Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Review: Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices

Banner of Truth Trust is an organization founded in 1957 committed to re-publishing solid biblical works from the Reformation and Puritan eras of Church history that otherwise would be lost in our feel-good Christian book market of prosperity and humanistic self-improvement. First published in 1652, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices was written by Thomas Brooks, a classic Puritan preacher known for drawing his illustrations from the Scriptures themselves and classical literature.

Precious Remedies is being highlighted here on The Relentless Fight because of its rock-solid strategies for fighting sin and temptation. Here's a sampling of 3 highlights from the book:
  1. Satan Presents the Bait and Hides the Hook - Satan loves to feature and display the promised benefits of sin. "Porn will make you feel good! That chocolate cake will be delicious! Cutting yourself will make the pain go away!" But Satan works overtime to hide the consequences of the sin: addiction, isolation from God, discouragement, condemnation. Says Thomas Brooks, "He promises the soul honor, pleasure, profit, but pays the soul with the greatest contempt, shame, and loss that can be." (page 30) What then is the remedy? SEE the hook! Keep a distance from sin instead of toying with it, and remember that sin starts sweet but turns bitter in the end. Yes, our sin promises great and lofty things, but after we've taken that bite it gives us only sorrow, loss, and death. 
  2. You're Not Happy? You Must Not Be a Christian - In this life we have ups and downs. And Satan, like a total jerk, loves to hit us while we're down. One strategy he uses is to convince us in our depressed state that we're not a real Christian, and any joy we used to have is NEVER coming back. It's hopeless. The remedy? Remember that the loss of comfort doesn't mean the loss of GRACE, there are a host of examples in Scripture of God's chosen people suffering deeply (Psalm 88, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10) even Jesus Himself in Matthew 26:36-45! Meditate on the joys that are still yours in the Gospel, and strengthen yourself with perseverance... the end is so near in sight! God will provide the comfort in the end, and will sustain you UNTIL the end.
  3. Sin Dies Slowly. So Remember the Gospel and Keep Fighting - Satan loves to bring the simple charge, "You're still struggling with the same sins. Therefore God is not at work and you're still a slave to sin." Yet in God's sovereign wisdom, He is pleased to give sin a death-wound BUT not completely remove its presence from the lives of His saints, "something is still left as a monument of divine grace, and to keep us humble, wakeful, and watchful, and that our armour may be still kept on, and our weapons always in our hands." (page 167) God makes no promise to His people that they are not capable of falling into the same sins again and again in THIS life. Indeed, there is something that He desires to teach us in the midst of our besetting struggle: To keep us humble, to depend more on the Lord, to become disgusted with this fallen world and long for heaven, to better understand the NECESSITY of the Cross, and to have compassion for others who also struggle. How then are we sustained amidst the discouragement of constant battle? We must remember the hope-filled gospel of Christ's promise of "No Condemnation!" (Romans 8:1) and then persevere in our fighting of sin in THIS strength until God ends the fight
Want more? Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices can be purchased on Banner of Truth Trust's website, or WTS Books, or Amazon. One note to the reader: It was written 360 years ago, so the English can be a challenge to read. But it's worth it.

Fighting to not be ignorant of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11),
The Relentless Fight