This week I found myself pondering some powerful words from the pen of J.C. Ryle: “Satan knows well the power of true holiness and the immense injury which increased attention to it will do to his kingdom.”
We are called to God so we can become holy like God. He means for us to be as devoted to his purposes as he is and for that reason begins to transform us from the inside out—from the mind and heart to the hands and mouth.
Yet every Christian can attest that it is difficult to put sin to death and to come alive to righteousness. Every Christian can attest that we meet resistance on every side. Every Christian can attest that, when it comes to sanctification, this life is a long and difficult slog.
And little wonder, for Satan is the great enemy of God and, therefore, the great enemy of holiness. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore, we must stand firm in the power God provides, always resisting the enemy of our souls. Satan knows that Christians living holy lives—living out God’s own holiness—would do damage to his cause in the world. Hence he battles hard to tempt us, to draw us away from God’s purposes and toward his own. And hence we, in turn, must resist him. For we, like him, know the power of true holiness.