own words; and how blessed and comforting are they in the light of our wilfulness and waywardness! Alas! how we delight to do our own will! True it is that, in God's infinite grace and goodness, He breaks and subjugates our will, and (blessed be His name!) forms and shapes us to His will; but there is no delight in us naturally to do God's will. Lawlessness and independence are the natural tenants of the soil of our hearts. We delight to do our own will, and take our own way; but the spotless Man Christ Jesus was the blessed exception to it all.
I trust you can understand plainly now that when Satan did come and present these external objects to Jesus, it was intense suffering to that perfect One. As each assault of the enemy reached Him, though only from without, He suffered. "In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted."
I know too well that when we are tempted of Satan there is an echo within, an answer there; and instead of being suffering to us, it is pleasure. "But every one is tempted, drawn away, and enticed by his own lust; then lust, having conceived, gives birth to sin; but sin, fully completed, brings forth death." James 1:14, 15. What solemn, searching words are these!
I would now, beloved brethren, invite your attention to the Lord's temptations as they are presented by Luke; and at the outset would make this remark, that in this gospel you will find the order of their presentation to be a moral one, whereas in Matthew's Gospel the order is historical and dispensational. Hence it is, I believe, that in this third gospel we find the last temptation is placed second. It falls in with, is suited to, the object of the Spirit here; and very instructive it is to observe the design which makes itself so apparent in each of the divine records.
There can be little doubt that the clause "Get thee behind Me," though inserted here, really forms no part of Luke's narrative. It was evidently taken from the Gospel of Matthew, where it rightly appears, because it is connected with the last temptation, which, as I have just intimated, Matthew places in its historical order. But there is a distinct and definite reason why those words should not appear in the translation of the Gospel of Luke; even this, that it would present Satan as returning to the attack after he was driven away by the blessed Lord; whereas if left out, then we find the Lord's reply presented exactly as I believe it was.
Let us now, in dependence on the Lord, who alone can give us a right understanding by His Spirit, look at these various assaults of Satan.
The first is common to both Matthew and Luke. It comes first because it is the temptation of bodily, personal necessities. The Lord had become Man. As such He takes His place in this world, and the devil said unto Him, "If Thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread." v. 3.
How affecting, beloved friends, to think of it! There He was suffering hunger, with sinless want, sinless need, as a Man down here, in conflict with the one who had vanquished every other man. Oh, what a picture for our eyes to gaze upon, even Himself thus assailed by the enemy! "If Thou be the Son of God." It was as if the crafty, hateful foe had said, Use your power as God, and deliver yourself out of your human necessities; but in reality the enemy seeks to make the Blessed One give up His place of dependence as Man, the object of the devil being to tarnish His glory by setting one part of it against another. It was part of His glory, that though God over all, blessed evermore, He had been pleased to become Man, and in that position had exhibited human perfection in His absolute dependence upon and subjection to God. He perfectly maintained the position of Man which He had been pleased to enter into, thus displaying not only Man in perfection before God and men, but also the contrast with every creature, whether angels or men. It was beyond all expression intolerable to Satan that there should be such a display of Man before God and men. Up to this the enemy of God and man, victorious over man, had held the ground as having vanquished man, and that too in circumstances most favourable to the creature of God's hand and care; but now another Man is on the field of battle to meet the foe flushed with victory, and to vanquish and bind him, not by the display of His power as God, but by maintaining in perfect dependence and subjection the place He had taken as Man.
It is well to bear in mind that the Blessed One had voluntarily taken this place. In His blessed grace He who had said, "Mine ears hast Thou opened;" also said, "Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart." It were thus impossible for Him to retire from that place which He was pleased to take, simply because He was Himself Man in perfection before God. Having taken this place, His very perfection is shown in His abiding in it. He lived by the Word as well as kept the Word, and this is exactly the perfection you find in Jesus here. He had no word, and therefore He does not move. He says, "It is written." He appeals to the Scriptures; He kept the Scriptures; He lived by the Scriptures. How blessed to consider Him thus! There is something even more important than finding bread to satisfy hunger, more important than finding sustenance for the body. What is that? To keep the Word of God. Oh, the moral magnificence of it, to stand fast by the Word of God, to hold fast to the Word of God, not moved by any proffered good from that Word! That, beloved friends, is more important than life itself. That, then, is what we find in perfection in Christ when tempted — "It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." v. 4.
