An Antidote To The Devil’s Devices
Scripture reveals to us all that is necessary to make us wise unto salvation. The Word of God opens the eyes of our hearts, not so much to matters that can be apprehended by the right use of manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reason (though Scripture is supremely reasonable), but to matters that are beyond the grasp of reason alone, matters that are perceived by faith. Hence, we learn in Scripture about heaven and hell, about the attributes and actions of God, about manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sin, and about Satan. The Word of God communicates legitimately to us what our first parents attempted sinfully to attain, namely, the knowledge of good and evil.
While our God wants us not to be evil, He does want us to know about and understand the character and workings of evil. We are spiritually neither mature nor secure when we remain in ignorance of the devilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wiles. Hence, we do well to have a vital and right understanding of our great enemy, Satan. We should ever bear in mind that he is a liar and a murderer. All of his ways are deceptive; all of his works are destructive. Therefore, even when the demons declare the truth that Jesus is the Holy One of God, our Lord and His apostles command them to be silent (Mk. 1:24,25; Acts 16:16-18).
Satan is also revealed by Scripture to be an accuser. His accusations can be the most deceptive and destructive of his wiles. He accuses extensively, and when we fail rightly to perceive and deal with his accusations, we are greatly debilitated and demoralized in our Christian faith and practice.
Satan accuses each and every believer individually and personally. In some cases he fabricates charges against us, such as he did when he accused Job of being a hypocrite, when in fact the Lord had made and declared him to be righteous. But such fabricated charges are rare. The devilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ordinary raw materials for the formation of his accusations are abundantly available in our actual transgressions. There is plenty of truth spoken by Satan when he reminds us that we are sinners. Yet, when he neglects to include in his charges that we are sinners saved and kept for all time and eternity by the grace of God, he speaks neither the whole truth nor the truth lovingly delivered. Our response to such accusations should be that we run afresh into the Lord, who is our Advocate and strong high tower. Who can bring a charge against those whom the God of perfect holiness and justice, and immeasurable love and power has justified?
Satan also accuses our brethren in our sight. Here we have a powerful combination at work. For when the devil accuses another, he works to tear them down in our consideration, thus enlisting us as instruments of his destruction when, for example, we think wrong thoughts about our accused brethren and perform injurious deeds against them, such as our gossiping about them. Satan also intoxicates us with the conceit that we are superior to our supposedly sinning brethren.
An example of this sort of tactic is found in the way that some of the churches in which Paul had ministered turned against the apostle in his absence from them. The Galatians, who received Paul with gratitude and affection (Gal. 4:13-15), turned against him not because they discovered defects in him, but because satanically prompted Judaizers came to the Galatians in the apostleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s absence, and insinuated that PaulÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s person and doctrine were defective. The Corinthians similarly came to despise their spiritual father when demonically deluded super-apostles came to their church to flatter them and to flatten Paul.
The antidote to this form of satanic accusation is found in our LordÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s teaching about the speck and the log (Mt. 7:3-5). If we are tempted to consider anyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sins, let us determine to examine ourselves first, taking our own transgressions to the Lord, before we begin to think about anotherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s alleged sins. Also, we should ever exercise the judgment of charity with respect to others, while endeavoring to have an honest estimation of ourselves.
The most persistent and heinous of SatanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s accusations, however, are not aimed at sinful but redeemed men at all. Satan is preeminently the accuser of the Lord our God. The first words of Satan recorded in Scripture were delivered through a snake and accused God of being harsh and restrictive, small and envious, imperious and lying (Gen. 3:1-5). Satan labors to have us hold in contempt the love, power, and wisdom of God, twisting the Scriptures, as he did with the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (Mt. 4:6), and putting the most sinister construction on the providence of God, as he did with Asaph (Ps. 73). The devil contradicts the perfection of ChristÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s atonement, the reliability of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Word as recorded in Scripture, the blessed hope that we have of our LordÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s return and of our reigning eternally with Him in gloryÃ¢â‚¬”all of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s person, Word, and works.
We combat satanic accusations against the Lord by our close and consistent attendance upon the means of His grace. It is when we enter into the sanctuary of God that we apprehend the grace, glory, and love of God while perceiving the wiles of the devil. The nearness of our God is our good (Ps. 73:28), so let us cleave to Him by our faithful reading and hearing of His Word, as well as by our devoted and trusting dependence upon Him in prayer. Then we shall feed upon the truth and love of our faithful God, and not upon the soul-embittering ashes of SatanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s baseless and lying accusations.
William Harrell is the Pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Norfolk, Virginia
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