Lucia's Blog: OUR ADVERSARY THE DEVIL
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Monday, February 15, 2016

OUR ADVERSARY THE DEVIL

"Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, whom withstand stedfast in your faith, knowing that the same sufferings are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world."
I Peter 5:8-9


The early Reformers in Europe, as well as the pioneers of the American churches, prayed fervently for God's help against the invisible hosts of evil. They believed unabashedly in the devil and lived their lives as a battle against his evil influences. Just because they are invisible does not make them imaginary nor does it make us superstitious to acknowledge their existence. Let's have a serious Bible discussion of Satan and his activities.

Recently, someone hacked into my computer.  They were able to get hold of my secured passwords from Facebook and my blog.  It is unclear to me how the attackers altered my passwords and found unrestricted access to some of my accounts, especially Facebook.  Once they had access, they did as they pleased, publishing all kinds of foul language and pornography.  Believe me, this has been a very traumatic, degrading, humiliating and terrifying experience for me.  I am still grieving but with God's grace, I will recover soon.  I was determined to close my Facebook account and all other accounts and even stop writing for my blog which is what I enjoy the most.  With a lot of prayer and support from my family and my friends, I decided to continue doing what I love to do, writing for the glory of God.  

This awful incident reminded me and alerted me as well to the fact that Satan is at war with Christians.  It is an ugly spiritual war!  Why do I say that?  Simply because Satan fiercely seeks to accuse us of wrong, bringing shame upon us.  He seeks us out like a roaring lion to destroy us, his weak prey.  Satan, our adversary, wants to destroy those who are doing a good work for Christ's sake; those who are faithful and are being used in service to God for His glory.  He hates them and wages war against those who are striving to live their lives for Christ, walking in righteousness.  Indeed, his primary purpose is to discourage us, and he uses all of his evil weapons against God's people.  He wants to destroy us utterly!  

That is why we must become aware, being on guard, standing firm in Christ with all prayer to resist him.  However, I am confident that he can do nothing to us other than what God allows him.  He still has the power to prowl and attack us fiercely.  His goal is to take us away from God's Law and love.  He can do that only if we give him an open door.  He will do everything in his power to discourage and sway us away from God and His ways.  He is eager to persecute all those who desire to live godly (2 Tim. 3:12).  His mission is to attack our faith and our joy. Therefore, let us take heed and be on the alert!!

Undoubtedly, we have an enemy who is real, and we need to be watchful!  We cannot afford to be careless or lazy.  Satan is the author of all our troubles and persecutions and cares.  Even so, we must not allow him to intimidate us.  I am determined that I will not!!  

This enemy is like an outside force always working against God and us.  In the Bible, he is referred to by different names but is commonly known as Satan.  In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for “Satan” is used 19 times.  The word “Satan” makes reference to one who lies in wait or one who opposes.  In the New Testament, the Greek word for Satan is used 36 times which means adversary, opponent or enemy.  Another term to refer to him is “the devil” (used 33 times in the NT), the slanderer or traitor.

All this being said, we come to the following questions:  
  • Who is Satan?  
  • Is he real?  
  • Why has he established himself as God's archenemy?  
  • Why is he the enemy or opponent of mankind?  
  • What is his origin?  
  • Why has he placed himself against God and man?  
  • Why has God allowed Satan to continue to exist?  
  • What is his primary goal?  
  • What are his powers?  
  • What can Christians do to defend themselves against Satan?  
  • And finally, what is Satan's final destiny?