Again, let us dwell upon the blessed position which the Lord Jesus Christ takes in all this. He takes the lowliest place; He meets Satan as the lowliest of men. You cannot conceive any one more lowly than He is here. There is nothing really more lowly than to be obedient. True lowliness is to obey. Ah, there is a desperate amount of pride in all that form of humility now abounding; but real lowliness, genuine lowliness, heaven-born lowliness, is the most subject, dependent principle that can be conceived. The Lord here is the lowly, dependent One. He says, as it were, I have not come to command, but to obey. He was pleased to take that lowly place.
Oh, the blessedness of such an object — One who, as Man, was perfection before God and men; and hence, in the position He had been pleased to take in grace, the mind and will of God found their fullest, most perfect response. Oh, the contrast between this Blessed One and all else presented to us in the narrative! Verily we may say, His perfection sheds a solemn light on all beside in man.
With regard to ourselves, the solemn word of our God seems uttered in our souls, as it were, from heaven; that word which says, "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." Heb. 12:4. Have you ever thought, my beloved brethren, what that means? In the light of the perfection of Him who, as Man, when tempted, as we have seen here, "suffered," let us dwell on the words, "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood."
You have not yet arrived at this, that you would rather die than disobey. I do not know anything more magnificent, more morally grand, than to see the man who has, through grace, drunk into the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and who stands, in all the blessed fruit of His finished work, in the place in which Christ has set us as children of God — cast upon God, governed by the Word of God, having that Word, the communications that God has been pleased to give to us in grace, ruling every thought within and every movement without; one who in his soul has formed by Christ this blest resolve — even to resist to blood, ready to suffer, ready to die, rather than yield, because God has spoken.
What immense blessing is in that word, "It is written"! Oh, may God by His Spirit give our hearts to seize the moral greatness of it in these days when Scripture has become so much a dead letter in people's minds! This is a day when men tear up the Word of God, and allow the winds of a daring infidelity to blow away its precious leaves. This is a day in which men barter the truth, and compromise the great foundations of faith, in order to pander to the depraved taste of a vile, worthless, wicked generation. This is a day for the servants and friends of Christ to hold fast by Scripture, to walk according to Scripture, to allow these divine communications and revelations to have the fullest place in their souls, to live by every word of God, not merely to read the Word, but to study it, to ponder it, to receive and submit to it. Oh, to learn to obey His voice, and thus to live by every word of God! "I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." Job 23:12. "Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord." Deut. 8:3.
Thus the blessed Lord simply appeals to Scripture; He simply stands by what God had written. How blessed to think of that — "It is written"! Here is the record communicated indelibly in Spirit-taught words through channels God was pleased to use. It was not merely that God raised up the vessels of inspiration, but He supplied them with the words. I know it is said, that though He raised up the vessels, they could use the words suited to the time. It is untrue! If you turn to 1 Corinthians 2 you will find that the words were given from God as truly as the vessels were raised up by God. You will find both. Mark the expression — "Spirit-taught words." Not "words which man's wisdom teacheth." "But," say learned people in these days, "this kind of thing is out of date, and we must keep pace with modern progress and the advance of science. The Bible is all very well in its place, but there are other voices and other authorities which must be heard and bowed to. We cannot refuse to advance with the times by being held fast in the bondage of old superstitions."
The simple yet sublime reply of God to all this kind of mind desire (see Eph. 2:3) is, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." 1 Cor. 2:11, 12.
