December 26 - LD 52, Day 3: We Cannot Stand Against Our Mortal Enemies Even for One Moment
by Rev. Arie den Hartog
Read: 1 Peter 5:6-11
The sixth petition which our Lord taught us in His perfect model prayer is an urgent petition. We must never begin a single day without earnestly praying this petition. A petition earnestly prayed to God arises out of the heart of the child of God who is fully aware of the danger he is in and the power of the enemy. We will hardly see our need of praying the sixth petition if we do not understand or live in the fearful consciousness of this.
The Catechism speaks of three enemies that are engaged with us in a constant spiritual battle. These enemies are “mortal” enemies. A mortal enemy is one who purposes to kill and destroy us completely. The devil’s purpose is not to entertain us, but to destroy us. He deceives man into imagining that sin is pleasure that can be enjoyed without consequences, without the judgment of God. After he has completely deceived a person, he blinds and leads him to his own ruin and destruction. The destruction that he leads men to is not merely personal ruin, shame and trouble in this life, but the awful and eternal destruction of hell.
To pray the sixth petition, we must be conscious of our complete dependence on God and His grace, strength and salvation. No one else but God alone can save us from the enemy.
The devil is very powerful. He is not almighty, as God is. But he is very powerful. Furthermore, his mode of operation is deceit. The Bible speaks of the wiles of the devil. The wiles of the devil are his subtle tactics. Peter in the passage we read speaks of the devil going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. If he is not able to make us fall into sin by using one approach, he will try other approaches until he has fully accomplished his treacherous purpose to destroy us.
On the other hand, we are weak in ourselves. Our weakness is due to the reality of our sinful nature. In fact, we have no power at all to deliver ourselves from the devil and sin, because our sinful nature fully agrees with the devil and is wholly given over to the philosophy and deceitful temptations of the world. The Heidelberg Catechism states that we cannot even stand for one moment over against the devil. We are in great need every day, every moment, of the power, grace and Spirit of God to deliver us.
The wonderful truth of the gospel is that Christ has triumphed over the power of the devil and all the powers of sin and temptation in the world.
Christ merited the grace and power of salvation as our Lord on His cross. This power was first given to Christ when God raised Him up from the dead and set Him at His own right hand, far above the principalities and powers in this world and in the world to come.
When we pray the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, we must think of the blessed truth that Christ now works this power in us and makes us partakers of His own victory over Satan and the power of evil. Jesus gives this great power and triumph to all of His saints who earnestly call upon Him in faith and prayer.
- Date: December 26
Rev. Arie denHartog (Wife: Sherry)
Ordained: October 1974
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1974; Foreign Missionary, Singapore - 1979; Randolph, WI - 1987; Redlands, CA - 1990; Minister-on-Loan, Singapore - 2001; Southwest, Grandville, MI - 2005; emeritus, Dec.31, 2016Website: www.southwestprc.org/
Address4895 Ivanrest Ave. SW
State or ProvinceMichigan
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