Satan is a prowling lion, an enemy of ours, who is right now seeking to devour Christians. But can we be devoured? Yikes. Or are we safe? And what does that mean anyways? And how can we find shelter for such an unseen threat to our eternal safety? John Piper addressed this important question straightaway in his 1994 sermon on 1 Peter 5. Here’s what he said.
Here is a question.
Can Christians be devoured?
First Peter 5:8 says, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The word is “to swallow whole,” like the fish did to Jonah: It’s the same word in Jonah in the Septuagint. Your adversary the devil wants to just make you disappear, vanish. You are out of here. You are gone. You are going with him to the lake of fire. That is what “devour” means. Now the question is: Can that happen to me and you?
First Peter 5:9 says, “Resist him.” And the reason you are to resist him is because he is trying to devour you. He is trying to devour you. Resist him. Is that a charade? War games. They are blanks. They are all blanks. There are no bullets in the gun. Nobody gets killed in this game. It is just “resist him” because—just do it. Nothing is really going to happen if you don’t, because it doesn’t happen to Christians. Is that right? Well, I think the devouring is real, and it sure sounds serious to me when Peter says, resist him, resist him. It doesn’t sound like a game. It sounds like heaven and hell are at stake here to me.
So, I ask again. Can true, born again Christians possibly be devoured by the devil? And the answer is no, because true, born again Christians always fight. They fight back. That is what it means to be a true, born again Christian. True, born again Christians have the Holy Spirit within them, so that when they see the lion coming, they don’t say, “Ah, nothing is at stake here. I don’t need to fight. I don’t need to stir up my faith. I don’t need to read the Bible. I don’t need to pray. I don’t need to be with other believers. I don’t have to be vigilant over my eyes and make sure that flesh doesn’t get the upper hand—because nothing is at stake here.” True, born again believers do not talk like that. True, born again believers have the Holy Spirit inside and embrace the Word of God that he inspired. They hear the Word, “Resist him now. Fight, because your life depends on it. I will give you the success, but you fight.” And they fight. If you don’t fight, you are probably not born again.