Shaking Hands With the Devil

Yesterday, while listening to a sermon by Charles Spurgeon, I was struck by and illustration that he gave of those who put on an act of fighting sin and living as a Christian. It struck me to the core and caused me to consider whether I have truly been seeking to fight sin in earnest, or if I had instead been taking on the appearance of the life of repentance. These questions are good and helpful. We as believers should never blindly assume our salvation, but rather should be working it out daily in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12) never forgetting that it is God who gives us the desire and ability to do so.

In our church age of decisionsism it is easy and often encouraged to rest our hopes on a decision we have made and be done with it. If we are troubled, we will often be reminded of that day where we made our decision or prayed a prayer and even asked if we meant it. This move is not helpful and it is not scriptural. The question is are you trusting Jesus Christ right now? Do not waste your time trusting a decision you have made, rather trust the person and finished work of Jesus Christ for surely if He has not done it then it is not done! Everyday should be an examination of ourselves. Are we truly fighting sin? or are we rather putting on a show? Heed the words of Mr. Spurgeon:

At the same time, let me observe that a man’s outward life may be very much like that of a Christian, and yet there may be no religion in him at all. Have you ever seen two jugglers in the street with swords, pretending to fight with one another? See how they cut, and slash, and hack at one another, till you are half afraid there will soon be murder done. They seem to be so very much in earnest that you are half in the mind to call in the police to part them. See with what violence that one has aimed a terrific blow at the other one’s head, which his comrade dexterously warded off by keeping a well-timed guard. Just watch them a minute, and you will see that all these cuts and thrusts come in a prearranged order. There is no heart in the fighting after all. They do not fight so roughly as they would if they were real enemies. So, sometimes I have seen a man pretending to be very angry against sin. But watch him a little while, and you will see it is only a fencer’s trick. He does not give his cuts out of order, there is no earnestness in his blows, it is all pretense, it is only mimic stage-play. The fencers, after they have ended their performance, shake hands with one another, and divide the coppers which the gaping throng have given them; and so does this man do, he shakes hands with the devil in private, and the two deceivers share the spoil. The hypocrite and the devil are very good friends after all, and they mutually rejoice over their profits: the devil leering because he has won the soul of the professor, and the hypocrite laughing because he has won his self. Take care, then, that your outward life is not a mere stage-play, but that your antagonism to sin is real and intense; and that you strike right and left, as though you meant to slay the monster, and cast its limbs to the winds of heaven.

taken from: A Christmas Question (a sermon)

http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0291.htm