May God by His Spirit give all His own the grace to apprehend the value of the word, "It is written." Here faith rests in a peace which nothing can disturb. How true it is, as has been well observed by another, that under God's protection His people need not fear! The old difficulties and objections are revived, but they will meet in one way or another the old defeat. While the world lasts, sceptical books will be written and answered, and the books and perhaps the answers alike forgotten. But the Rock of Ages shall stand unchangeable; and men worn with a sense of sin shall still find rest, "under the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."
Let us now for a little look at the second temptation. It is the third really, but the second morally, as we have before noticed, being what is called the worldly temptation; i.e. the glory of the world. Satan knew that worldly glory belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, who will indeed possess that glory ere long. As Son of man He will by-and-by have the glory of the world, according to God's thoughts and counsels and purposes. Therefore it is that Satan comes here, and says, That is all given to me, and I give it to whomsoever I will.
That was false, and yet true. It was false as to title, but true as to fact; for Satan had acquired this by man's sin. As to title, he had none at all. Satan had no title to give glory to any one; but having, through his craft, induced man to depart from God; having assailed the first Adam, and having vanquished him, he profits by this victory over man (which was, in result, the creature's departure from the place of confidence and trust), and here sets himself forth as the usurper. "I have all this," he says, "and I give it to whomsoever I will. If you will own me as the giver" — that is here the meaning of worship — "if you will take it from me, all shall be yours."
Oh! is not that exactly what the powers of this world have done? They have just taken the devil's bribe. How solemn, how awful, to think of it!
But now look at Jesus for a moment; look at the obedience we find here. He says, "It is written." Mark how He appeals again and again to the Scriptures; how the Word of God, beloved friends, is still His great weapon in meeting the adversary. "It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." v. 8.
Fallen man would like the gift, and would long after the gift, and the more glory it had the more it would attract him; but the Lord Jesus — the perfect Man — thought of the giver; He thought of who it was that offered it. His heart was so perfectly in unison with the heart of God that He says, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God." He would not take an empire or a kingdom from any one else beside. He would not take glory, pleasure, or honour from Satan. Why, that is what the poor world is doing just now. Satan comes with his glittering bait, and it is readily swallowed by poor, lost, misguided man — blinded and deluded by the archfiend of hell, the god of this world, and prince of the power of the air. But oh, the blessedness of contemplating the first man's contrast in the Lord Jesus Christ — the Second Man, the perfect Man! How blessed to hear Him say, "It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only." Him only! Are you exclusive in that way, beloved friends?
I would add a word or so more on this. I have said that responsible Adam, when tempted and tried, broke down in this very thing. Adam ought to have held and maintained for God, but that is exactly what he did not do. Further, we find that historically Israel were tempted in a similar way, and broke down in the wilderness. His own people Israel entirely failed in representing this testimony. They constantly, continually, and utterly departed from God for forty years. With regard to the first temptation you will remember how He kept them in dependence in connection with the manna, and how they failed. They needed to learn the lesson of dependence to be cast upon God day by day, and moment by moment. With regard to the third temptation they say, Is the Lord among us or not? So that you have the Lord Jesus Christ set before us here as the perfect contrast to man in every way and in every position and set of circumstances in which you can conceive man to be placed.
The last temptation is what is called the "religious temptation," and it is of great spiritual profit to our souls to contemplate it, because we shall find that this is the hardest of all; this is the most difficult of all to resist. I believe, as I have stated, that Luke presents these temptations in a moral order, which gradually rises until you get to that which is morally the highest. Though not the last historically, yet it was such morally, and in it the height of temptation is reached. Hence it is that he puts it last. Let us just read the words: "And he brought Him to Jerusalem, and set Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down from hence: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt Jehovah thy God." vv. 9-12.
Now, you see, the object of the tempter here was to separate two things that God always puts together; that is to say, the end, and the way to get to it. I believe you will find these two things constantly and continually put together in God's own mind. Satan separates them here. He separates the end from the way by omitting from the psalm which he quotes (Psalm 91) the very words which constitute the way to the end. What were those words? "To keep thee in all thy ways." Mark that: "In all thy ways." He daringly suppresses part of the scripture; he omits the words which would have left the temptation patent and unmasked. That is exactly what you find him doing at the present.
