January 14

The Great War, Part 2

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.

Matthew 12:30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

In Matthew 12 (above), Jesus draws the great line of delineation. We are either with Him or against Him, and if we are not gathering with Him, we are scattering. This is a human side of the Great War between God and Satan addressed in yesterday’s devotional.

This division turns up scripturally long before Jesus arrived. The third chapter of Genesis contains the first Messianic prophecy, and sets up the same kind of demarcation Jesus was referring to. Yes, it refers to the coming Messiah, who will bruise the serpent’s (read Satan’s) head. Yet it also refers to the people of God, His people, His church, His body—those will be hurt by Satan, but will also be instrumental in bruising his head.

There is a historical context to Jesus’ conversation, of course. But the message here (and in Luke 11 and Mark 9) rings down the centuries quite apart from deliverance and Pharisees: We are either with Jesus or we are not. When all is said and done, at the end of our lives or at the end of this age, this will be the great dividing line.

Once in the Kingdom of God, however, these words still apply, and can be both chilling and warming. For believers, the way we take God’s side in this battle is to follow Christ, and keep following Him. This is a separate issue from salvation, as Jesus has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). John 10:27-28 goes further: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” This isn’t about whether we know Him or not; it’s about whether we are following Him.

Yes, we can know Him and by not following Him, we can actually be working against His purposes. This is hard to hear, and we’d rather not think about it. But this is the reality of the war we are in; there is not a neutral position.

But what warm grace the Lord shows us in this! First, He showed His love for us by dying for us while were still sinners, not followers (Romans 5, above). Now, He is ever patient and steadfast in His love for us as we occasionally lose focus, drift away, get distracted and even deliberately sin.

We’ve been born again to do the good works He’s prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10), and in doing so, we follow Him and take His side in the Great War. Yet even when we stray and find ourselves working against Him, He is faithful to forgive us, cleanse us from all unrighteousness as we confess our sin (I John 1:9), and draw us back to Himself. What an infinitely patient and merciful God we have!

Prayer: Lord, help me to stay close to You that I may follow You. Thank You for the mercy and steadfast love You show me at all times. Thank You that You still seek me during those times when I’m not seeking You.