Play by Play of the Desiring God Suffering Conference

So you missed the Piper’s Suffering and the Supremacy of God Conference? So did I. Fortunately, Tim Challies of Challies.com wrote about each session play by play.

I encourage you to take the time to review his excellent site and to review his blogs about the conference.

Below is his summary of the main points of the first session:

1. Let us celebrate that God is sovereign over Satan’s delegated world rule. We know that Satan has been given dominion over the world because he was able to offer it to Christ. Satan plays a huge role in the rise and rule of evil in this world, but he does this only by degree permission and within God’s appointed limits. The Bible makes this abundantly clear.

2. Let us celebrate that God is sovereign over Satan’s angels (demons, evil spirits). Satan has thousands of cohorts that are known by various names and titles. There are wars and skirmishes on a spiritual level that we read about in Scripture, but we know that God is sovereign over even them.

3. Let us celebrate that God is sovereign over persecution. While Christians do suffer in the jaws of Satan’s persecution, they do so within the government of God. Jesus knew this, for in the night He was taken from the garden he expressed that the Father had ordained that they had an hour, just one brief period of time, in which they could take and kill Him. But then He would break free.

4. Let us celebrate that God is sovereign over Satan’s life-taking power. Satan is a murdered who wants nothing more than to destroy. He does so successfully in this life. But none live or die but by God’s decree.

5. Let us celebrate that God is sovereign over Satan’s hand in natural disasters. The story of Job shows that Satan has the ability to control natural forces such as wind and fire from heaven (which is probably lightning). God his given Satan sufficient authority to do this. But we can learn from Job in this, for he did not focus on Satan’s agency, but on God’s sovereignty. There is small comfort in concentrating on the agency of Satan. Our focus needs to be on God for this is where we will find hope and security.

6. Let us celebrate that God is sovereign over Satan’s sickness-causing power. Satan causes much of the sickness we suffer. But as witnessed through the life of Christ, He has authority over Satan. Even today it is God’s delight to heal us.

7. Let us celebrate that God is sovereign over Satan’s use of animals and plants. Satan is able to use animals and plants to wreak havoc and bring death. Animals and plants are used to cause great suffering as part of Satan’s plan. But they cannot do what God does not will for them to do.

8. Let us celebrate that God is sovereign over Satan’s temptations to sin. Much of the suffering in the world is caused by man’s sin against man. Satan is called “the temptor,” as he tempts others to do his evil work for him. But God is sovereign over even this and He will not allow more than we can bear.

9. Let us celebrate that God is sovereign over Satan’s mind-blinding power. The greatest suffering, beside Christ’s will be the suffering of hell. Satan’s aim is to take as many of us with him into this suffering. He does this by blinding our minds to the glorious light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

10. Let us celebrate that God is sovereign over Satan’s spiritual bondage. Satan enslaves people in two ways. One is through pleasure, by making us think we don’t need God because we already have all we need. The other is through pain, by making us think God is not sovereign over pain. Both these sins demand repentance. Satan is not fully sovereign over his captives, for God can always grant repentance if He so desires.

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