The Devil And Religion
A second point kindred to the text to which we wish to call attention is: The devil does not care how religious you are. You can act as pious and look as sanctimonious as a monk of a hundred years ago, and he does not care at all. You can join the church or denomination of your choice, or join all of them, for aught he cares; in fact, it would not surprise us to learn that it rather pleases his satanic majesty to have folks join church on certain conditions. You can be baptized with water, and have it anyway you want it, and as often and as much as you wish, and he will make no serious objections to the entire program. You can worship God the Father, and attend strictly to your church duties, and he will not object. You can pour out your money to erect costly buildings, and equip and furnish them with all that money can purchase, and the devil will not lose any sleep over it. You can be a strict disciplinarian, and punctually close up your business on Saturday night, and not think of your business again until Monday morning; nor will it make the devil mad to have you remain away from the Sunday baseball and Sunday theater, or refuse to ride on Sunday trains, or refuse to allow Sunday newspapers delivered at your door; he will not get mad, and tear around, or go roaring up and down the earth, if you refrain from all these things. But there is one vital point that he is anxious about these last days, and that is that you leave alone the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the power of His blood to cleanse you from all sin. Do that, and the devil will be satisfied with you. That is the one point that is giving the powers of Hell more concern these days than anything else. It is not the erecting of the fine and costly church edifices up and down this land; it is not the big, popular, sign-the-card, join-the-church, meet-your-mother-in-the-sky, so-called revivals, that put great crowds of unregenerate men and women into the churches all under the cloak of God’s salvation, that causes the devil to worry; it is not the steady decline of spirituality in the churches and their steady drift to worldliness and formality, their constant drift to Universalism and Unitarianism, that sets Hell in an uproar. No, indeed, but it is the upholding of the divinity of Christ and His all-atoning blood that washes and makes the heart clean, that causes consternation in Hell.
We put on our coin “In God We Trust,” and when it was removed there was a great howl and a cry until it was placed back on the coin again. Do you think the devil cared much about that racket that was made because it was taken off? Not so long as we put a Unitarian in the Presidential chair, who by his belief denies the divinity of the Son of God; not so long as we have our Senate opened with prayer by a man who by his belief makes Jesus Christ, the Son of God, an illegitimate child; and we have no doubt that many who made such a fuss about the coin, helped to put an office-seeker, a wine-bibber and a clog-dancer in for President. Now, how much concern do you suppose the prayer of such persons causes the devil? Do you suppose he lays awake at night to contrive some plan whereby he can defeat the good such folks can do for the kingdom of Heaven? No, my friends; the devil does not care how religious you are, just so you leave alone the divinity of the Son of God and His precious blood that makes our hearts clean in His sight. And just as he has led off many churches and gotten their eyes and minds off of Jesus and the Blood, he has done likewise to many individuals, even among those professing a high state of grace. He has some of them seeking after something else beside the Blood, seeking a third blessing of fire and gifts and tongues, and once the mind is turned away from the Blood, it is not far to where the wreck occurs. Oh, he is a devil of a devil, and if he cannot keep a soul from the Blood, then he will try to push that soul on over the precipice and plunge it into darkness.
It was not so far back but we remember an individual who had been used of God to save and bless many souls. He turned from the Blood to a third blessing, a baptism of fire, and went up and down the land promulgating his doctrine. Once off the main line, the end is not far away. It was not long until his fire was found to be the effects of something akin to the red man’s fire-water and after being found intoxicated several times, he soon disappeared from the field of action.
As we pen these lines, there come to our mind others who, rich in experience and grace, were wonderfully and marvelously used of God to the salvation of many, and they have spiritual sons and daughters up and down the land; but they got their eyes off of Jesus and the Blood onto something else, and mark the result. No longer do they draw the crowds to hear them tell the old, old story; no longer do large audiences hang upon their words; no longer are their altars lined with weeping, penitent souls seeking salvation, and unless they get their eyes back on Jesus and His blood, their days of usefulness are over.
Only recently we conducted a series of meetings in a certain town where there was a man who had spent much of his former life in that community living in sin, but he had found God and had gone back to tell the story. He came in the meeting, but was not used as much as he thought he should have been. In a few days he began to find fault and criticize, and soon, with his eyes off the Lord, who had done so much for him, he began sitting around with the unsaved, saying unkind things and finally misrepresenting and impugning the efforts that were being put forth. Just now there lies before me a letter which came in the last mail and it states that the brother in question is now a common horsetrader.
These are not simply isolated cases, but we could fill many pages with recitals of like nature. The Blood alone can wash away our sin; the Blood alone can make us every whit clean. The devil does not care what we do, nor what we profess, not how religious we are, if we only neglect Jesus Christ and His blood. Men may go on erecting magnificent edifices, putting up and endowing great schools of learning, and talk loudly and boast much of the great and glorious country we live in, and the increasing numbers of churches, and mark their advancement by the many additions to them and the amount of money that is raised for religious purposes; but so long as those same churches either deny the divinity of the Son of God and the efficacy of His blood, or are silent regarding the subject, the devil simply smiles and remains undisturbed. The old Book says, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin,” and until that is an accomplished fact, no man possesses that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.