5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written,Luke 4:5-8, ESV
“ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’ ”
The Son of God was no ordinary foe. He had bested that old Devil in round one, but could he go the distance? Satan had battled many men before Jesus. Some of those men had even routed him early, like this first encounter with Christ. Men like David, who overcame the temptation to assert his own will and kill the “the Lord’s anointed” in that cave at Engedi, were able to repel the Enemy’s onslaught. That class of men like David, though strong in their early years, all eventually fell. David’s faith was strong in his youth, fighting the Devil’s temptations valiantly, until the evening when he lustfully looked upon the beauty of Bathsheba. With that evil sword called “the lust of the eyes,” that old serpent slew the mighty warrior king. For thousands of years, Satan walked the earth, like Goliah in the Valley of Elah, as a champion without equal among men.
Satan seemingly gathered himself after his initial failed attempt and swung wildly for the second time. The Devil offered to give all the authority and glory of his worldly kingdoms in exchange for this Last Adam to worship the old serpent. The temptation was an enticing offer for Jesus to wear the crown without enduring the cross. The wicked plot had a great deal of logical attraction. Why fight to death if a little compromise could bring peace? Why tolerate all agony and humiliation when there is a shorter route to the throne? Do you see, my dear brothers and sisters, Satan was trying to move the goalposts. Jesus’ purpose was not merely to be crowned and the Enemy knew as much. Remember, Satan is the father of lies and he’ll try to convince his opponent to accept his false premise to gain the upper hand in the battle. It was a brilliant scheme, but Jesus would not look upon the kingdoms of the earth and lust for them. Our Saviour would not be distracted from the real goal before Him. What was Jesus’ goal? In a word, Redemption.
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:2, ESV
The Covenant of Redemption.
The Son of God was sent by the Father into the world to redeem a peculiar people. Therefore, Jesus would not be led astray with that Satanic logic. What was the holy logic that enabled Jesus to overcome His foe? Jesus kept in His mind what puritan theologians would term the Covenant of Redemption. What is the Covenant of Redemption? Let me quote A.W. Pink in an attempt to not get too far off the beaten path. In his book Gleanings From Paul, Pink wrote, “In the everlasting covenant the two parties were the Father and Son. The task assigned the Son was that He should become incarnate, render to the law perfect obedience in thought, word, and deed, and then endure its penalty on behalf of His guilty people, thereby offering to the offended God an adequate atonement, satisfying His justice, magnifying His holiness, and bringing in an everlasting righteousness… The Holy Spirit was the Witness and Recorder of that covenant.”
The Covenant of Redemption is in my opinion best seen in Peter’s first epistle. Peter wrote to those chosen by the Father, who were dispersed throughout the known world. Peter identified these believers as being elect by the Father in eternity past. Those elect were sanctified by the Spirit in the present. That sanctifying work of God’s Spirit was the result of the accomplished work of redemption by the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1). This Trinitarian work was planned in eternity past and accomplished in time through Christ with continuing results of redeeming sinners today. Therefore, when Jesus was tempted with that satanic logic He overcomes His foe by keeping His mind fixed upon the eternal covenant that was “the joy set before Him.”
Identifying the Deception.
James tells us there is a kind of Satanic logic. James 3:15 says, “This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. Christian, if hope to overcome the schemes of the Devil we must learn our enemy’s tactics. He would try to assail us with the lust of the flesh, an appeal to our natural desires. He also would try to bedevil you with the lust of the eyes, an appeal to our intellect through focussing our attention on the wrong thing. We might call this tactic the old bait and switch. There is a pattern throughout the Scriptures where a man sees first, covets second, and takes third. Do not be so easily fooled. We must all learn to question our own lines of reasoning. Satan is far too crafty a huntsman to catch a lion in his trap with carrots and apples, but he might catch a horse that way. He will set something in front of your gaze that is attractive to you specifically. Our enemy might try to fix our attention on something that isn’t sinful per se. Then he will whisper in our ears a line of logic that if followed would generate a transgression. We must be on guard. Our minds must be filled with the Scriptures, as Jesus was if we will have any hope to combat that demonic wisdom.
For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: And the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.Proverbs 6:26, KJV
In your last paragraph you stated, “James tells us there is a “wisdom that comes down from above…” That left me perplexed until I read in my New International Version, “Such wisdom does not come down from heaven…” I then turned to the KJV which basically said the same thing. Since verse 17 states clearly the incredible wisdom that comes from ‘above/heaven,’ I just thought you might want to go back in and edit that little portion.
With love and respect, Donna Watson
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Donna, thank you so much for pointing out that error. I assure you that was a mistake. It is now corrected. My reference was James 3:15, and you were reading James 3:17. My sentence was not clear and definitely needed correction. Thank you.
Your welcome. Yes, I was reading James 3:15, and when I got to 3:17 I realized something was wrong. Regardless, it reads well now and is full of godly insight! I’m so thankful the Son listened and did only what the Father told Him to do!
The challenges we face today are huge and if we’re not fortified with the Word and in prayer with the Lord, we will be easily deceived. This is no time to be straddling the fence.
Actually, I see the enemy tempting our Lord as pretty stupid. You say that Satan was aware of the Triune God’s redemption plan, but he sure failed to credit the Lord Jesus with the wisdom and passionate love to complete our redemption, as that (thankfully) took precedence over anything else the enemy offered to Him.
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Amen Donna. The enemy is think is in one sense brilliant and in another very stupid. He is a brilliant villain. Yet, he is very stupid to imagine he could overthrow our Lord. Preach sister!