Demons and Puritans

Section II: Theology Proper (Study of God)
Chapter 12 - Demons

Puritans talked a lot more about Satan and demons than about angels, mainly "our conflict" with them.

Their nature
Demons have the same nature as angels, but are permanently falle a dn corrupted.  Satan is their leader (Matt 25:41; Rev 12:7).  Their fall is barely spoken of.  Jesus saw it, Rev 12 describes it.  A few Puritans saw Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 as types of it.  A few speculated, along with an ancient source, that Satan fell in refusing to go along with the plan to worship an incarnate Christ, but this is not in Scripture.  Their fall and lack of redemption shows the grace of God.  The "younger brother" of His creation is raised to prominence.

Their power
Like their leader, they are malicious, subtle and strong.  God allowed them to rule this world until Christs coming, and they still hold sway among men rebelling against Christ.  They can control nature, animals, and unbelieving men.  Even on the believer they can bring disease and bring up evil thoughts as temptations.  "Physical objects cannot protect us." (192).  Apart from Christ we are in bondage to the devil and our sins.  Jesus destroys his work, and the believer has resources to resist them.  Their power is limited by God's providence.  Where Satan intends our destruction he only achieves our refinement in fire.  Charnock's illustration: he polishes us when he means to rub us out.

Their schemes against us
Satan's main way of temptation is deception.  He tempts different people differently.
  • He starts with small sins and we get used to them and let them grow.  We should not give him an inch.
  • He persists in suggesting particular sins and we succumb.  We should reject the promises sin makes as false.
  • He gives us a minor victory and we get proud and presumptuous.  We should stay watchful.
  • He makes evil seem good.  "Greed becomes frugality, and lukewarmness appears to be moderation."  We should love God's Word of truth.
  • He traps us in lawful things and we take them to extremes in bad stewardship (recreations, food, work, etc.).  We must be content, and avoid occasions for sin.
  • He gives new revelations, miracles or sensational experiences.  We should test the spirits and not believe any supernatural thing we think we see or hear.
  • He shames us with how intense or perverse our temptations are, and we despair and isolate ourselves from others.  We should remember we are vulnerable to any kind of temptation, and confide in trusted friends.
  • He gets us to trust charms or objects instead of God, prayer, and the Word in our hearts.
  • He gets us to doubt our salvation, since we sin or are tempted as we are.  We should remember that true believers are not perfect.
  • He convinces us it's okay to sin, since we can repent later.  We should remember that true repentance is a gracious gift of God.
  • He gets us to neglect work or worship/devotions, by pursuing one at the expense of the other.
  • He swings us from one extreme to another: severe rigor and judgment to lax "mercy" and looseness.

The main thing is to look to Christ for strength and final victory - He has crushed the serpent's head!

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