As Christians we believe that Satan exists. While he is not equal in authority and power to God, and is a finite created being, he is still very powerful. Join me as I talk about some of the ways Satan tempts us to doubt our salvation.
As Christians, we believe there is a devil, we believe that Satan exists. Now, it’s important to know, he’s not the opposite of God, he’s not equal in power or authority to God. Nothing like that. He was created by God. He’s a created, finite, limited being, but he is still very powerful. And he is the great enemy of humanity, especially the great enemy of saved humanity, of Christians. Today I want to talk about some of the ways that Satan tempts Christians to doubt their salvation.
Today I’m talking about how Satan convinces Christians to doubt their salvation, and here’s number one. He causes you to think more about your sin than about your savior. I wonder if you’ve heard that quote from Robert Murray McCheyne, he said, for every one look at yourself, take ten looks at the cross, ten looks at Jesus Christ. Satan wants you to do the exact opposite. Instead of looking to Christ and His great finished work, he wants you to look to yourself and your unfinished sanctification. Instead of looking to the great atoning work of Jesus Christ, he wants you to look and to fixate on your own sin. What does Satan do? He wants you to focus on you, on your sin, rather than on your Savior.
The second way Satan causes you to doubt your salvation is to have you wrongly define salvation. He helps you to define salvation as too broad a term. He wants you to define salvation in such a way that it includes complete assurance of salvation. But the Bible doesn’t say that justification, that salvation includes that full assurance. We can go through periods of doubt, we can go through that kind of temptation, that kind of trial. So Satan wants you to define salvation as including assurance of salvation so that when you lack it, you’ll doubt that you’ve even been saved by Jesus Christ.
The third way that Satan causes you to doubt your salvation is to have you make false conclusions from your circumstances. So you’ve labored over something in prayer, you’ve longed to have something, you’ve claimed promises from scripture, and still, God hasn’t given it to you. What Satan wants you to do in that moment is to say, well if God really loved me I would have this. The fact that I don’t have what I long for, the fact that I don’t have what I’ve prayed for, this is proof that I’m not a Christian because surely if I was saved God would grant me something I long for so much, something that is so good to desire. I don’t have it, therefore, God must not love me, therefore I must not be saved.
The fourth way that Satan causes you to question your salvation is to suggest to you that the evidences of grace in your life are counterfeit rather than genuine. He wants you to look at those things that could be fruit of the Spirit but instead of saying, God has worked that within me, here’s proof that the Spirit is at work within me, he wants you to say, well I’m just naturally gifted that way. That’s just a talent, I’ve always been able to do that. He wants you to see this fruit of the Spirit, this evidence of His grace, and instead of attributing it to the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit, instead, to say, that’s just me, that’s just my own power, that’s just my own strength, that’s just my own ability. He wants you to turn away from what Christ is, and what the Holy Spirit has worked within you. Instead just conclude, no, that’s just me.
The fifth way Satan causes you to question your salvation is to convince you that the kind of battle you are experiencing with sin is a battle only an unbeliever could have. He wants you to believe that this kind of battle, this hard battle, how hard I’m fighting, how little success I’ve seen, he wants you to believe, that is not proof of God working within you to hate sin and to overcome sin. Rather that’s proof that God is not within you at all. Surely, surely not a true believer could battle against sin to this extent, to this degree, this hard. Surely this must mean I’m not saved at all.
The sixth way Satan causes you to question your salvation is to suggest to your soul that the fact you have less joy in Christ right now than you did before proves that you’ve not actually been saved. So what he wants you to do is to think back to one of those good times, back to one of those times when your soul was just overflowing with joy, when you were delighting in the Lord. He wants to fix that in your mind, so you can compare that to today. Or maybe you’re feeling dull, or maybe your heart isn’t stirred in the same way, and maybe joy is hard to come by, and he wants you to look back to that time and conclude, I must not be saved at all. Surely I’m not in Christ, if I’m not experiencing that kind of joy today. He wants you to focus on the past so you can doubt the present.
The seventh way Satan causes you to question your salvation, he wants to work within you, to make you believe that any relapse into sin, even sin you’ve labored so hard to overcome is evidence that you are not a believer. And so you know you’ve been laboring against the sin and you’ve seen some success against that sin. You know Satan has been bringing waves of temptation against you and you have seen success, you have seen that sin put to death, and yet you have a relapse, yet you commit that sin again. Satan wants you to latch onto that relapse, forget all the grace, forget all the success you’ve had. He wants you to latch onto that one relapse as proof you’re not in Christ at all, you do not have the Spirit dwelling within you or surely you would not still succumb to that sin.
And finally, number eight, he convinces you that only an unbeliever could face the kind and the strength of the temptation you’re facing right now. He wants you to believe that the kind of temptation you’re facing is one only an unbeliever could face. Think about this, Satan knows you pretty well. He has been studying you since the moment you were born. He knows how to suite a temptation perfect to you. He knows how to craft a temptation that will perfectly align with your sinful desires and he’ll bring waves of that specific temptation, different from mine, different from anyone else’s, custom crafted to you. He’ll bring wave after wave of that temptation and then use that to try to convince you that only an unbeliever could face that specific temptation. Surely if I was actually in Christ, that temptation would have no hold on me, no power over me. Do you see his genius? Do you see his craft in causing you to doubt your salvation?
I want to read to you from a quote. Everything I’ve said here is drawn from a theologian named Thomas Brooks who’s been so, so important to me. I want to leave you with a quote from him that I hope will be, will be so encouraging to you, so empowering to you. Listen to this. He says, we, who are Christians, we have all things in Christ. Christ is all things to a Christian. If we’re sick, Jesus is a physician. If we thirst, Jesus is a fountain. If our sins trouble us, Jesus is our righteousness. If we stand in need of help, Jesus is mighty to save. If we fear death, Jesus is life. If we’re in darkness, Jesus is light. If we’re weak, Jesus is strength. If we’re in poverty, Jesus is plenty. If we desire heaven, Jesus is the way. The Christian who has Jesus, has all he needs, fully, perfectly and eternally. My friend, if you put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are saved, you are secure, because in Christ you have all you need.