|Vol. 16 No. 4 April 2014||
At the very core of all sin is Satan! John penned, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning…” (1 John 3:8a). Since all humanity has sinned (Romans 3:10; 23), we are all somewhat familiar with the Devil. However, familiarity is often just enough to sink us spiritually deeper. As the old adage goes, “better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t.” Knowledge is powerful, especially when that knowledge concerns the one who has his sights set on your eternal soul. What can we know about the deceiver of the world?
Firstly, the deceiver’s derivation. Although the Bible does not directly address the derivation of Satan, there is, however, enough divine revelation from which we can draw a logical conclusion as to his origin. There is ample evidence from the Scriptures to affirm that Satan was originally an angel of light, but due to arrogance and pride (1 Timothy 3:6-7), he rebelled against God and fell (cf. Job 4:18; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:7ff). Satan, like every other part of God’s creation was very good (Genesis 1:31), but due to his poor choices, he became the deceiver of the whole world!
Secondly, the deceiver’s deception. It is fruitless for Satan to strike back at Deity, for the Devil knows he cannot win that battle. As Thompson suggests, “God’s power was too great, and His omnipotence too all-consuming (Job 42:2; 1 John 4:4). Another target was needed; another repository of satanic revenge would have to be found. And who better to serve as the recipient of hell’s unrighteous indignation than mankind—the only creature in the universe made “in the image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:26-27)?” (15). Thus, Satan has waged war on each and every accountable soul. He attempts to catch his prey (1 Timothy 3:7; 2 Timothy 2:26) by crouching secretly (Genesis 4:7), with cunning craftiness (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11), all the while waiting to consume them (1 Peter 5:8). Leach captured the deceptive nature of Satan when he wrote, “He is the great pretender and the first liar and hypocrite with special skills in deception.... No one escapes his trickery; every man knows something of deception. He will influence men to conceal or distort truth for the purpose of misleading, cheating and fraud. If he cannot overthrow truth he will neutralize it, water it down to dilute it” (14).
Lastly, the deceiver’s damnation. Fortunately, the deceiver of this world will not always be able to use his deception. The last book of the New Testament affirms that the destiny of this deceiver is eternal hellfire (Revelation 20:10). In fact, hell itself is “…prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41b). If the fact that the devil will be in hell does not give us greater zeal to avoid that terrible place, then surely nothing will.
Often when we think of Satan and his schemes we become discouraged. Although we currently stand on the battlefield of this tricky adversary, all is not lost! “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4, emp. added). Although we deal daily with the deceiver of this world, our Savior’s victorious resurrection assures that the devil’s power is limited (1 John 3:8; cf. Genesis 3:15). Hang on brethren, for the day is coming when Satan’s influence will end, faithful saints will be secure and the beauty of heaven will be enjoyed!
Leach, Virgil. Get Thee Behind Me Satan. Abilene: Quality, 1977.
Thompson, Bert. Satan- His Origin and Mission. Montgomery: Apologetics Press, 1999.
Jeremiah, the weeping prophet of old, saw a calloused, hard-hearted people. They had become so calloused that they no longer saw sin for what it really was. “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush…” (Jeremiah 6:15a). Blushing is good! It shows that our consciences have not been “seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2). The danger of becoming calloused and hardened to sin is ever present (Hebrews 3:13). In a world where sin is rampant, we must diligently guard against losing our ability to blush. What can we do in the midst of sin to guard against the sin of not blushing?
Firstly, we must respect the standard. If man becomes his own standard, then complete mayhem will be the result (cf. Judges 17:6; 21:25). “…it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23b). The standard of God’s Word is what determines what sin is (1 John 3:4; 5:17). When the standard is disdained and ignored, like is seemingly being done in the world today, then there is no sense of right or wrong. Morality is being determined by each individual. Blushing is almost unseen in society today because the standard is disrespected!
Secondly, we must take a stand. Sadly, sin’s presence often erodes our moral fortitude and courageous defense. Alexander Pope said it truthfully, “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, as, to be hated, needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, we first endure, then pity, then embrace.” Consider America today; due to the terrible ruling of Roe vs. Wade, there is an unborn child murdered every 20 seconds! Sadly, some Christians have stopped signing petitions, speaking out, writing letters and sending tear-filled prayers. In many cases, we have all but accepted this sinful atrocity. Many schools are now being flooded with condoms, “safe sex” education, evolution and ungodliness of every form, and many simply throw their defeated hands into the air and say, “What can we do?” Far too many congregations are becoming tolerant of the sin-filled lives of her members. We are never to conform (Romans 12:1-2); Christians are commissioned to reprove the darkness around them (Ephesians 5:11). We must take a stand today!
Thirdly, we must be willing to suffer. It takes little effort to drift downstream; however, it is when we swim against the current that troubles come. Some fail to blush because of the “persecution” that may come to them. Paul, a man fully aware of what persecution was like, affirmed, “…all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12; cf. Acts 14:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:3). Are we really willing to suffer for our Lord’s sake (Matthew 5:10-12)?
Sadly, this author believes that the lack of blushing in Jeremiah’s day is being seen in the world today as well. Sin that is unchecked will grow and flourish, and it will fill up society. It is time for those who hate sin to respect the standard, take a stand no matter what suffering it brings. Have our consciences been seared? Can we still blush?