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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: November 16, 2023

Matthew 27:1-10

There’s a certain strategy that Satan likes to employ to destroy our faith, a strategy I suppose we could call “corrupt and condemn,” something we see clearly in Judas Iscariot.

Satan puts it in the heart of Judas to betray Christ, convincing him that this Son of God is not worth his devotion and love, that he has no reason to follow Jesus any further. Judas does precisely this, but when the rush of anger and bitterness burns off and he sees the evil thing he’s done, he rushes to the chief priests, the men who, according to the Law of Moses, are supposed to give him holy absolution. But instead, they say “that’s not our problem, figure that out yourself.” In all of this they allow themselves to become mouthpieces for Satan, essentially saying to Judas, “you worthless man, God could never forgive you for what you’ve done. You have no reason to hope. Go die in your despair,” which is exactly what Judas does. Satan places the temptation into Judas’s mouth and then convinces him that he’s unworthy of life and love for consuming it. Corrupt and condemn completed.

This is the same strategy that Satan uses with us, convincing those who struggle with alcohol to give themselves over to intoxication and then condemning them for being worthless drunks, convincing the lustful to indulge in pornography and then condemning them for being degenerates unworthy of God’s love, corrupting the anxiety-ridden with more anxiety and then condemning them for their lack of trust. Corrupt and condemn, over and over and over again. The devil uses this trick because it works.

That is, it works as long as we, like Judas, see to it ourselves, as long as we focus on ourselves and don’t turn to Christ and His mercy. Instead of running to the Chief Priests looking for absolution, Judas should have run to the Great High Priest. He should have run to the cross and confessed His sins to Christ, who most certainly would have clothed Him in the mercy and salvation of God. Judas didn’t do this. But you can. Run to Christ. Stand beneath His bleeding hands and feet. Confess your sins. And Jesus will tell you, “I have seen to it myself. I have healed you. I have purified you. I have cleansed you and restored you. I have made you worthy of my Father’s kingdom by covering you in my blood, my righteousness, my mercy. You have nothing to fear. Your sins are gone forever. And my love is now your eternal possession.” 

Satan does corrupt and condemn. But Jesus does rescue and restore. And Jesus wins, every time.

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