Luther, Lewis, and the Laughter of the Christian

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One thing that C.S. Lewis and Martin Luther taught me about the Devil is that the old geezer takes himself painfully seriously. Luther once said: “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to the texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.” Thomas More once wrote: “The deville… the prowde spirite… cannot endure to be mocked.” Lewis quotes both these men in the opening to his book The Screwtape Letters, and then enters into a discourse wherein he openly ridicules the devil, and shows the ugliness of the Devil’s schemes.

One of the privileges of the Christian when he is found in union with Christ, in union with the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ is that he can, with Christ, mock the Devil. In Colossians 2:15, Jesus “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” In Christ, and in His armour we go up against these rulers and authorities: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:11-12)

We know from Psalm 2, that the Lord sits in the heavens and laughs at the schemes of men. In the Gospels, Jesus drove demons into the sea, cast them out, triumphed over them, making a public mockery of them. Following His death and resurrection, His disciples did the same thing, casting out demons and preaching in the name of Jesus.

Fastforward to the 21st century. We live in relatively easy times, but we also live in a time when the devil is at work. He is a proud, arrogant prick and he wants men to serve him rather than the Living God of heaven and earth. And so I’m tickled pink when I see him ridiculed, when I see churches continue to grow and people are forgiven of their sins, when families gather together and have holy laughter rather than cackling over the dirty jokes of the devil.

I honestly believe that the devil loses his hold when he is mocked. Of course, it starts from the basis of God’s Word. As Luther once said: “The Devil fears the Word of God, He can’t bite it; it breaks his teeth.” Again, Luther advises: “The best way to get rid of the Devil, if you cannot kill it with the words of Holy Scripture, is to rail at and mock him. Music, too, is very good; music is hateful to him, and drives him far away.” And then when Christians enjoy God’s world within the bounds of His Word, the Devil is at a loss. Luther says again: “So when the devil says to you: do not drink, answer him: I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.” This is the way in which Jesus disowns him and puts him to open shame when Christians take themselves less seriously, and engage in Christian joy, and fellowship and live in harmony. Of course, within the bounds of God’s Word, because the Devil breaks his teeth on that.

Another way to treat the Devil is to call him names. Martin Luther writes again: “I often laugh at Satan, and there is nothing that makes him so angry as when I attack him to his face, and tell him that through God I am more than a match for him.” Names show that he is despised, etc.

“Come, let us sing a psalm, and drive away the Devil.” Again, Luther conjurs up another weapon against the Devil’s schemes. Against the temptations to worldliness, the desires of sin that lead to death, the desire to leave the gospel. Come, let’s sing a song and drive away the Devil.

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