Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices
Thomas Brooks was an 1800 puritan minister who wrote a book titled Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices. The book is detailed with the schemes of Satan against the believer. Paul the Apostle cautioned the believer to be aware of Satan’s devices so that he may not have an advantage over the church. 2 Corinthians 2:11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (KJV). The equipped believer will understand how to fight this spiritual war. The ignorant believer will live a spiritually darkened life despite the very life of God being in him or her. Of course the foundation of the book is that the individual has understood the gospel. They are not self-deceived (Matthew 7:21-23) and they are not a false disciple (John 6); that they are truly converted to the faith and have been made spiritually alive. Here are some of the devices that Thomas Brooks highlights.
Device 1: Hide the hook show the bait
In this strategy of Satan, Thomas argues that Satan magnifies the instant pleasure and profit of sin to a degree that it dazes his victim. His goal is to make the believer obsessed with the present and immediate gratifications of sin whilst conveniently hiding or blurring the cost of that sin. In the height of adultery, sexual appeal clouds the shame, sorrow, guilt, terror and horror that is to follow. It is in this format that Satan tried Jesus in Matthew 4. He showed him all the kingdoms of this world to attempt to intoxicate the Saviour with present gratifications. Thomas’ Brook’s highlighting of this particular device reminds me of the highly poisonous female black widow spider. She attracts her mate with her bulbous abdomen that is decorated with a crimson red design. The male approaches the eight-legged beauty. They mate. After the mating is done, the black widow female turns on the male and cannibalises him. She literally kills him and eats him up. Such is sin. We are attracted to the crimson beauty, but the end is a venomous death.
The following remedies are listed to avert this device of Satan:
- Flee from sinful environments. Don’t ready yourself for the kill.
- Consider the bitterness of sin at all time.
- Consider the loss of divine pleasures to the soul- joy, peace, freedom
- Remember that you are being deceived. Evil is being called good and good is being called evil.
Device 2: Painting sin with virtue’s colours
Thomas addresses the second device of Satan. He fools the believer by painting sin with virtue’s colours. He will call drunkenness being merry. A lustful look will be called admiring physical beauty. Pornography will be body art. Covetousness will be called being ambitious. Fornication will be called premarital sex. The danger in this is that sin starts to lose its intrinsic insidious value in the eye of the one being deceived. Suppose I decided to bake a cake. So I get all the ingredients mixed up well and in proportion according to the recipe. After adding the flour, the eggs, the sugar, the milk and the flavouring, suppose I took a tablespoon of human poop and plopped it into the batter. I then proceed to bake the cake and decorate it with icing. Suppose I gave you that cake. Would you eat it? Certainly not. Only a fool would. Such is the way a believer is fooled by Satan with this device. And many a believer has eaten the horrible cake.
Brooks outlines the following remedies:
- Remember that sin’s composition does not change even when baptised with new names.
- The more sin is unrecognizable, the more sin has power over you.
- Consider that on the day of judgement, the very sin we give masks will be unmasked.
- Consider that the best sounding sins still cost Jesus his blood.
Device 3: Extenuating of sin
Satan’s third device is to extenuate sin. To extenuate is to lessen the seriousness, extent or gravity of. It is to palliative. It is to cover with excuses the enormity of a matter. Satan draws in the believer to sin by making them believe that the falsehood they told was just a small lie. In comparison to grand sins such as terrorism and rape, surely the lie is acceptable. A post-modern version of this goes like this, “It’s not like I’m hurting anybody.” The deceived person in this case (and surely an unregenerate) has measured his sin against other sins and has extenuated it to be tolerable. I’ve always responded to this argument using an analogy I learned from my friend, Christian Lwanda. Suppose I walked up to my blood brother and gave him a nice hot slap, what would ensue? Perhaps a little scuffle, a brief sibling rivalry or a classic eye for an eye retaliation. We would sort our differences before sunset and we would still remain brother. Now suppose, I walked up to the President of our Republic while he was greeting citizens on one of the national holidays. Now suppose when he stretched his hand to greet me, I afforded him the same hot slap I gave my brother. What would ensue? It would mean my death. I would be pummelled, tortured or even killed on the spot. Why? Because slapping the president could be a capital offence. Beloved, our sins don’t merely slap our fellow humans. They slap someone greater than the president. They slap a Holy, Holy, Holy Eternal God.
Brooks outlines the following remedy:
- Remember that sin is sin and sin’s wages are still death.
- Remember that what we call ‘”small” sin often leads to “greater” sin- thoughts lead to looks. Looks lead to words. Words lead to practices.
- Consider God as a friend (John 15) and as a spouse (Ephesians 5). What effect would a little flirting, a little kissing and a little chatting have on your human spouse?
- Saints of past have chosen to suffer persecution than indulge in “small sins” e.g. The 4 Hebrew boys
- If we saw the true ugliness of the small sin we would be repulsed by it.
- There is more danger in the smallest sin than in the greatest righteous affliction. A tiny spark can still light a stream of spilled fuel.
These are but three devices among several others. Grab a copy of the book. It will be a rich addition to your library. The Kindle version costs only 99 USD cents (less than a dollar).