Satan's Traps and the Cross

Several years ago, radio personality Paul Harvey told the story of how Eskimo hunters kill a wolf. The process is grisly, yet it offers fresh insight into our struggle with sin. Harvey says this—

First, the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. Then he adds another layer of blood, and another, until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood. Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows the scent and discovers the bait, he licks it, tasting the frozen blood. He begins to lick more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the keen edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder the wolf licks the blade in the arctic night. So great becomes his craving for blood that the wolf does not notice the razor-sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue, nor does he recognize the instant at which his insatiable thirst is being satisfied by his own warm blood. His carnivorous appetite just craves more-- until the dawn finds him dead in the snow!

Like the Eskimo in Harvey’s story, Satan has set his deadly traps that play to our selfish appetites. Intellectual arrogance feeds our pride. Moral relativism encourages our appetite for pleasure. Materialism and greed drives our hunger for more money and things. Our culture falls for Satan’s traps with reckless abandon, and like the wolf, people are destroyed by their own appetites.

If we are not very careful, we may also find ourselves licking the knife. The siren song of the world can be overpowering. Without realizing or desiring it, we can find ourselves believing the lie. How do we keep ourselves centered? How do we miss Satan’s traps? We avoid the traps when we focus on what is at the center of our faith-- the cross. Christianity is at the same time a philosophy, a lifestyle and a mindset. Yet all of these derive their power from a single story (1 Cor. 15:2-4, NLT)

And it is this Good News that saves you if you firmly believe it—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me—that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.  He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said.

We can stress a lot of things and call them all “Christian.” But when all is said and done, the part that matters most is the message of the cross. But that message is not simply that Jesus died to save us from the guilt of our sin; the cross is also the power that saves us from being entrapped by our sin. We have been “crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20) so that “the body ruled by sin might be done away with” (Rom 6:6). Because we belong to Christ we “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24). The cross frees us from sin’s guilt and sin’s power over our lives. We can avoid Satan’s traps when we focus on the story that is at the center of our faith.