Thankfully, God's Word provides us with the answers to all these questions.  In our study, I want to provide some Bible answers so that we may better understand who our enemy is.  The better one knows this enemy, the more successful he will be in defending himself and defeating this enemy completely.  It is vital that we not quit. We must keep pressing on even when we feel like giving up. Lest we forget, life is a ceaseless battle where we must strive to serve God with all of our life, energy and enthusiasm.  Remember that victory is just around the corner.  Let us treasure Paul's inspiring words that keep us motivated and keep us going so that we may win the prize of the high calling of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude.”  (Phil. 3:13-15)

I.    IS SATAN REAL?

Many reject the existence of Satan as a real, personal, and spiritual being.  They instead speak of him as a myth (which pleases Satan!) that was invented to teach us moral values and scare us into obeying God and the Bible.  There is nothing strange about such disbelief coming from the world.  After all, if they choose not to believe in God and His Word, why should they believe in a spiritual being known as Satan, the Bible speaks of?  Sadly, there are those who profess to be followers of Christ who likewise reject the existence of Satan. To them, Satan is some kind of evil personified.  They discard the idea that there really is a spiritual being out there whose aim is to ruin the souls of men.  I don't understand this way of thinking.  The same Bible that asserts the existence of God also tells us of the existence of Satan!  I can’t fathom how one may consistently believe the Bible and the existence of God but reject the existence of Satan.

It is crystal clear that Satan exists and is real. It is documented in both the Old and the New Testaments.  From beginning to end (the first book of the Bible to the last), his existence is affirmed as our adversary.  In Genesis 3, we are first introduced to Satan (as he arrives in the scene) in the form of a serpent to tempt Eve.  In the last book of the Bible, we read "And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan... "  (Rev. 20:2).  We see him again in I Chronicles 21:1 where he stood against Israel, trying to tempt King David to sin.  

Did you know that in the book of Job, the word Satan is used 14 times?  In fact, the entire book of Job explores the dilemmas caused by the existence of Satan, especially the first two chapters.  In them, we see him acting against God and mankind as our adversary.  However, we also see God's ultimate authority and superiority over him.  Moreover, he is also mentioned in Zechariah 3 where he accuses and opposes the high priest.  He shows up ready to challenge God's authority and power to forgive men's sins.  He seeks to overthrow God's throne of grace, turning it into a seat of judgment and condemnation without any hope of redemption for mankind.

In the New Testament, his existence is reaffirmed as cunning, deceitful and hypocritical.  In Matthew 4:1-11, he enters the scene to tempt our Lord Jesus in the wilderness as a literal and distinct being.  A few chapters later (Matt. 12:27), Jesus referred to him as "Beelzebub" which means the lord of refuse or the lord of the flies.  This is a term that expresses contempt. He is everything that is opposed to holiness and purity.  This was not just a term that our Lord used to apply to some kind of harmless, mythical character or fable.  No, Jesus used this term to refer to Satan as a being that was dangerous, overflowing with wickedness!!

Jesus' apostles were aware of Satan as their bitter and worst enemy.  Take for example what Jesus told Peter:  "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat." (Matt. 22:31).  Notice that the pronoun, “you” in the Greek, is plural indicating that Satan wanted all of the apostles.  In Ephesians 2:2, the apostle Paul speaks of Satan as "prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience."  He has his "devices" (II Cor. 2:11) and his servants (ministers) who "disguise themselves as servants of righteousness" (II Cor. 11:15).  The apostle John also mentioned him as the one who has sinned from the beginning (I John 3:8).  John also noted, "that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one"  (I John 5:19).  Paul's thorn in the flesh was "a messenger of Satan" to torment him (II Cor. 12:7).  Perhaps the most troublesome fact is that it was Satan who "put into the heart of Judas Iscariot" to betray Jesus. (John 13:2).  

Moreover, Satan is called the author of sin (I John 3:8), sickness (Acts 10:38), death (Heb. 2:14) and the one who leads men to be deceived and go astray (II Thess. 2:9-10).  It is a fact that Satan is real and not figurative!!


