We went to see the Christian movie “Beautifully Broken” last night. It was very good. Overall, it was about Jesus’ grace and forgiveness. It was based upon one man’s life during and after the Rwanda genocide. One line in particular struck me – Just because you don’t see tears doesn’t mean they haven’t cried. I recommend the movie.
Another thing that I took away was the observation that you don’t know what one is capable of until one is pushed to the limit. In my business, banking, I have come to see this first hand. From time to time, even solid businesses will experience great difficulty. I’ve seen good, honest men become liars, cheats, and thieves when their back is against the wall. Some of these men have shocked me because their behavior was so different than what I have come to expect. On the other hand, I have seen liars, cheats, and thieves do the right thing when THIERS was against their wall. One simply never knows. Even for myself. I have not faced every trial of my life – yet.
I think we can draw great comfort from Peter’s denial. Let’s take a look at Luke’s account.
Luke 22:31-34 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
Do you suppose Satan has demanded to have you? He did with Peter. He did, also, with Job. What makes you think you are above this? There may be something to the idea that we won’t draw Satan’s attention if we are an insignificant mouse in the kingdom, but I wouldn’t bet on that. Satan is capable of roaming to and fro over the entire face of the earth. Do you suppose for a moment he can’t find you? Remember, we are talking angel stuff. No, I’m sure we are all candidates.
Maybe Satan already has sifted you. Maybe your time is to come, for the first time or once again.
Please be assured by Jesus’ own words.
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Do you believe this? Do you believe that Jesus has overcome the world and made a spectacle of Satan? Do you believe this is a promise of God – for those of you that believe?
Colossians 2:13-15 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Folks, we would be wise to link the passage of Simon to this of Colossians. Look, Satan “demanded” in Luke. Notice “legal demands” in Colossians. Notice also what else it says. In Luke, Jesus said, “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” In Colossians we see, “This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Jesus is the one who gives us faith. He is the one who cancelled out debt. Yes, Peter denied Jesus. Did he lose faith? Nope. Jesus nailed that junk to the cross. “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”
I think we would be wise to assume Satan will sift us. Are we going to be wiser still and prepare for that day? Or, are we going to be foolish, like Peter, and let pride get in front of us. Remember what happened to him? “And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:62). I don’t like to weep. I would rather not have that happen. Even so, please take notice of what else happened to Peter. Jesus asked him if he loved him. And, of course, Peter said yes. Peter committed a grave sin, yet Jesus’ cross covered even that. Why? Because Peter was alive in Jesus. God cancelled the record of debt that stood against him with its legal demands. This God set aside, nailing it to the cross. Jesus disarmed the rulers and authorities (for Peter’s sake) and put them to open shame. Jesus triumphed over them.
My guess is that we all have and will fail at some, in maybe all, of our siftings. We may experience great suffering and great loss. Even so, we have no worries because we are safe in Jesus. That’s a promise. The question isn’t whether we can lose our faith. The real question is whether we have saving faith in the first place. In that, we can know for sure, unless John is a liar (1 John 5:13). I doubt that.
Father, comfort my brothers and sisters in the knowledge that our salvation is secure. Let us be bold in our faith, even in the face of the death of our physical bodies. Let us be brave in Christ. Let the world notice. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers