Escaping Satan’s Deception 2:4

How do we withstand Satan’s attempts to paint sin with virtue’s colors? What can we do to be free of this deception? How do we see behind sin’s mask to behold its true corruption?

Our brother Thomas Brooks (1608-1680) gives us a helpful remedy:

“Seriously…consider, That even those very sins that Satan paints, and puts new names and colors upon, cost the best blood, the noblest blood, the life-blood, the heart-blood of the Lord Jesus.

That Christ should come from the eternal bosom of His Father to a region of sorrow and death; that God should be manifested in the flesh, the Creator made a creature; that he that was clothed with glory should be wrapped with rags of flesh; that he that filled heaven and earth with his glory should be cradled in a manger;

that the power of God should fly from weak man, the God of Israel into Egypt; that the God of the law should be subject to the law, the God of the circumcision circumcised, the God that made the heavens working at Joseph’s homely trade;

that he that binds the devils in chains should be tempted; that he, whose is the world, and the fullness thereof, should hunger and thirst; that the God of strength should be weary, the Judge of all flesh condemned, the God if life put to death; that he that is one with his Father should cry out of misery, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27:46);

that he that had the keys of hell and death at his girdle should lie imprisoned in the sepulcher of another, having in his lifetime nowhere to lay his head, nor after death to lay his body;

that the head, before which the angels do cast down their crowns, should be crowned with thorns, and those eyes, purer than the sun, put out by the darkness of death; those ears, which hear nothing but hallelujahs of saints and angels, to hear the blasphemies of the multitude;

that the face, that was fairer than the sons of man, to be spit on by those beastly wretched [men]; that mouth and tongue, that spake as never man spake, accursed for blasphemy; those hands, that freely swayed the scepter of heaven, nailed to the cross, those feet, ‘like unto fine brass,’ nailed to the cross for man’s sins;

each sense annoyed: his feeling or his touching, with a spear and nails; his smell, with stinking flavor, being crucified about Golgotha, the place of skulls; his taste, with vinegar and gall; his hearing, with reproaches, and sight of his mother and disciples bemoaning him; his soul, comfortless and forsaken; and all this for those very sins that Satan paints and puts fine colors upon!

Oh! How should the consideration of this stir up the soul against it, and work the soul to fly from it, and to use all holy means whereby sin may be subdued and destroyed!”

-Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, first published in 1652, (Banner of Truth Trust, 1968), 36-37.

Why We Lie

“We like to believe that a few bad apples spoil the virtuous bunch. But research shows that everyone cheats a little—right up to the point where they lose their sense of integrity.”

“Not too long ago, one of my students, named Peter, told me a story that captures rather nicely our society’s misguided efforts to deal with dishonesty. One day, Peter locked himself out of his house. After a spell, the locksmith pulled up in his truck and picked the lock in about a minute.

“I was amazed at how quickly and easily this guy was able to open the door,” Peter said. The locksmith told him that locks are on doors only to keep honest people honest. One percent of people will always be honest and never steal. Another 1% will always be dishonest and always try to pick your lock and steal your television; locks won’t do much to protect you from the hardened thieves, who can get into your house if they really want to. The purpose of locks, the locksmith said, is to protect you from the 98% of mostly honest people who might be tempted to try your door if it had no lock.

We tend to think that people are either honest or dishonest. In the age of Bernie Madoff and Mark McGwire, James Frey and John Edwards, we like to believe that most people are virtuous, but a few bad apples spoil the bunch. If this were true, society might easily remedy its problems with cheating and dishonesty. Human-resources departments could screen for cheaters when hiring. Dishonest financial advisers or building contractors could be flagged quickly and shunned. Cheaters in sports and other arenas would be easy to spot before they rose to the tops of their professions.

But that is not how dishonesty works. Over the past decade or so, my colleagues and I have taken a close look at why people cheat, using a variety of experiments and looking at a panoply of unique data sets—from insurance claims to employment histories to the treatment records of doctors and dentists. What we have found, in a nutshell: Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats—just by a little. Except for a few outliers at the top and bottom, the behavior of almost everyone is driven by two opposing motivations. On the one hand, we want to benefit from cheating and get as much money and glory as possible; on the other hand, we want to view ourselves as honest, honorable people. Sadly, it is this kind of small-scale mass cheating, not the high-profile cases, that is most corrosive to society….”

By Dan Ariely

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