II.   WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF SATAN?

Although the Bible does not tell us much about the origin of Satan, there is enough evidence and information in the Word of God that we may draw some reasonable conclusions as to how Satan came into existence.  Is Satan a created being or is he eternal?  Even though he is quite powerful, he does not share the status of deity.  Why?  Because deity is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and righteous (Psalm 139).  Satan does not have these qualities!  He is not “all-powerful” for God is greater and stronger than he is (I John 4:4).  God allows him to do certain things.  God also limits him (Job 1:12; 2:6; Rev. 20:2).  
  • He is not omnipresent (all present) since he is restrained to a particular place.  Though he is the god (ruler) of this world (II Cor. 4:4), God will throw him into the "lake of fire" one day (Rev. 20:10).  
  • He is not all-knowing (omniscient).  In Job, he thought that all men forsake God sooner or later when they are faced with severe trials.  Indeed, he was wrong and does not know everything! (Job 1:11; 2:5; James 5:11).  
  • He is not all that smart nor is he powerful enough to "snatch" the disciples of the Lord from His hand (John 10:28).  
Therefore, Satan is not a deity in any sense nor does he possess an eternal nature.  He has not always existed like our Creator but rather he was created.

In Colossians 1:16, we have further evidence for this conclusion:  
"For by him [i.e., Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him."  

This text affirms that Jesus created everyone and everything (besides the Godhead)!  So, it is undeniable that God created Satan.  So the question is:  What was Satan like when he was first created?  Was he created "evil"?  The answer is a big NO!  Notice what Genesis 1:31 tells us:  

"And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good... "  

Indeed, everything that God had created was very good!  So whatever Satan might have been originally, he was definitely created good.  God did not create Satan as evil, but rather he became evil later.

According to a couple of New Testament passages, there is evidence that Satan was originally one of the angels that inhabited the heavenly realm.  And that he along with other angels departed from all righteousness and rebelled against God (Job 4:18).  The New Testament explains this truth well in several places:  
  • II Peter 2:4:  "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment."  
  • Jude 6:  "And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day."

Although one might say that these verses don't specifically say much about Satan, the truth is that they do affirm that angels can and do sin.  This reality blends well with Jesus' statement in Matthew 25:41 and has some powerful implications.  Notice what Jesus says:  
"Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."  

So Satan was good when God created him, and now he is evil with his own angels, whom he leads in rebellion against God.  They were expelled from heaven as a result of their disobedience.  Some of the angels chose to break God's law by not keeping their real domain. They departed from the position God had established for them.  So, why did they do that and when?  Unfortunately, we can't answer these questions because the Bible does not tell us.  We can be sure that this rebellion took place before Adam and Eve were tempted in Genesis 3 since Satan appears to be playing his role as the adversary.


III.   WHY HAS SATAN PLACED HIMSELF AGAINST BOTH GOD AND MAN?

Although the Bible does not explicitly give us the answer to this question, it seems that after Satan rebelled and it became evident that he would be punished for his sin, he became angry and bitter and had an enormous desire for revenge.  You see, Satan lost, and no one likes to lose!   So how was Satan going to get revenge against God?  How could he hurt God the Creator who was stronger and more powerful than he?  Of course, he could not hurt God directly, but maybe he could hurt Him indirectly.  Who could he target?  Mankind!  Why?  Because man is made in the image of God (deity).  He is God's master creation on earth.  Satan and his evil angels realized how pleasant it was going to be to spoil the apple of God's eyes!  Therefore, it is through mankind that Satan was going to get his revenge against God.

Without a doubt, Satan is aware that his case is hopeless and that he cannot overpower God.  But he also knows that he can indirectly hurt God by getting men to sin and forsake their Creator.  That is why he prowls among us, seeking to destroy us as our adversary,  "like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."  (I Peter 5:8).  Satan's great desire is to take as many souls as he can to hell with him.  This is his plan for revenge. It is a war against God. He will do everything in his power to accomplish his diabolic plan.  Indeed, he is our biggest "enemy" (Matt. 13:39).


