Satan is relentless in his desire to diminish God’s glory. However, since he cannot touch God, he sets his sights on those bearing God’s image. But he has no power over God’s beloved children. They are united with Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, and they have nothing to fear in regards to the power of the evil one. The Holy Spirit is their shield and strength. Greater is the Spirit in them than the devil who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
In heaven, Lucifer promised more than he could deliver. He offered his fellow angels the opportunity to dethrone God and rule the universe as sovereigns. However, he had not the clout to make this happen. Lucifer and the demons were found out, excommunicated, and destined for an appointment with the Lake of Fire. Satan lied!
In the garden, in front of Adam and Eve, he twisted God’s truth and replaced it with his own. He offered them the opportunity to distrust God and follow his lead. He promised them they would be “just like God.” But again he oversold. Again he promised more than he could deliver. In the beginning, Satan lied!
And on, and on, and on, it goes. Jesus was personally targeted by the devil:
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” … 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.’ ” … Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” …. (Matthew 4:1-11)
The Master then warned Peter about Satan’s ploys:
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat …. (Luke 22:31)
Peter would warn his readers about the Antichrist:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Satan is relentless in his desire to diminish God’s glory. However, since he cannot touch God, he sets his sights on those bearing God’s image. But he has no power over God’s beloved children. They are united with Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, and they have nothing to fear in regards to the power of the evil one. The Holy Spirit is their shield and strength. Greater is the Spirit in them than the devil who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Christians are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus who loves them. (Romans 8:37) Martin Luther presented the believer’s position well in his famous hymn:
And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us. We will not fear for God has willed his truth to triumph through us. The Prince of Darkness grim. We tremble not for him. His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure. One little word shall fell him.
Satan has no power, but he can still lie, and lie he does. In the Apocalypse, the Apostle John presents Satan’s persistent job description:
Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. (Revelation 12:9-10)
He is relentless; night and day Satan never stops accusing the brothers. Night and day, Satan never stops telling lies about those identified with Christ. And what are the lies of Satan which we Christians are most inclined to believe? The following is a good short-list of Satan’s non-truths:
- God is not sovereign active in his lordship over absolutely everything.
- God provides full pardon for sins but he does not provide full righteousness.
- God graciously does his part and expects man to perform and earn his own righteous credit.
- God responds to his children with justice; he shows more favor to those more obedient.
- God is angry at at his perfectly justified saints who are imperfectly sinful.
- God has some measure of condemnation ahead for sinful believers.
- God requires some proof of repentance before fully reconciling with prodigals.
- God would have his preachers discount the Law.
- God would have his preachers be cautious in the presentation of grace; people could abuse this concept.
- God would have his children hide their sin less they mess up their Christian testimony and hinder his church’s growth.
Saints of God, you cannot be possessed by the devil, and the only oppression you can experience is that which your Heavenly Father deems is good for him and you. Regarding your inner space, the Holy Spirit does not time-share with your soul. Since God has taken title and residence in your heart, Satan is persona non grata. However he can and still does lie, and if you heed his propaganda, you will be temporarily dispossessed of your freedom and joy. Children of God, listen to your gracious Father. Read the Good News again. Tell it to yourself, and then tell it to your sinfully troubled brothers and sisters. It is by grace alone that we are saved and perfectly clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It is finished — our sin debt has been paid. It is finished — our righteous requirements have been met. All of Christ’s inheritance is ours. All of Christ’s holiness is ours. Do not give away your birthright to the devil. When God looks at us, he sees only the beauty of his holy Son, and it makes him smile.
Now rejoice! Respond with loving adoration! Sing a new song, raise your hands, and dance before your Father who is in heaven. And then, let’s have fun proving the lying legalists wrong. Let’s thrive in unadulterated grace and have fun seeking to keep the holy law of our loving God.
Joseph A. Franks IV is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina. This article first appeared on his blog, and is used with permission.