“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” — 1 Peter 5:8
This is a biblical mugshot of the roaring lion, aka Satan, the devil, a murderer from the beginning, a liar and the father of lies (Matthew 4:10, 13:39; John 8:44). Take a long look at this picture and memorize his features. No doubt you will need it for these trying times ahead.
The infamous history of the roaring lion is extensive. He has been a prowler since the beginning of his prolific career. According to one of the earliest records, he is known to be constantly “roaming through the earth, walking to and fro,” searching into the works of the children of men in order to destroy them (Job 1:7). He is, in this capacity, a type of spy or informant against humanity for the purpose of indictment.
The forensic profile of the roaring lion made by our agent in the field, the apostle Peter, describes the assailant as an “adversary,” which from a legal understanding describes an “opponent of the court.” Thus, the roaring lion often impersonates a prosecuting attorney standing in the plaintiff’s place to accuse God’s people of their crimes before the Judge’s bar. As testified by John Gill, “Satan accuses men of the breach of the law, and pleads that justice might take place, and punishment be inflicted, and which he pursues with great violence and diligence as a roaring lion.”
This lines up with earlier reports as recorded in Zechariah 3:1 and Job 1:6 where this adversary was known to harass, mock, and hurl accusations against individuals to undermine their standing before the Court and the world. According to these eyewitnesses, he is “the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God, day and night” (Revelation 12:10).
Written by Horatius Bonar (1808-1889); Sung by the congregation of Capital Hill Baptist Church
I hear the words of love,
I gaze upon the blood,
I see the mighty sacrifice,
And I have peace with God.
‘Tis everlasting peace!
Sure as Jehovah’s Name;
‘Tis stable as His steadfast throne,
Forevermore the same.
The clouds may come and go
And storms may sweep my sky;
This blood-sealed friendship changes not;
The cross is ever nigh.
My love is oft-times low,
My joy still ebbs and flows;
But peace with Him remains the same;
No change Jehovah knows.
I change, He changes not,
The Christ can never die;
His love, not mine, the resting place,
His truth, not mine, the tie.
The “genius of Christianity,” as noted by John Angell James, is in spying out and eluding the traps of this oppressive world. This dynamic spiritual intellect which comes with the “renewal of the mind” has prepared us to rightly oppose tyranny in all its forms whenever it infringes upon the abundant life given to us by our Creator with His great expectation for all people, made in the image of God, to “be fruitful and multiply.” Hence, we join with the psalmist in asking our gracious Lord, “Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep Your precepts.”
Undoubtedly, the current pandemic, now in its second year, has created a mass hysteria of panic and fear which has led to an increasing authoritarianism around the globe that is gladly embraced by frantic worldlings looking for safety and security. For Christians, however, who rest in the knowledge that they are guided and protected by the rod and staff of their Great Shepherd, there is no such panic (Psalm 23:4). They are, by faith, spiritually immune to the blind fear that has gripped the world and thus are able to calmly identify any signs of political malfeasance being implemented for the sake of a fleeting, synthetic peace.
Our culture’s subordination to “divine reality” has all but disappeared. We as a 21st century people no longer seem content to behold God’s creation and feel blessed to live in it. After only a few decades of strange new philosophies invading our human institutions and persuading the masses to constantly question our timeless standards of truth, we suddenly find that our society is unable to discern the difference between God’s reality and our delusional fictions. How and why did this happen? And how do we stop this prevailing madness?
To be sure, this pandemic may have brought a new disease into the world, but a more insidious disease, spiritually speaking, has now been fully exposed: the growing widespread denial of death among the infantile masses of humanity who have become frozen with fear during the reign of COVID. Confronted with this stark reminder of death, they can no longer ignore or tamp down the reality of their coming demise, nor are they equipped in any way to approach the issue calmly or rationally. But why be so fearful of death when they can have the true peace of Jesus Christ that surpasses all understanding?
For vibrant Christians, this is an extremely difficult time for missional endeavors. As ambassadors for Christ who are called to be a light in this dark world, our shining joyful faces are essential in communicating the Gospel to those with whom we interact during the course of our day. The Gospel, you see, is conveyed with more than mere words or deeds. It is a message of love and grace that can be powerfully expressed in the very countenances of our faces, if fueled by the Holy Spirit. Does the Scriptures not tell us so?
To be sure, Christianity in the West is showing signs of worldly wear and tear. According to many reliable sources, our numbers are dwindling, our historical churches are being shuttered, and our Gospel message is rarely heralded as boldly as it once was. The future of the Christian faith, it seems, is in question. And yet did you know that there are over 1,000 centuries-old trees throughout the United Kingdom whose symbolic strength and longevity still preach on the everlasting nature of Christ’s kingdom and remind us that God is still on His throne?
This isn’t primarily a political uprising we are seeing in America, but a new secular religion spreading an alternative gospel in the abandoned spiritual territory of a failing Christianity.