An Application of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress: The Accusations of the Enemy

July 3, 2019 | by James M. Harrison

The Palace Beautiful has been a place of rest and fellowship for Christian. But rest can only last so long, for rest is not provided to us for its own sake, but rather to equip us for the tasks and difficulties which lay ahead. After much good and encouraging fellowship with the residents of the Palace, it was time for Christian to proceed with his journey. But Christian would need more than rest for the challenge which lay ahead.Before saying their farewells, Christian was brought to the Palace Armory, and there he was equipped, head to foot, with the armor and weaponry he would need for the rest of his journey. Having been so equipped, he made his way down from the Palace into the Valley of Humiliation.As one might surmise from its name, this valley was a dreadful place, and a good thing, it was, that Christian had his armor. It was not long after entering that valley that he encountered that “foul fiend”, Apollyon, to claim Christian as his own. Christian objected, of course, that whereas he had, indeed, once served Apollyon, he was his servant no longer.

Christian gave testimony of his allegiance to the “King of princes”, saying, “I have given Him my faith, and sworn my allegiance to Him, how then, can I go back from this and not be hanged as a traitor?”

It is then that Apollyon truly reveals himself to possess the character of the very enemy he represents…the Accuser…Lucifer…Satan. For Apollyon begins to accuse Christian, reminding him of his sin…reminding him of how he has failed along his journey. “Thy hast already been unfaithful in they service to Him; and how dost thou think to receive wages of Him?” Apollyon then recounts, in detail, all of Christian’s failures, and all of Christian’s unfaithfulness, seeking to rob him of his hope and his joy.

This is Satan’s strategy, and has always been so.

Martin Luther experienced this same attack. He knew it well. And this is the counsel which he gave to those engaged in such a battle:

“You should tell the devil, ‘Just by telling me that I am a miserable, great sinner you are placing a sword and weapon into my hand with which I can decisively overcome you; yea, with your own weapon I can kill and floor you. For if you can tell me that I am a poor sinner, I on the other hand, can tell you that Christ died for sinners, and is their Intercessor … You remind me of the boundless, great faithfulness and benefaction of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ … to Him I direct you. You may accuse and condemn Him. Let me rest in peace; for on His shoulders, not on mine, lie all my sins…’” Likewise, Christian replied to Apollyon, “All this is true, and much more, which thou hast left out; but the Prince whom I serve and honour, is merciful and ready to forgive.”

If you serve Christ, then your Prince is merciful and ready to forgive. Your sin has been taken from you, and laid upon His shoulders. Pay no attention to Satan’s accusations. I am worse than even he knows. But the grace of my God is greater than he, and greater than all my sin.

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