Posts Tagged Satan

Get Behind Me, Satan: Rejecting the Love of Man

Jesus, Peter, painting, "Get Behind Me Satan"We are all well-conditioned to deride the loves of money, power, and self, but there is one form of idolatry that is far more subtle than the rest: the love of man.

This week at Common Sense Concept, I explore such idolatry through an instance in the Book of Matthew where Peter expresses loving concern regarding Jesus’ impending death.

Jesus’ response? “Get behind me, Satan!”

Here’s an excerpt:

Such a harsh response is difficult for us to understand. It seems highly unreasonable that the desire to keep a loved one away from harm — let alone death — would be labeled as satanic, particularly when that loved one is the Son of God…The problem, of course, is that Peter’s love was based on “the things of man,” and like many of us, he should have known better.

The lesson therein has to do with keeping the first commandment before shooting for the second (I have commented on this before). If we don’t, we are bound to screw things up. We must first and foremost align our love to God, which means submitting to his will with gracious obedience.

Here’s another piece:

In our earthly striving to love our neighbors and do good works, to which source is our love truly aligned? It may be easy to think that the ends of love always involve our own destruction, but what if we shift that onto someone else? To what end of submission is our love of God truly capable of achieving? Are we willing to accept the death of a loved one? This is radical, indeed.

Read the full post here.

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Biblical Justice vs. Worldly Justice: Avoiding the Scapegoat Mechanism

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Job's accusers were well aware of his innocence.

I am currently reading Douglas Wilson’s Heaven Misplaced: Christ’s Kingdom on Earth, and I was particularly struck by a chapter that focuses on what Wilson calls Christ’s “inexorable love.” The chapter’s fundamental argument is that Christ’s love is widely available to humanity and cannot be suppressed by natural forces.

Wilson begins by discussing the common approach that paganism has taken to achieving justice, namely scapegoating murder to achieve serenity:

Pagan civilizations have always been built on the bedrock of scapegoating murder — this kind of turmoil is managed until it gets to a crisis point, and then everyone wheels on the designated victim. After the murder of this victim, everything becomes tranquil again…For the carnal man, this is the most natural thing in the world. Accusation equals guilt, and condemnation for him equals salvation for us. (emphasis added)

But Christianity also has its fair share of scapegoating, so what’s the difference?

From beginning to end, the Scriptures stand squarely against this pagan mentality — the mentality that is always serene and self-confident about the guilt of the designated victim. Think of Joseph sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused. Think of Job, falsely accused by Satan in the heavenly courts and by his so-called comforters here on earth. Think of all the prophets, from Abel to Zechariah, son of Berechiah.

As we can see, Christianity is told from the perspective of the victim rather than the accuser. In addition to this, the victims are almost always innocent and are understood to be so by their accusers — a significant departure from paganism. On this point, many of Wilson’s arguments echo those of René Girard (see The Scapegoat). As we all know, Christianity’s history of scapegoating climaxes with the ultimate (and finally redeeming) murder of Read the rest of this entry »

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