October 13, 2016
Satan. Lucifer. The Devil. The Old Serpent. The Father of Lies. Our adversary is known by many names, and all of those names denote evil. Should we ignore him? Certainly it’s wrong to listen to his lies or give him any type of respect. On the other hand, if we pretend he isn’t there that gives him an advantage over us. God’s word tells us about him so we can be wary and alert to avoid his traps. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:7-8. We can’t resist Satan if we don’t know his tactics; we can’t draw closer to God if we’re keeping company with Satan.
Satan’s downfall was his pride. He was a cherub created by God and according to Ezekiel he was a beautiful sight to behold. “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Ezekiel 28:13-15. God does not create evil, but out of His love for His creation He gives freedom to choose to follow Him. Lucifer made the wrong choice; his pride caused him to want to be like God. That’s impossible. Lucifer’s own choice caused him to fail and his hate makes him want to influence people to follow him rather than submit to God. In the verses that precede this passage of Scripture, God had directed Ezekiel to address the wicked king of Tyrus. He does but the message shifts to address the power behind that leader. Lucifer is named as the culprit. That fallen cherub was the evil influence behind the king of Tyrus, and in our world today there are many, many leaders of nations who are influenced by him. That includes the United States of America. Americans will soon make a decision as to who will lead this nation, Christians need to be in prayer. Until Jesus establishes His reign on earth there is no perfect man to lead us. Our vote needs to be for one who is not a criminal and who doesn’t embrace any satanic inspired agenda…one who stands behind Israel.
Satan is full of pride and full of lies. Throughout history he has tried to make sin look beautiful and appealing, but sin is ugly. Things of God are beautiful and satisfying, but the things of Satan (works of the flesh) will always leave you unsatisfied. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21. This is just one list of temptations that Satan uses to entice us to sin. I would strongly suggest that you look up the Biblical definition of each item listed. Then look up Romans 1:28-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and Colossians 3:5-6. Understand each item listed in these verses and know that it is Satan who wants you to participate in these activities. If you’re involved with any of these works of the flesh, ask God to forgive you and to help you to overcome them.
Satan has no grasp of reality because his pride has blinded him. He even thought he could tempt Jesus to fall for his lies. Just before Jesus began His ministry, He went into the wilderness. “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” Matthew 4:1. He spent 40 days and nights fasting, and that’s when Satan thought Jesus was weak enough to fall for his lies. Satan first challenged our Lord to prove He was the Son of God by turning stones into bread. “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.“Matthew 4:4 (He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3). Then Satan took Jesus up to a high pinnacle of the temple and challenged Him to prove He was the Son of God by jumping off so the angels would save Him. This time Satan even used Scripture (Psalm 91:11-12) to tempt Him. Satan twisted God’s words in the Garden of Eden to convince Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, and he was arrogant enough to think he could do it again with Jesus. “Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Matthew 4:7 (He quoted Deuteronomy 6:16). Finally Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would worship him. Pride is ugly and Satan is filled with it. “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10 (Deuteronomy 6:13 and Deuteronomy 10:20). Satan will try to twist Scripture to trap you in sin, but using Jesus as our example it’s easy to see that if you know God’s word you will not be duped into believing Satan’s lies. Study Scripture in order to stay on the path that is close to God. Just as Jesus used Scripture to confound Satan, so can we.
Cartoons try to show us a humorous picture of Satan. A little red being with horns and a pitchfork isn’t very scary, but the reality is that Satan is a supernatural being who is pure evil. He can’t be everywhere and has help in doing his evil works. Demon possession is real and is becoming more prevalent. Witchcraft is coming out into the open and Satan worship is invading our schools. Even mainstream news carries reports of demons, aliens, ghosts, and other paranormal activity. Laws are in place that legalize child sacrifice and God’s laws are being mocked by secular laws that condone immoral acts of homosexuality and transgender lifestyles (go back and re-read the lists of works of the flesh to understand that these things are sin). These sins are all inspired and encouraged by Satan and his minions. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12. Many Christians believe that the supernatural power of God working in us stopped in the first century. Many are also blind to Satan’s wiles. If you get into a deep study of God’s word you will understand that the supernatural power of our Almighty God has never stopped, and the evil supernatural power of Satan is no match for our Lord.
When you accept Christ for salvation your life probably won’t get easier as far as satanic attacks. Temptations will always be a problem, but the closer you walk with Jesus the easier it is to resist the temptation to fall back into sin. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5:16-17. Satan didn’t respect Jesus and tried to cause Him to stumble, so why wouldn’t he try to stumble humans? You need to choose to follow Christ, but without direction you might take a wrong path. Scripture is the guiding light to keep you from falling into the temptation of sin, and prayer will help you to understand and apply Scripture to your life.
Sin brings death and Satan wants everyone to die in sin rather than having faith in the saving grace of the blood sacrifice of Jesus at the cross. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. The spiritual battle is real, but Jesus Christ defeated Satan at the cross. “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:13-15. Sin makes us worthy of death…eternal death and separation from God. Jesus purchased our salvation, but He won’t force you to accept His gift. Satan accuses us and harasses us, but if you have heard the Good News that Christ defeated Satan at the cross, then you need to take the next step and accept His sacrifice as atonement for your sin. The gift of salvation is free, but if you don’t accept that gift you reject eternal life. The satanic principalities and powers still fight a very real unseen battle around you, but Satan and his minions are defeated.
Satan is real, and so is Hell…and so is the lake of fire. When a Christian dies they go directly to be with God because of the righteousness imparted by faith in Jesus Christ. Anyone who has chosen to reject the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for salvation will not “go to a better place” but will go to await judgment in Hell. When that judgment comes they will be judged by their own works and fall short of eternal life with Christ. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:12-15. You need to make your decision today. Admit that you are a sinner and need Jesus Christ for salvation. Your next heartbeat may be too late.
Through faith in Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit you are armed for battle. “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11.Study Scripture and use it to strengthen you to fight temptation. Pray for guidance and obey the Lord. The battle was decided at the cross. God won, Satan lost. Choose to live on the winning side. Place your faith in Jesus Christ.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.