by grace alone

By Grace Alone: Chapter Five

Study Questions Chapter Five

 

Question: Have you ever studied or thought about how Satan attacks Christians?

Satan is specifically called ‘the accuser of our brethren’ (Rev. 12:10).” (p.71)

Here are four ways in the book that Satan is described as attacking believers:

  • Fiery Dart 1: “God is against you,” Satan says. “He is not really for you. How can you believe He is for you when you see the things that are happening in your life?”
  • Fiery Dart 2: “I have accusations I will bring against you because of your sins,” Satan argues. “What can you say in your defense? Nothing.”
  • Fiery Dart 3: “You say you are forgiven, but there is a payback day coming—a condemnation day,” Satan insinuates. “How will you defend yourself then?”
  • Fiery Dart 4: “Given your track record, what hope is there that you will persevere to the end?” Satan asks (p.69)

Question: Have you ever felt any of these “fiery” darts? How did it cause you to respond? Have you ever considered that these are coming from Satan?

Read for next question:

“Paul insists that Christians learn to think clearly, to draw logical deductions from the gospel. Therefore, he points here to a powerful practical implication of the cross: God can point us to the cross and say:

“Do you see how much I love you?”
“I was prepared to bear My own judgment against your sin in the person of My own Son.”
“If I was prepared to do that for you, there is nothing I will withhold from you for your good.” “You will never understand the heart of God until you understand this.”
“If we want to know God and to hear His heartbeat for us, we must realize that His Son died on the cross for us. It is as if God Himself says to us: “If you want to know Me and to understand My commitment to save and bless you; if you want to be sure of the privileges that are yours and the security I have provided for you; then you must not look first at the circumstances of your life and conclude, ‘Things are going well for me, God must love me.’ No. You must look at the cross and say: ‘My God was willing to give His Son for me. That is why I know He loves me.’” (p. 70).

“Here is the heart of the plan of God and the wonder of the gospel. The best of all men dies as though He were the worst of all criminals.” (p. 71)

Questions:

Why do we so easily look to our own performance to fight against Satan’s attacks?

What do you think we need more of to fight against Satan’s attacks?

“Satan has no weapon that can penetrate this “breastplate of righteousness.” When you tell him Christ has died for you and borne God’s judgment against your sin, he will be defeated. Even when he puts into your mind thoughts you hate but from which you cannot deliver yourself, his sinister accusations have no power to mar the perfection of Jesus Christ’s atonement for your sin. Your salvation rests not on what you have done but on what Christ has done. You, therefore, can be sure of it, no matter how weak the faith by which you hold on to Christ, no matter how strong the attacks and accusations of Satan may be.” (p.74)

Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 to “put on,” that is to wear as if it belongs to you, righteousness. It is clear, this is not our own righteousness because we have none that God would accept. When Satan tries to remind us of how wicked we are, we hold tightly to Christ’s righteousness, for it has been given to us. The armor of God is not something we do, but something we hold to protect us. A shield of faith, a breastplate of righteousness – we trust these parts of the armor to protect us. We put them on by trusting the gospel. 

Question: What are some examples of Satan’s attacks that we can use this armor against?

In reference to the righteousness of Christ represented in the breastplate:

“Faith contributes nothing to that righteousness. The years we may have lived the Christian life contribute nothing to that righteousness. Conversely, our sins cannot diminish that righteousness.” (p. 76)

Question: If our faith, number of years as a Christian, or even our sins, cannot positively or negatively affect “Christ’s righteousness,” can Satan’s darts ever truly stick as an accusation? If not, then what should we place our focus on? Christ’s righteousness for us, or our righteousness for him?

Closing thought: “The truth is that, in myself, I am condemned, because I remain a sinner. That is why we sometimes mistakenly listen to Satan, and we are tempted to believe him rather than to believe God. We make the mistake of listening to his accusations based on our ongoing sinfulness. We lose sight of the righteousness of Christ. Having been accused, and forgetting that our only righteousness is in Christ, we feel condemned.” (p. 77)

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