Give the Devil What He Deserves

Devil sad

Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.”

We like to see a villain get what he deserves. I recently watched the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark again. At the end of the movie you not only want to see Indiana Jones get the Ark of the Covenant. You also want to see the Nazi villains get what they deserve. When the news reports that someone has been caught red-handed in some heinous crime–molesting children, stealing from someone who can just barely get by as it is–we want the justice system to throw the book at him. Give him what he deserves. This doesn’t always come from a sinful desire to see someone suffer. Our sense of justice affirms that it is right to give such people what they deserve.

God promises that the arch-villain, the prince of all fiends, is going to get what he deserves. The devil had made some new friends in the Garden of Eden, but God promised to change that. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.” Enmity, hostility between Satan and Eve, required a change at this point in time. By giving into temptation and eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve had become the devil’s friends. They joined his rebellion against God. That is a big offense–high treason and utter contempt for all the goodness the Lord had shown them so far.

Today, it still requires a change to establish hostility between the devil and the citizens of planet earth. God’s promised that this hostility would also exist between “your (the devil’s) offspring and hers.” By physical birth, all of Eve’s children are the offspring of the devil. They share his rebellion and unbelief. They are his friends. That is why Jesus told Nicodemus we must be born again, spiritually, to enter into the kingdom of God.

This is not something we like to hear. A number of years ago I made a visit to a family that was inquiring about having their baby baptized. As I explained baptism’s promises to them, I emphasized that God was claiming this child as his own in baptism. In effect he was saying, “This one belongs to me now, and if Satan wants him back, he is going to have to fight me for him.” The baby’s father took offense at that idea. “What do you mean, ‘if he wants him back’?” If we don’t like to see ourselves as the devil’s friends, we certainly don’t like to think of our children that way.

But this is not a hard truth to establish, by Scripture or by experience. 1 John 3:8 tells us, “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.” Do you like any sins? Do your children? Do you find some of them hard to give up? Why is that? God’s friends don’t like sins–not any at all. They find them appalling. Even after God has changed us into his friends and the devil’s enemies, the rebel still lives in our sinful nature. We may find that part of ourselves appalling, but it still wants to dethrone God and take over.

For as much as we are inclined to see the devil as a friend, no one has ever hurt us more. His corrupting work led to every unpleasant experience we ever suffer, infected us with death, and drove a wedge between us and God. He deserves our hostility, but only God can make that happen. “I will put enmity between you and the woman…”

What turns us against the devil and back towards God? God gave us Jesus for that. Jesus gave up everything to give us everything. At Christmas we celebrate him giving up heaven for a cold, smelly stable and a bed of straw. He gave up unlimited use of his almighty power to become a weak little infant, unable to walk or talk or feed himself, needing to be burped and changed and carried around. Later he gave up his life and, for a few hours, his own Father’s love, for a criminal’s death on a cross and sinner’s taste of hell. He gave it all up so that he could give us forgiveness and an unending feast of his Father’s love.

That gift gives us the faith that establishes our friendship with God, and hostility toward the devil. Already in Eden God was anticipating Jesus’ sacrifice when he didn’t destroy Adam and Eve. He came to them. He sought them. He called them to repentance. He forgave their treason. Already in Eden he did what neither Adam nor Eve could do on their own. He put enmity between the devil and the woman, he made them enemies. That hostility is exactly what the devil deserves.

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