The devil, as you see here, can quote Scripture, and he can suppress Scripture; he can also pervert Scripture. How solemn to think of the subtlety of the great enemy of God and man! What force there is in the touching words of the apostle to his beloved Corinthians when he says, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety [i.e., craft], so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." 2 Cor. 11:3. It is thus the wily foe deals with Scripture. He takes it, as it were, in his own hand, and craftily seeks to extinguish all in the scripture that would shed its own light upon the subject he desires to assail. The greatest comfort of my heart is, that he does not know my heart; and it would be intolerable to me if the only One who does know it did not know it. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord." Jer. 17:9, 10.
But then Satan is a very jealous observer of your ways. He knows your tastes from observation. He knows what will act upon you; he knows, as it were, the fly you will rise at. This is what is solemn. I believe he is the most intelligent of creatures, but the most miserable. No creature could be more miserable than the devil, and he wants every one to be as miserable as himself. He studies everything; he looks at everything, and reads your character through your ways. Thank God, he does not know our hearts; only God knows them. Satan knows what is outside. He sees you, watches you; he knows, I repeat, what will take you. He studies you when you are little aware of it. Lord, grant that Thy saints may not be ignorant of his devices!
The enemy says, "I know what will catch that young man, I know what will catch that young woman; I know how to assail that old man, I know what will trip up that old woman." Oh, it is solemn! May we take heed to our ways; may we ever be on the watch. Remember, the chart for the mariner does not only tell of the fair way, where all is clear, but it marks the shoals and rocks, the places of danger and peril and shipwreck.
But let us observe what the tempter left out here: "In all thy ways." That is the way to the end. Mark how the Lord meets it: "It is said." Beautiful words! "It is written" on one occasion, "It is said" on another occasion. "It is said, Thou shalt not tempt Jehovah thy God."
Has that no voice to us? Do we never tempt Him? What is tempting the Lord our God? Let me try and tell you. Have you never known your heart to be assailed in this way: "Now let me see whether God is as good as His word"? Is that trusting Him? Is that resting in Him? Is that believing Him? Is that confiding in Him? This is the very thing that was not in Adam — confidence of the heart in God, no resting in Him who has pledged His word. It is the very opposite to it. It is to say, "I will see whether God will sustain and uphold me; I will see whether God will carry me through this thing." Ah, that is not leaning on Him, resting in Him, but the very opposite! You are not sure then, are you? You are trying whether God will be as good as His word. That is tempting Him. But faith, confidence in God, says, "It shall be done." How sweet those old lines:
"Faith, bold faith, the promise sees,
And leans on that alone;
Laughs at impossibilities,
And says, It shall be done.'"
That is resting upon God. The heart, as it were, says, "I know Him; I do not test Him, I do not tempt Him; I believe Him, and I believe what He says is true. I believe, moreover, it is true, because He says it." You will tell me that this is reasoning in a circle. Be it so! It is a magnificent circle to reason in — it is a divine circle. I believe what He says is true, and I believe it is true, because He says it.
I will finish with just one word more — Satan departs. He could get no hold anywhere. He has met the Perfect Man, who has vanquished him by dependence and obedience, and Satan is bound. The Lord Jesus Christ bound him. And now, mark you, as He went forth full of the Holy Ghost to meet Satan, so it is beautiful to see that "He returned in the power of the Spirit." He went in the power of the Spirit to vanquish the devil, and returns likewise. He goes to meet the strong man in the power of the Spirit, and comes back in the power of the same Spirit to scatter blessing wherever He goes. On Calvary's cross He bruised his head in death, and in resurrection He dispenses blessing.
The Lord give us to adore the matchless grace of Jesus. Oh, the moral blessedness of dwelling on Him as Man perfect under all suffering, testing, and trial from the enemy! May God in His infinite grace read out to us the lessons that He would have us learn, and above all things I would look to Him that He would make known to us the blessedness of those words, "It is written;" for His name's sake.