IV.   WHY HAS GOD ALLOWED SATAN TO CONTINUE TO EXIST?

If Jesus called Satan a "murderer" in John 8:44, one might be wondering why has God not put him to death like other murderers? (Numbers 35:16).  What is God's justification for allowing one like Satan to be so wicked and continue living? In Luke 20:33-36 we might find at least one clue.  In this passage, Jesus spoke of the righteous who one day would be worthy of living in heaven.  Jesus declared:  
"For they cannot die anymore because they are equal to angels... "  
Stop now and think about that.  If the righteous person whose final dwelling will be heaven where he cannot die, and he will be equal to angels, then angels cannot die.  Right?   It is important that we understand that humans and angels are not eternal.  Why?  Because they have not always existed, but once created they were made immortal (i.e., they will live forever:   "for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection").

Surely, if God wanted to eradicate Satan's existence, He would utterly destroy him.  God has all power to do that.  However, the fact that God has allowed Satan to exist might suggest that perhaps God has a reason or purpose for Satan.  Consider what God said to Pharaoh in Exodus 9:15-16
"For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth.  But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth."  

Perhaps, God wants to show His power through Satan as He did through Pharaoh.  Do you think this might be a possibility?  Why did God show His power through Pharaoh?  Because of Pharaoh's stubbornness and rebellion, God was able to work many miracles to free His people.  In doing all this, His name was exalted throughout all the earth.

It is evident that God has allowed Satan to retain his power for a limited time only until He is finished with His purpose (using Satan to test us that we might be a purified and undefiled people for God's glory and purposes).  The beauty of all this is that we can overcome our enemy, Satan, through our Lord and Savior that we might glorify our Father in heaven.  I think this is why Satan continues to exist.  I believe that he will continue even after the day of judgment for the sake of justice that he may be punished forever for his wickedness.


IV.   WHAT IS SATAN'S PRIMARY PURPOSE OR GOAL?

As  I said earlier in this study, Satan's primary purpose or goal is to get revenge against God through mankind.  Ultimately his mission is to destroy mankind in hell!  Suffering forever with him in the "lake of fire"  (Rev. 20:10). Consider some of Satan's descriptions in the Bible:  
  • The adversary (Zech. 3:1).
  • The devil (Matt. 4:1).
  • The tempter (Matt. 4:3).
  • Murderer and father of lies (John 8:44).
  • The god of this world (II Cor. 4:4).
  • The prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2).
  • The ruler of demons (Matt. 12:24).
  • The great dragon and the serpent of old (Rev. 12:9).
  • The wicked one (Matt. 13:38).
  • The ruler of darkness (Eph. 6:12).
  • The accuser of the brethren (Rev. 2:10).
  • A roaring lion (I Peter 5:8).
  • Angel of the bottomless pit (Rev. 9:11).  
All these descriptive names indicate Satan's purpose or goal:  to alienate or separate men from God by making men sin.  So how exactly does Satan do this?


VI.   HOW DOES SATAN CARRY OUT HIS PURPOSE OR GOAL?

I would answer this question with just two words:  temptation and deception.  Our enemy will do anything to get us to sin using his toolkit of temptation and deception.  As soldiers of Christ waging a spiritual warfare (II Cor. 10:3-4; Eph. 6:12), we must be wise and know our great enemy.  In II Cor. 2:11, the apostle Paul warns:  
"that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan: for we are not ignorant of his devices." 
Paul makes us aware of Satan's wicked tools and techniques.  He will definitely use them against all righteousness as well as against those who pursue righteousness or godliness.  Let’s consider some of the devices in his toolkit that he uses against those who want to live godly, doing the will of God.

