When the Accusing Deceiver Speaks
Psst. Hey. Remember when you used to be addicted to pornography? Sure, you confessed it and it’s been a couple years since you looked at it, but you spent like most of your life using it. Every time your wife went out, after she went to bed, in the evenings, whenever you could. You still want to look don’t you? You are sick. Worthless. Adulterer. Sinner. How could God really love you? Would God really forgive you?
Psst. Hey. Remember when you used to drink 8 beers a night and gamble playing poker? Sure you are sober now, but you gave up so much of your life to alcohol. Evenings drunk, mornings hungover, all day thinking about the next drink… And even though it’s been years, you still want to get drunk. Don’t you? Drunkard. Worthless. Useless. Sinner. How could God really love you? Would God really forgive you?
Psst. Hey. Remember when you cheated your clients out of money? Thief. Lover of money. Worthless. Useless. Sinner. How could God really love you? Would God really forgive you?
Psst. Hey. Remember when you…cheated, robbed, stole, gambled, wandered, slandered, lied…
Satan is the accuser. One of his tactics is to bring up your past sins and make you relive the guilt and shame. He is the father of gossipers. He wants us to doubt our salvation. He hates us and wants to destroy the church. He may speak through your own thoughts and memories of your past sin, bringing up feelings of guilt and doubt. Or he may focus on a period of stumbling right now, and cause you doubt if the Holy Spirit is working in you. Or he may even speak through the accusations of other people, “I can’t believe that HE has a blog about living a Christian life! Did you hear what he did…”
And the accusations are like the fiery breath flaring from a dragon’s nostrils intent on destroying us.
Not only does he breathe out fiery accusations, but he also hisses deceit as the serpent in the garden. He is the father of lies. He is the father of slanderers and liars. The really scary thing is that his deceit is often veiled in a twisted version of the truth. He does not come to us like Smaug from the Hobbit, screaming, “I am fire, I am death!” No he is much more subtle.Slithering amongst the goodness of the garden, he tricked Eve by telling her that she would become like God knowing good and evil if she ate the fruit. It was a half truth aimed at destroying her…thank God for Genesis 3:15!
We also see that Satan knows the Bible very well, and he uses it against us in an effort to destroy our faith. We read that when he tempted the Lord Jesus, he actually argued from Scripture in an effort to destroy Jesus! He said, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written: He will give his angels charge of you.” That seems crazy, doesn’t it? That Satan would tempt the Son of God using the Word of God? But if history and scripture teach us anything about Satan, it is that rarely will he try to persuade us that the Bible is false; he is too cunning for that. Rather, he often tries to destroy our faith by using a biblical text and using it to lead us astray in some way.
Satan knows that as Christians we obtain life through the Word; so if he is not able to persuade us to stop eating, then he will do his best to poison our food. He knows that the Word of God is our sustenance. So he studies it, he memorizes it, and he uses it against us through slightly twisted misinterpretations that come across as believable truth. Think about it. He actually quoted Psalm 91:11 to Jesus in an effort to trick him!
Do we think we are above Jesus?
We are not (in case you didn’t know).
What makes Satan really happy is when he can get Christians to believe twisted half truths from scripture that will destroy our faith. For instance, and especially applicable today, Satan loves it when Christians believe that 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 and other passages teach the prosperity gospel or a health and wealth message. He loves it when our focus is shifted off of the cross and Jesus to our wallets or ourselves.
I hope that you are not given to the falsehood of prosperity. Perhaps you are more sound in your doctrine…perhaps, like me, you are Reformed and have a very high view of scripture… perhaps Satan might tempt us to believe twisted things that are closer to actual biblical doctrines. Maybe he is telling us that Romans 9:14-18 makes evangelism unnecessary because God is sovereign in all things. Have you ever thought that evangelism was unnecessary for this reason? Perhaps Satan twists Ephesians 5 and tempts us to believe that women are inferior to men, and that submission means that men have a God given right to abuse their wives with a crooked hyper-headship and that a wife is to serve her husband like a slave serves her master. Or perhaps Satan will tempt a Christian to continue in sin and not fight against it… because well God will forgive you anyway. Go on, give in to your favourite sin, look at that porn, it’s not really cheating, get drunk, God made the grapes, he will forgive you… John 10:28-30 says it’ll be ok!
So how do we fight against Satan’s accusations and deceit?
We fight fire with fire…or in this case, we fight twisted scripture with the true Word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit as it says in Ephesians 6. It is the weapon Jesus used when He responded to Satan, “Again it is written, you shall not test the Lord your God.” The Word of God is our Weapon of choice. It is the sword of the Spirit. It is the only weapon that we can wield against Satan, so we best learn how to handle it in battle. And it is through our belief in the gospel and our firm confidence in Jesus Christ that we can stand secure in the face of Satan’s lies and accusations. And it is by the truth of the word of God that we can expose and destroy the deceptions of the Deceiver.
Satan is real, and he is intent on burning us alive with accusations and destroying us through deception. Satan’s end game is the destruction of the Church. And even if Satan manages to cause strife and pain in our lives, even if we are martyred for our faith, the salvation and the power and the kingdom and the glory all belong to God and to Jesus our King. In pain, in strife, even in death we shall overcome Satan, as it states in Revelation, “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony…” In the end, Satan cannot have us if God is resolved to hold us. What a great comfort in the midst of this broken world. Satan may be accusing us before the throne of God, but Jesus is there as well, mediating for us. When Satan accuses us of sin, “He is an adulterer, a drunkard, a sinner…” Jesus responds, “I bore those sins in my body on the cross. I paid for his life, he belongs to me.”
So don’t listen to that accusing liar. Look to Jesus as he is revealed in the Word, grab the sword of the Spirit, and pick it up! Learn how to wield it as a warrior and strike the Deceiver with it.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” ~ Romans 8:37-39