Return to:

Satan’s Devices

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 2:8-11; Text: 2 Corinthians 2:10-11

"To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgive any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices" (2 Corinthians 2:10-11).

The Christian has many enemies in this world. At times they oppose the church collective, while at other times the resistence comes against us individually. Those of us who love democracy, are constantly threatened by enemies within and abroad. If we love that which is good, we battle those who promote evil. The list of enemies could go on and on. Yet there is one enemy who is often unrecognized, for he constantly disguises himself. The enemy to which I refer, is an enemy of the soul and he is our chief adversary. Peter said, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may destroy" (1 Peter 5:8). Here Peter has identified our enemy, referring to him as the devil. According to Revelation 12:9, the devil and satan are one and the same being. He is set for the destruction of our souls and seeks to devour us like a hungry lion devours its prey. In addition to the warnings of Peter, Paul called our attention to the fact that satan will also take advantage of us.

Satan takes advantage of us through the many devices which are at this disposal. The sad fact is that many are ignorant of his devices, some even ignoring the existence of the devil. If a person does not believe that he exists, obviously, they will not make an effort to resist him. Those who accept the teachings of the Bible with regard to satan's presence, must then guard themselves by becoming better informed about his devices. The reassurance which Peter gives is simply this, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

Obviously, there are many people who do not resist satan. They yield to his temptations and live their lives in a manner that pleases him. Often they do not even recognize that they are yielding their lives to his control, because he comes as he did in the Garden of Eden, in a most subtle way (Genesis 3:1). Satan is a crafty being; he does not appear ugly and evil, but transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Therefore many who follow his sinful ways, have become so completely deceived, that they do not recognize their wrong doing. Satan has certainly taken advantage of such people.

Satan takes advantage of people in a variety of ways. Sometimes he gently leads into temptation, while at other times, he violently opposes our good endeavors. He is also said to hurl fiery darts at us (Ephesians 6:11). Regardless of how he comes, Paul warns us not to allow satan to take advantage of us, and he also informs us that our best protection is to be properly informed about his devices. The better we understand satan's tactics, the more successfully we can guard ourselves against them. Because satan confronts the saints in many different ways, Paul referred to his devices (plural). Satan certainly has far more devices than I can detect or declare; however, there are three that I shall present for your consideration. These devices are as follows: (1) deception, (2) dilution and (3) doubt.

Let us look at these devices by first considering the oldest and most widespread device, deception. Shortly after the world was divinely created, satan tempted Eve. The purpose of that temptation was simple, he wanted her to break the commandment which God had given to Adam. Genesis 2:16-17 states both the commandment and a warning, if it was violated! "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Satan wanted Adam to break God's law and he took advantage of him through Eve. He also wants us to break God's laws and he will use any avenue available to deceive us. In order for satan to get Adam to sin, he deceived Eve. He deceived her by saying "Ye shall not surely die" (Genesis 3:4). Because of that act of deception, Jesus called him a liar saying, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44). Throughout the ages satan has continued his deceptions. I believe that he lied to our Saviour as he tried to deceive Him. Satan took Jesus "up into an exceeding high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And said unto him, all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me" (Matthew 4:8-9). Even if all the kingdoms of this world were satan's to give, he would not have done so; he only intended to deceive. Jesus was not deceived, for He knew the truth which He so powerfully stated when He responded "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve"(Matthew 4:10). If only people knew more about the teachings of the Bible, they would not be so easily deceived.

Even though a knowledge of scripture reduces our probability of being deceived, it does not preclude that no deception can take place. Remember that Eve knew what God said, yet she believed satan, even though he contradicted God. The sad reality is that we believe what we want to believe. I have known professed Christians to commit sins they knew the Bible clearly condemned, but somehow satan deceived them in believing they were an exception to that rule. Some have known that God warned against a strong love for money (1 Timothy 6:10) but they grow to love it so much they disobey God and become dishonest. Others choose to ignore the warning with regard to alcohol or other addictive drugs. Rather than trusting God, they rely upon them hoping to solve their problems, only to discover that their solution became their problem. Why do people insist on ignoring the teachings of the Bible? One answer is obvious, satan’s deception.