  • Desires:  This is a powerful weapon that Satan uses against us and we must realize this.  We must examine our hearts to know where we come short here!  Even though one may not want to steal, get drunk and commit fornication, one can still have the desire to lie, cheat, gossip, fight, or be proud.  James is very specific when he describes how sin starts with each of us and how it enters our heart:  "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."  (James 1:14-15).  We must remember the three B's:  beckon, bait and bend.  Take heed, Satan cannot enter our heart and have power over us if we are walking in the Light.  So what does he try to do instead?  He will draw us away from the Light, playing off our desires.  Once one responds to the beckoning of one's desires, the bait is laid in the form of temptation.  It is at that point that the one who is being tempted is in a critical position but still can have control.  He/she can still use the "the way of escape"  provided to endure the temptation (I Cor. 10:13).  Therefore, sin can only be committed when one bends and yields (submit, surrender, give in) to the temptation.  Sadly, it is here that our enemy the devil scores a tragic victory.  Let us take heed and be mindful of our desires!
  • Evil Company:  This is another powerful tool used by our enemy.  This is Satan's right tool for the job and he knows the importance of such tool.  It is here that our young must be careful and pay attention since evil company is one of Satan's best weapons or devices against them.  The devil knows how powerful this tool is, the pressure of one's peers.  It is good to remember Paul's warning to the Corinthians:  "Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals."  (I Cor. 15:33).  So, what is evil company?  It is merely the company that encourages to commit evil, sinful behavior.  Do not make the mistake of equating evil company with the company of strangers.  Why?  Because one might think of evil company as only those who are criminals, drug dealers, gang members, but such is not this case.  Evil company can take many forms such as friends, family, and even "religious" people!  And of course, those who we know that have the most influence on us.  It is sad, but many adopt the wicked and immoral behavior of our age from total strangers.  Let us be careful about the company we keep! Be wise.  Satan wants to lure us away from the path of righteousness.  Let this sink deep into your heart!
  • Vanity (Pride):  Another tool in Satan's toolkit of devices.  Vanity is the excessive pride of one's appearance and accomplishments.  In other words, vanity is a wicked form of self-centeredness.  It could easily be divided into two categories:  vanity of position and vanity of possession.  Vanity of position is primarily fed by conceit and arrogance.  Vanity of possession is fueled mainly by greed, covetousness, and carnal desires.  Surely, Satan knows how to use both against us.  In Genesis 3, the devil appealed to Eve's vanity of position by enticing her to be "like God" if she ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And when Eve "saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate."  You see, Eve's vanity of position was awakened and stimulated.  Moreover, the devil tried to use this kind of vanity against the Son of God to tempt Him in the wilderness.  It was vanity that led Judas to betray our Lord Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:14-15).   Vanity also directed Ananias and Saphira to lie and eventually to cause their death  (Acts 5).  Sadly, vanity has caused many to "stray from the faith" (I Tim. 6:10).  It was vanity that led many of the Pharisees, Sadducees, chief priests and elders to reject and dishonor Jesus (Rom. 1:21).  Vanity caused Diotrephes to seek to "have the pre-eminence among" other Christians (III John 1:9).   No wonder the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes wrote many times saying that "all is vanity"!
  • Ignorance:  Satan uses ignorance in his work against man since he does not want him to know God's Word that will set him free from the bondage of sin (John 8:32).  Indeed, ignorance is what keeps us captive from believing the Truth to set us free from sin.  Sadly, many people will be "destroyed for lack of knowledge" since they chose to reject it (Hosea 4:6).  Why then do you suppose the devil works so strenuously at snatching the Word, the Truth, away from man's heart?  In the parable of the sower in Luke 8:11 Jesus explains:
    • " The seed is the word of God" (Luke 8:11). 
    • "The birds of the air" who devoured the seed that "fell along the path " (Luke 8:5) represents the devil.
    • Who "comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12).

Satan's game is to steal away the seed of the Word of God before it can take root in the hearts of those who hear it.  The faster our adversary can do this, the easier his work becomes.  Therefore, it is crucial that we take heed to this warning and make a vigorous effort to guard and protect the Word of God against our adversary.  Likewise, we must hide God's Word in our heart that we might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).

It is tragic for one to be ignorant of the Word of God since he will not be able to defend the Truth and confront error or false teaching.  Alas, he will not even know the difference!   Consider what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church regarding such ignorance:  
"Awake to soberness righteously, and sin not; for some have no knowledge of God: I speak this to move you to shame."  (I Cor. 15:34).  
What a shame is the ignorance of the Word of God!!

