This last week was rough. Getting about at most 4 hours of sleep a night, I was looking forward to finals being done and to sleeping the whole way home.
Well, little did I know…Little did I know that my flight would be delayed two hours; little did I know that I was going to be sitting next to a screaming baby and her three year old sister who could not sit still; little did I know that the man sitting next to me was going to take up half my seat after he fell asleep. These are all little things, that when put into context, are really not a big deal at all. But, despite their insignificance, by the time I got home, I had a massive headache, was cranky, and unfortunately brought a little bit of the Grinch into my house. Merry Christmas, right? I was disappointed in myself: how could these little things elicit so much frustration in me? What happened to joy, peace, patience, and all of those things that we good Christians are supposed to cloak ourselves in daily?
It is instances like this that I remember not just how unworthy I am, but also how vulnerable to Satan I am. But there is good news. He has no claim on me.
I came across an incredibly powerful blog post last night by Tim Challies which humbled me and reminded me that it was the birth of Christ that loosened Satan’s claim on me.
“[When Jesus is preparing to leave his disciples for the last time, he says],“I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me…” Jesus knew that Satan was about to unleash his full fury upon him. And far, far worse, he knew that Satan’s wrath was as nothing compared to the wrath of God that he would soon have to face. Satan, the ruler of this world, was coming. He was going to drag Jesus, like a helpless, hopeless lamb, through the streets, through the courts, and to the cross where he would be tortured and nailed and pierced in utter agony. Satan was going to do his worst. But Satan would not accomplish what he had hoped. In fact, he would accomplish the very opposite of what he had intended. By inciting the masses to drag Jesus to that tree, Satan would make sure his own doom and ensure the salvation of multitudes of God’s people. Satan could do nothing to Jesus beyond the physical, for he had no claim on him. He had no claim on the Son of God.
The Bible calls Satan the accuser because that is exactly how he does his work. In Revelation 12 we read of a voice that cries out, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” Satan delights in accusing God’s children of sin. Before the throne of God he tells of our sin and our failure. He tells of his reign in the hearts of all who have sinned. He tells of his rightful claim to the souls of all who have sinned against the Creator.
But he had no claim on Jesus. Satan could not whisper in Jesus’ ear that he was unloving or unworthy or sinful. He could not remind Jesus of sins he had committed, people he had shunned or offenses against God. He could not remind Jesus of impure motives or impure thoughts. Satan was powerless to accuse Jesus. He had no claim against him. In John 8:46 Jesus asked the Pharisees a rhetorical question after they accused him of being in league with Satan. “Which one of you convicts me of sin?,” he asked them. And none of them could answer. They were silent. Satan is likewise unable to convict Jesus of sin. He has no claim. He must stand in silence before the perfection of Jesus.
But not so with us. Satan has a legitimate claim to my soul and yours. Satan can recount endless lists of offenses against God. You and I have committed grevious offenses against God. We have done so joyfully, willingly, deliberately. We have done so as a show of our rebellion against God. We have enjoyed being sinful. We have enjoyed giving Satan a claim on our souls. In a time of judgment there is no doubt that Satan can produce a list of offenses more than sufficient to prove his claim on us. It is a legitimate claim. He has ruled us and we have allowed ourselves to be ruled by him.
Terror should fill the hearts of all who ponder Satan’s claims on their souls. And how could it not? Satan, the accuser, the evil one, wants my soul as his own possession. He has a claim on it. He has a claim on you. How can you not fear as you read those words?
But I thank God that there is more. When Satan flung Jesus upon that cross, he was unwittingly bringing about his own destruction. When Jesus’ time on the cross was complete, he cried out, “It is finished!” It was a cry of triumph—a cry whose fullest meaning we can never know. It was a cry that pierced history—it divided the history of humanity. It was the greatest, purest, most meaningful utterance the world can know. In his death Christ took our sin upon himself. He took the accusations of Satan and bore them on our behalf. As God turned his back on Jesus, while at the same time pouring out his wrath upon him, Jesus atoned for our sins. He entered a claim of his own in the lives of his children. My sin became his and his righteousness became mine.
The accuser lost his claim. When Satan accuses me I am now able to know, to believe, to trust and to affirm that his claim is null and void. I am clothed in Christ’s righteousness. My sin has been removed. My guilt has been taken away. I have been redeemed. And, as the triumphant climber leaves a flag at the peak of a mountain, Jesus Christ has sent his Spirit to live within me and to mark me as his own possession.
Satan may still accuse me. He may still seek to convince me that I am his. But he has lost his claim. Jesus has washed me with his blood. He has set his Spirit within me. Jesus Christ has claimed me as his own. Satan has no claim on me. And that is a glorious, wonderful thing.”
Satan indeed has a legitimate claim on my soul. There is no doubt that I have offended God in a countless number of ways, but the moment my savior was born, the accuser lost his claim on me because in Christ’s death, he claimed me as his own. Merry Christmas- take time to remind yourself why Christ is the reason for the season.