Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, warns them of the need of watchfulness, lest an unforgiving spirit creep in toward one in their midst who had committed a grievous sin, yet evidently had repented, and he adds this significant sentence: “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:10-11).
The fact that we have a very subtle, cunning foe, continually watching to trap or trip us, seems veiled to many. Ignorance of life in the natural has been the cause of the ruin of many a precious young life. “Forewarned is forearmed.” And spiritually, thousands of precious young lives for God are being led astray through the wiles of the devil. Their ignorance of his devices gives the enemy a tremendous advantage, of which he is not slow to avail himself.
Paul said he was not ignorant of Satan’s devices or maneuvers – his stratagem. Would to God that we could all say this with Paul. Yet we are in a day when many Christians seem to resent any attempt toward enlightenment. No wonder, then, that we see the work of the enemy triumphing in so many directions.
Has Satan any particular method of working? Are there any fundamental principles which he follows? We believe there are.
Turning back to his first appearance on this earth, we find him in the Garden of Eden working to destroy two things in our first parents. He struck at their faith and their love, or in other words at their trust and obedience, for trust is faith in action, and obedience is love in action.
James says that faith without works (or actions) is dead (Jas. 2:26). John tells us “This is love, that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3). The devil would destroy faith and love in the hearts of God’s children.
He first works to undermine our faith in the Word of God. “Yea, hath God said?” is still his maneuver (Gen. 3:1). He wants to make us believe that God doesn’t mean what He says – that we can set aside His will for us and live. He says, “Ye shall not surely die” (3:4). No wonder he is called a liar, and the father of lies (John 8:44).
Can we not see him working along the same line today? Is he not instilling, as deadly poison, the same thought in the minds of God’s children today? Was there ever a day when Christians felt they could live to suit themselves and still live eternally in Christ, as they do today? God’s Word is set aside. There is no thought of conforming the life to its teachings.
Yet these same folk tell us they are all ready for the coming of Christ, and expect to be caught away, to sit on His throne with Him. The works of the flesh are manifest in strifes, jealousies, hatred, variance, as well as some of the grosser sins of the flesh. There is no confession, no repentance, no turning away, no putting on the life of Christ, which is the life of love, spoken on in First Corinthians 13. There is no humility of spirit, but pride and unteachableness – the self-life rampant. There is no walk of faith, trusting Him to be made unto us all that we so need.
They are filling up the picture of Revelation 3:17 (wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked) yet wholly unconscious of that spiritual destitution and nakedness. Surely, the devil and all his imps are having a great laugh at our blindness and presumption, in view of the actual conditions.
Having accomplished his purpose of shattering the faith of our first parents, he easily leads them on to disobedience, for if God’s Word is not true that sin brings death, then why not enjoy ourselves and do the things which please the flesh? And they took, and ate, and humanity has been taking and eating ever since, blinded by the wiles of the devil, forgetting that “he that sows to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption” (Gal. 6:8). He makes them think they can sow to the flesh and reap life eternal. Satan is still the deceiver, and still true to his calling.
What shall we do, in face of all this? Thank God, there is a way out if we are willing to take it. Through Christ, the faith and love lost in the Garden of Eden can be restored. He is the way, the truth, the life, and we can come back to the Father, through Him.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon