This quote from J.C. Ryle didn’t make it into my sermon of several weeks ago titled “Who’s Your Father?” on John 8:37-47. As part of His conversation with the Pharisees, Jesus said, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father” (verse 44).
There is a devil! We have a mighty invisible enemy always near us – one who never slumbers and never sleeps – one who is about our path and about our bed, and spies out all our ways, and will never leave us until we die. He is a murderer! His great aim and object is, to ruin us forever and kill our souls. To destroy, to rob us of eternal life, to bring us down to the second death in hell, are the things for which he is unceasingly working. He is ever going about, seeking whom he may devour. He is a liar! He is continually trying to deceive us by false representations, just as he deceived Eve at the beginning. He is always telling us that good is evil and evil good – truth is falsehood and falsehood truth – the broad way good and the narrow way bad. Millions are led captive by his deceit, and follow him. Both rich and poor, both high and low, both learned and unlearned. Lies are his chosen weapons. By lies he slays many.
These are dreadful things; but they are true. Let us live as if we believed them. Let us not be like many who mock, and sneer, and scoff, and deny the existence of the very being who is invisibly leading them to hell. Let us believe there is a devil, and watch, and pray, and fight hard against his temptations. Strong as he is, there is One stronger than him, who said to Peter, “I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not,” and who still intercedes at God’s right hand. Let us commit our souls to Him (Luke 22:32). With such a being as the devil going to and fro in the world, we never need wonder to see evil abounding. But with Christ on our side, we need not be afraid. Greater is He that is for us than he that is against us. It is written, “Resist the devil, and he shall flee from you.” “The God of all peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” (James 4:7; Romans 16:20)