  • Lies:  We all know that a lie is a false statement that is deliberately presented as being true.  But are we aware that it is a lie when our words are meant to deceive or give a mistaken impression?  Indeed, it is true, and Satan knows this better than any human being since "he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).  "There is no truth in him."  Satan lied to Even back in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3.  God had explicitly commanded man saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17).  In Genesis 3:4, Satan deliberately lied using a false statement saying, “You will not surely die.” You see, the devil was astute repeating God's exact words of warning but added one more word, the word NOT.  In like manner, the devil lied to our Lord Jesus by twisting the Word of God when he tried to tempt Jesus, the Son of God.  Notice what Satan said, "Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” (Matt. 4:5-6).   Satan misused and twisted the Word of God to tempt Christ and make Him sin!

Today, we are surrounded by many false teachers, purveyors of lies and false doctrines, who will do everything possible to misuse and twist the Word of God for their own purposes and conveniences "which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures."  (2 Peter 3:16).  And although they often appear to use Scriptures to back up their teachings, they are lying because they are not teaching the whole truth of God's Word.  They are deceiving because they are leaving the wrong impression, with their lies.  These false teachers (the devil's instruments of lies here on earth) are merely "untaught and unstable" people who distort God's infallible Word to their destruction.  Among our enemy's powerful tools, lies are among the most harmful!!

Undoubtedly, our adversary the devil uses five devices (desires, evil company, vanity, ignorance and lies) to lure us away from the path of righteousness.  If were are ignorant of all his devices, he will take advantage of us (II Cor. 2:11).  That is why it is vital that we arm ourselves well to "stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:11).  Satan’s most powerful tool is deceit.  He is truth-less, dishonest and fraudulent.  He has deceptive devices and wiles which he uses to trick us.  Indeed, he is very skilled in the art of deception, but we must equip ourselves with the whole armor of God to fight back!!


VII.  WHAT ARE THE DEVIL'S POWERS?

Satan is not omnipotent and is not all powerful, but that doesn't mean he is weak!  So what exactly are his powers?  The Bible tells us that he is the "god of this world," the lord of this earth, (II Cor. 4:4).  What does that mean?  It means that God has allowed him to rule this world but with limitations, and we surely see his evil ways in this world.  The book of Job illustrates this truth well. God allowed Satan to get his way and do as he pleased with Job but with limitations, conditions that Satan had to follow.  Satan is powerful enough to rule the earth. Even Jesus acknowledged this in Matthew 4 when the devil was tempting Him.  The devil offered our Lord Jesus all the kingdoms of this world if He would bow down and worship him.  Indeed, we see that Satan has power since he dared to offer Jesus all the kingdoms of this world to tempt Him.  If Satan didn't have any power, he would not have tempted the Son of God, and the Lord could have just rebuked him and said, "you don't have the power to give Me those kingdoms, Satan"!  But our Lord Jesus didn't say that, since He knew that Satan did have that power.  Jesus could have surrendered to Satan's temptation of accepting his offer and forget about dying on the cross for the redemption of mankind.  Jesus could have easily enjoyed this life as an earthly ruler and not have to endure the agony of crucifixion.  But Jesus did not give in to the devil's temptation.  He chose to die for our sins rather than to enjoy the pleasures of this world.  Jesus just said "NO" because He loved mankind and wanted to make accessible a way of salvation.  This moves me deeply!!

The Bible reveals that the devil is able to make suggestions in the hearts of men.  John 13:2 tells us, "During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him."  Isn't it scary that our adversary had the power to suggest thoughts into Judas' mind (heart)!  Indeed, this is how he deceives and tempts us today.  It is important to stress that just because the devil had the power to suggest ideas into the heart of Judas, Judas did not have to surrender or act upon that suggestion.  The same is true for us today!  We must become fully aware that although Satan can put sinful suggestions into our hearts, they are merely suggestions and we must not yield or give in.  We all have to face these illicit suggestions, but we must be wise about what to do with them.  We must choose wisely and meditate on the Word of God on what to do with those suggestions rather than make plans to do evil.  We must try to get those evil thoughts or suggestions out of our mind and not act upon them at all!

