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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Jesus and the use of the Sword of the Spirit (6:17b)

The best example of using the Bible against the devil was given by Jesus when he was tempted in the desert. Three times he was tempted and on each occasion he rebutted the devil by citing an appropriate Bible passage. In what ways was Jesus tempted?

First, Jesus was tempted to abuse his relationship with his Father. At his recent baptism, Jesus had been publicly declared to be the Son of God. The devil refers to this and suggests that Jesus could use this relationship to his own advantage by changing stones into bread to alleviate his hunger. Satan had deduced that the Saviour was hungry and framed the temptation around this need. Jesus responded by quoting the verse that said that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Situations of need are times when the devil can tempt. For example, he can suggest that it is appropriate to steal in order to meet a need because God will forgive such behaviour. That is twisting the revealed will of God.

Second, Jesus was tempted by the devil misusing a verse of scripture, from Psalm 91. Satan suggested to Jesus that he should throw himself of the heights of the temple because God had promised to send angels to catch him. To see the devil with the Bible in his mouth is a most surprising and a most dangerous situation. Paul warns that Satan can appear as an angel of light.  In order to rebut such temptations, we need to know the context of Bible passages. The devil has sown great confusion in the church by causing people to take words out of context.

Third, Jesus was tempted with great promises. Satan said he would give to Jesus the kingdoms of the world, but at a price. The cost would be to worship the devil. This must have been appalling to the holy Saviour and he responded by affirming that he would only worship God. The devil offers to us great things, but there is always a sting in the tail. The way to reject his offers is to apply the principle that we only want that which is helpful to our worship of God.

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