Category Archives: Christian living

Do God and Satan Still Speak Together about Believers?

In the two opening chapters of Job we read of encounters between God and Satan.  The angels appeared before God, both the good and the evil.  God challenges Satan with respect to Job.  He says in Job 1:8, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”  Satan replies with cynicism.  He insinuates that Job is just motivated by self-interest.  If the blessings are gone, then Job won’t be so committed to God anymore.  God then allows Satan to go out and smite Job.   

Someone recently asked me whether that kind of conversation between Satan and God still happens today.  Does it happen today that Satan appears before God and God says, “Have you considered my servant x or y?”  And Satan says, “Let me have a go at x or y and you’ll see what happens.”  Then God lets Satan do that.  Might that be happening even at this very moment? 

We have to be careful not to follow our own personal opinions.  Any answer we give has to be based on what the Bible says.  Furthermore, we have to limit ourselves to what the Bible says.  Reflecting on this question brought me to the last book of the Bible, to Revelation chapter 12.  In Revelation 12, the ascension of Christ into heaven is described with powerful symbolic language.  The effects of Christ’s ascension are also described there.  When Christ ascended into heaven victorious from his death and resurrection, that had an impact on Satan and the evil angels.  It says in Revelation 7:9 that Satan was cast down from heaven, along with the demons.  They aren’t permitted in the presence of God in heaven after Christ’s ascension.  Revelation 12:10 says Satan is no longer able to accuse believers in the presence of God in heaven. 

So based on Revelation 12, we have to say that what happened in Job 1-2 can’t happen today anymore.  After Christ’s ascension, Satan doesn’t have that access to God that he once did.  Does that mean he’s now unaccountable to God?  Does that mean Satan is outside of God’s sovereignty?  No, God’s sovereignty is always absolute.  Regardless of whether Satan is allowed before God in heaven, God is still sovereign over Satan.  Later in Revelation 20, Satan is bound by a chain.  God binds him. 

What we can say based on Scripture is that the trials we experience today are not the result of a conversation between God and Satan like what was happening behind the scenes in the opening of Job.  Christ changes everything.  The coming of Christ fulfilled the victory God achieved over Satan in the story of Job.  So today, when we go through tough times, it’s not a face-off between God and Satan.  Yes, God is still sovereign over our trials.  Yes, he ordains our trials and he has a good and wise purpose behind them.  But just because you’re experiencing something hard, that doesn’t mean God and Satan had a conversation about it.  It doesn’t mean God allowed Satan to bring these hard things to you in order to prove Satan wrong about you.  On this point, Job’s experience is not at all a template for our experience as Christians today. 


I Recommend

This past week, I shared the following links on social media and I think they’re worth sharing here too:

When My Quadriplegia Ends

This beautifully-written article really sums up what’s most important in the hope Christians have.

Five Suggested Guidelines for Pastors and Church Staff on Social Media

Especially in this time when strong opinions are common fare, church leaders need to be careful.

Paxton Smith’s viral pro-abortion valedictorian speech wasn’t “brave”

Jonathon Van Maren: “Paxton Smith delivered a speech articulating a position held by nearly every Western head of state, the president of the United States, the vice president of the United States, the entire Democratic Party, nearly all of the corporate elites, Hollywood, the music industry, much of the media, and the majority of academia. How, exactly, is this speech “brave?””

New York High Court to Rule Whether Elephants Are “Persons”

What’s next? Marriage? Don’t laugh. If you can say it, someone is undoubtedly conjuring up a way to achieve it — no matter how ridiculous it sounds right now. The world has gone mad.

Pride Month shows: Christians must opt out of mainstream culture in America

Christians: who is going to catechize your children? Blues Clues? SpongeBob?

Turning it to our good – an excerpt from “Man of the First Hour”

This is a fantastic new book and Reformed Perspective offers a little taste. You can also read my review here.

Trans Mission: What’s the Rush to Reassign Gender?

This looks like a much-needed documentary.


Letter to the Editor

I submitted the following letter to the Examiner (our local Launceston newspaper) in response to their February 22 article, “A Tasmanian survivor’s story on conversion practices.”

Dear editor,

In the February 22 article, “A Tasmanian survivor’s story on conversion practices,” our church was referenced as a body that admits to having “carried out SOGI conversion practices.”  To clarify, our church does not provide exorcisms, electroshock therapy, or aversion therapy. We only hold out the same hope God offers to all people:  forgiveness through Jesus Christ and grace to change.  Let me further clarify by quoting my submission to the Tasmania Law Reform Institute:  “…our church preaches and teaches what the Bible says, including what it says about sexual orientation and gender identity. We do this out of our ultimate commitment to God, our love for him, and out of love for the people around us. We counsel accordingly. We pray publicly and privately accordingly. According to the working definition the Issues Paper provides, we are involved in SOGI conversion practices. We make no apologies for that. Moreover, as stated above, this is non-negotiable for our church since we believe what the Bible says. For us to do otherwise would be unloving and disingenuous.”

Rev. Dr. Wes Bredenhof

Free Reformed Church of Launceston


Smoking

Let me share one more little bit of this highly recommended book on living a holy life. Chapter 5 is entitled “Conflict Zone” and it’s about the inner struggle that all Christians experience. On page 98, Ferguson writes:

A friend who in earlier life had smoked cigarettes, and found pleasure in doing so, once explained to me that every time he sensed the aroma of smoke from someone’s cigarette he felt the old instincts and attractions surround and invade him, and pull at his desires. It was a battle to resist. His addiction had been broken. Otherwise there would not have been a battle. But it was a struggle. This is but a hint and pale reflection of the nature and magnitude of the conflict between flesh and Spirit. The world is full of smoke.

That would be a great sermon illustration!


“Is it ok to do X on Sundays?”

I’ve just finished Sinclair Ferguson’s Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification. As with all Ferguson’s books, this one is a winner. It’s rooted in Scripture and Christ-centered from start to finish. Let me share a little tidbit. This is actually from a footnote in Appendix 4 on the Fourth Commandment. It’s a great answer to a common question:

When Christians ask: ‘Is it ok for me do X on Sundays?’ the first response should normally not be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but ‘Why would you be doing it?’ The most common answer to that question is probably ‘Because I don’t have time for it in the rest of the week.’ This highlights the importance of understanding the whole of the fourth commandment. The problem here is not how we spend Sunday; it is how we are using Monday to Saturday. We are living the week the wrong way around, as if there had been no resurrection! Use Sunday as a day of rest, worship, fellowship first and we will almost inevitably begin to discipline our use of time in the other six days of the week. Grasp this and the Sabbath principle becomes one of the simplest and most helpful of all God’s gifts. The burden-free day at the beginning of the week both regulates the days that follow and refreshes us for them. (p.266)