Satan also has the power to:
  • Pervert the Word of God (Genesis 3:1-4).  
  • He loves to instigate false doctrine (I Tim. 4:1-3).  
  • He corrupts our minds and loves to steer us away from the simplicity and purity of the Gospel of Christ, (II Corinthians 11:3).  
  • He hinders the success of the Gospel by putting obstacles in the way and making the Truth hard to understand.  He snatches the Truth away from man's heart, (Matt. 13:19).  
  • He fights us to defeat whatever progress the Word of God makes in us, (Eph. 6:12).  
  • He loves to blind the eyes of men to the truth of the Gospel by instilling doubt, keeping them from seeing the glory of our Lord Jesus, (II Cor. 4:4).  
  • He hinders many from coming to God in obedience through faith by enslaving them to sin, (Gal. 4:8). 
  • He tries to disable the effectiveness of the Word of God in us through confusion, discouragement, and despair, (II Cor. 4:8-9). 
  • He sows tares through false doctrine and false teachers to create disunity in the church, (Mt. 13:24-39; II Cor. 11:13-15). 
  • He leads many into embracing this false doctrine and compromising what is sound, (I Tim. 4:1-3).  
  • He persecutes those who want to live godly, (Rev. 2:10).   
  • He lays snares for men (II Tim. 2:26; I Tim. 3:7).  
  • He undermines the sanctity of the home (I Cor. 7:3-5).  
  • He hinders the work of God's servants (I Thess. 2:18).  
  • He portrays himself as an angel of light to deceive us (II Cor. 11:14).
Since Satan is powerful, it leads me to the following question:


VIII.   HOW CAN WE AS CHRISTIANS DEFEND OURSELVES AGAINST THIS POWERFUL ENEMY?

Consider the following suggestions from the Word of God that would help us to overcome our adversary the devil:


  • We must put on our battle armor:  We cannot afford to be naive about Satan's wicked devices.  Our conflict with him is a spiritual one indeed.  Therefore, we must consider his evil ways and be equipped with the whole armor of God to fight back.  Ephesians 6:10-18 provides us with a list of these protections and arms for battle:  
    • truth.
    • righteousness.
    • peace.
    • faith.
    • salvation
    • God's infallible Word and
    • prayer.  
If we put on this spiritual armor, we will be able to resist our adversary the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7).  How do you suppose our Lord and Savior overcame Satan's temptations in Matthew 4?  With the Word of God.  Jesus quoted Scripture on every occasion that Satan tempted Him.  Now, if you are ignorant of the Word of God, you will not be able to overcome Satan's wiles and temptations.  Most likely you will give in to his temptations since you don't know what God expects and demands of you.  When one does not know the Word of God, he won't completely know the difference between right and wrong.  Thus, one will be an easy target for Satan.  On the other hand, if one is fully saturated with the knowledge of the Word of God, taking courage to keep pressing on, Satan will have no chance to defeat us. I guarantee you that!!

  • We must remember that although God will allow Satan to tempt us, He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can endure, (I Cor. 10:13).  "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."  Remember this comforting promise always!  This verse also restates that man is responsible for his actions or choices.  God will never put us (Christians) in a position of temptation which we cannot handle.
  • We must remember that we have an advocate, Jesus Christ our Lord even though we have Satan as the "accuser of the brethren" (Rev. 12:10).  Jesus, our advocate, is standing with us, is pleading our case, is protecting us from all evil and is refusing to forsake us (I John 2:1).  How comforting are these words to my soul!!!  Our Savior understands well what it is like to be tempted by Satan since He Himself was tempted by the enemy.  Therefore, He is interceding for us (Hebrews 7:25).  He is on our side and wants to remain faithful to us if we are faithful to Him, walking in the Light "as He Himself is in the Light."  (I John 1:7)
  • We must never forget, that victory is within our grasp, and we must not let go.  Satan knows that he is going to lose at the end.  Therefore, let us make sure that we keep pressing on, and never give up when the way gets tough and wrong seems so strong.  Let us heed the Lord's words of advice, "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."  (Matt. 26:41).
So if we faithfully arm ourselves with these four Bible truths, we will surely overcome our adversary, the devil.


