20 October 2011

What to Show the Devil

I recall during my twelve year-old salvation crisis (brought on by my developed fear of the rapture) being told the illustration of a young girl who was being hounded by the Devil every day. The evil accuser challenged her salvation, lying to her about her conversion and shaking her assurance. An angel of the Lord came to her and took her to a tree in which she had carved the date of her decision, three years earlier. The angel said, “The next time the devil comes to accuse, you show him what is carved in this tree.”

This is a neat little story, and at the time, as dubious as my conversion at six years of age seemed to me, it prompted me to say the sinner’s prayer again and mark the new date. But looking back now I find it theologically tenuous and practically useless for the cause of assurance. My decisions are a shallow hope indeed. These days when the devil comes to accuse, I show him what is carved on my Savior’s hand. I rebuke him not with some sentimental tree memorializing my own spiritual movements but the tree upon which the Son of God was sacrificed for me.
--Jared C. Wilson, Gospel Wakefulness (Crossway, 2011), 30

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