The Division of the Spoils
Luke 11:21-22
When a strong man armed keeps his palace, his goods are in peace:…

And if it seems strange to any among you, that such things should give such delight, and if you ask the reason, it is precisely what I have been speaking about. The reason is, that the heart is in it, just as it might have been in the world, and in the service of Satan before. There is all the difference. Only imagine just as powerful a liking for the things of God, as some of you probably feel for the things of the world; and just as strong a desire for God's favour and growth in all heavenly graces, and the full enjoyment of His presence, whether in heaven or earth, as sinners have for earthly vanities; and the marvel is explained. Satan is spoiled, and what was once his, the heart, is now Christ's — that is all. And the consequence is, that the affections being engaged, the very same things, such as worshipping God in His holy house, which are practised alike by nominal and real Christians, are very different indeed in the feeling they produce, and the fruits they leave behind!

1. Only look, then, at the practical difference which this produces. Is there an opportunity given us of promoting God's glory, and the spread of the gospel, say by giving somewhat out of our substance? We used to try to give as little as it was possible, and no more; to invent all kinds of doubts, and difficulties, and scruples, and hesitations, full of worldly caution and worldly wisdom. Now we thank Him for such a privilege. We are filled with gratitude at being thought worthy to feed or to clothe the members of Christ, or to aid in the extension of the glorious gospel. It is only giving from what is not ours, but His. If we must give up anything, it must not be these deeds of love. Satan is spoiled, and we now do for God, what we once did for him.

2. Again — Is there laid before us, solemnly and affectionately, out of God's holy Word, some grace to be obtained, of which we never thought before; some holy temper which we have never cultivated, or some duty to ourselves, our families, or our neighbours, which has never been pressed upon us in former times. Is this the ease, as it must be, with us all? Look at the result of our choice being on heavenly things. We no longer say, "No, the old ways were good enough for me; I take trouble enough in going to church and leading an upright life, and I shall do no more." No. We say, "It is well; this never struck me; but it is in scripture, it is in the practice of holy men, the saints of God. It is, I cannot deny it, a good and Christian thing to do, and such as the blessing of God will fall upon, if there is any truth in plain gospel words, and any reality in Divine grace. I am willing then to follow him wheresoever He may lead me, and still to do more and more as increasing light shall guide me. By His aid I will do this good thing, and trust to Him to bless it." Here, again, the Christian is only doing in Divine things what he has done all his life in worldly ones; taking advantage of every new light, and every fresh instruction, and permitting no opportunity to pass, by which he could advance his interest or improve his chances of ultimate success. Satan is spoiled, and we now do for God what we used to do for him.

3. Again — It may be that, in the performance of this or that duty to God, and of obedience to one or other of the commandments which He has laid upon us, there may be inconveniences to encounter, difficulties in family arrangement, perhaps some labour to be undergone, some pleasure or relaxation to be abandoned, some worldly gain, or supposed worldly gain and advantage, to be sacrificed. We used not to scruple in such a case to sacrifice God instantly to the world or to ourselves. "I have pressing accounts upon my hands," a man says; "I cannot, therefore, come to church, or read the Bible, or meditate on my soul; business must be done whether or no, that is the main thing in the world, and God could not intend that I should so trouble myself to my own disadvantage." "I shall have so much less at the end of the year if I give this or that, and what good will Christ's love do me in such a matter?" It is now; "God forbid that I should break His holy law, be it the Sabbath — be it prayer — be it almsgiving — be it what it may; how shall I do this wickedness, and sin against God? My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God, and I am content if I can please and obey Him; where or what shall I be if I lose His love who is my all?" Here, again, you see, the Christian only does in the concerns of his soul, and in the service of God, what men of the world are always practising for earthly ends and objects. Satan is spoiled of his old weapons, that is all; we now do for God what we used to do for him.

3. Again — we encounter some grievous trial. We find, perhaps, when we least expected it, that something very dear to us must be given up, some grievous sacrifice be made, of something not in itself bad, perhaps; but not to be reconciled with a devotion of the soul to God in Christ. Formerly, it never would have entered into our heads to surrender it. But now it is, "Take it all, O Lord, lay this and everything else upon us, if it be Thy good will; Thy will, O Lord, and not ours be done." We give up the less for the greater, and trust where we know trust should be reposed, exactly as men do in the world. Satan is spoiled, and we now do for God what we used to do for him.

(J. Garbett, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

WEB: "When the strong man, fully armed, guards his own dwelling, his goods are safe.

The Division of Spoil
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