IX.  WHAT IS SATAN'S FINAL DESTINY?

On the Final Day of Judgment, the devil will be "thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."  (Rev. 20:10). Satan knows very well that he has no hope!  In Matthew 25:41 God foretold that Satan will be punished eternally in hell, a place prepared for him and his angels.  Of course, they won't be the only ones in that place of torment.  All those who refused to "know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might."   (II Thess. 1:8-9).

Therefore, let us live faithfully for the Lord, obeying His glorious gospel of grace.


CONCLUSION:
"Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom."  
All Christians are involved in combat with a powerful and deceptive enemy, and we must be alert.   The apostle Peter warns us about this big enemy in I Peter 5:8.  Therefore, we must stand firm and not let him intimidate us.  We must realize who our enemy is and learn his tactics of warfare.  He is dangerous!  We must acknowledge his power and devices.  He is a crafty snake!

Satan is the roaring lion encircling the flock to see if he can make the sheep stray away from the protection of the shepherd and the flock.  He is always prowling about, looking for an open door to attack us and discourage us.  His goal is to devour or destroy us.  Therefore, we must be watchful or vigilant and not be ignorant of his devices.

Today, many characterize Satan as a toothless lion that can only roar but cannot harm.  This is dangerous!  Because Satan does not intend just to scare us.  He means to destroy us and take us to the "lake of fire" with him.  Let us pay attention to the Bible warnings about him.  

Satan and his ministers of evil (those angels who rebelled against God) want to attack our faith and our desire to obey the Lord.  Our struggle is not fleshly but rather spiritual, against spiritual forces of wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:10).  Hence, we must put on our spiritual armor and stand firm to defeat him.  How do we resist him?   By submitting to God, drawing near to him and purifying our hearts with His Word (James 4:7-8).  

We must always consider that Satan is patient and not easily discouraged no matter how many times we turn him down.  He does not give up!  Remember what Luke 4:13 says, "And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time."  Satan attacked Jesus with various temptations during His time in the wilderness.  And although he was not successful, he certainly did not give up on Jesus.  He is back when another opportunity presents itself.  

Remember that Satan and his demons believe in God, heaven and hell.  Notice what James wrote:  "You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder."  (James 2:19).  They tremble because they know the eternal suffering that awaits them.  Satan is always working (day and night).  He knows his time is limited and that he has much to accomplish with his wicked plans.  We read of this in Job 1:7.

One of the most vital things we need to be aware of is that Satan knows God's Word.  He quoted it to our Lord Jesus in Luke 4.  He is not ignorant of the Scriptures (though it does not stop him from rebelling against God).  The devil knows God's Word well enough to quote them directly as we see in Genesis 3 when he tempted Eve adding the word "not" as in, "you will not surely die."  That is why it is crucial that we know the whole counsel of God by studying it so that we may know the will of God and not sin against Him.  We must know the whole Truth and not remain ignorant. We must combat evil and false teachings as well as obey God.  The devil is taking many souls with him into the lake of fire.  He uses his destructive devices and snares to draw man's soul to sin.  But God gives us all the  "defensive weapons" which are the Truth, Righteousness, the Gospel of Christ, our Faith and our Salvation.  Let's not leave out the "offensive weapons" which are the Sword of the Gospel and Prayer, (Eph. 6:11-18). These are the only measures of war that we can take to stand firmly against him and win.  

May we stand on a firm foundation of faith, the knowledge of God and His Word that we may be saved from Satan's wicked devices.  May we submit to God and resist the devil so that he will flee from us.  May we never surrender to Satan but rather dedicate our lives to God's service with zeal. May we be always vigilant with all prayer that we may not enter into temptation.  May we never forget that victory is within our grasp, and we must not let go.  


Luci