We may at times, be deceived by other people, as Paul cautioned in Ephesians 5:6. He said, "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." At other times we may even be guilty of self-deception. James wrote, "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22). If we choose to ignore and disobey God, it seems that deception in some form has already taken place. Remember that deception in its various forms, all originated with satan. He is at work today deceiving the whole world (Revelation 12:9). Even now many are being deceived into believing that the Bible is not inerrant. Satan wants you to think that this world was not divinely created, but evolved instead. He loves it when theologians deny the miracles of the Bible, preachers fail to preach the sovereign saving grace of God and mortals refuse the Bible as a guide for daily living. He deceives, that he might rob us of peace and steal away the joy of our hearts. Satan will surely do so to you, unless you are extremely careful to guard against his devise of deception.

The second device which Satan frequently uses is dilution. To dilute a substance means that its strength has been weakened by the addition of something less potent. Some medicines must be diluted with water, milk or juices. There are cleaning chemicals and insecticides that are too strong in their pure form, for they have been made with dilution in mind and directions are given with regard to the additives and their amounts. Since we are familiar with dilution within the natural realm, let us now apply that principle to the spiritual in order to understand this second device of satan.

There are some people who are well enough informed about the scriptures, that satan cannot completely deceive them. Since his first device of deception cannot be successfully employed alone, he adds to it dilution. What he does is this, he mixes error with truth to create half-truths. Half-truths are not as easily recognized as are lies. When God said," Thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:17) and Satan later said "Ye shall not surely die" (Genesis 3:4), those who know and believe the truth of God are able to easily recognize satan's lie. But almost immediately satan added the device of dilution in tempting mother Eve. First he used a lie, then added some truth to make it plausible. He added, "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). There were many truths in that statement, even though the father of lies spoke it. It is true that God had a knowledge of what would happen and it was also true that their eyes would be opened to perceive both good and evil. Until then, there was no evil to perceive; it would happen as they fell into sin. Then, their eyes were opened, as saran had said (Genesis 3:7).

He had successfully used the device of dilution by mixing in enough truth to hide the error. Satan also tried to use this device in His temptations of Christ. He carried Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple in the holy city of Jerusalem. There he tempted Jesus saying, "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down"; then satan immediately added some scripture, saying, "for it is written, he shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone" (Matthew 4:6). Satan quoted from Psalm 91:11-12 and I believe that he intentionally left out the statement “to keep thee in all thy ways." He knew that the scripture truth was right, but the application of truth was wrong. Jesus responded by saying "It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" (Matthew 4:7). Therefore, we must not only believe the scriptures, but be careful in our efforts to understand their meaning. Only when we “rightly divide” the truth (2 Timothy 2:15), can we rightly apply it. Some who cannot be deceived into ignoring the teachings of the Bible, are deceived by having them diluted with error, which satan freely and willingly gives.

Most likely, satan has a greater knowledge of the letter of the word, than the majority of professed Christians. He may consent to the letter of it, then mislead people to misunderstand the spirit of the word. Satan knows that he can take the correct letter of the word and dilute minds with an enormous spirit or application, and thereby effectively use the device of dilution. An example of this is Revelation 3:20, which says, "Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Satan tries to rob God of glory, by the wrong use of this verse. Have you ever heard it explained this way, "Jesus stands knocking at the door of your heart, knocking, wanting to come in and save you. If you will open the door of your heart, He will come into you and save you." My understanding of the scripture is vastly different from the erroneous interpretation I have just quoted. First of all, salvation is not the subject under consideration. Second, the door was not the door of the heart, it was a church. The truth is that God has the power to open hearts, as evident from Acts 16:14. There the Bible tells us that He opened Lydia’s heart. Third, the Lord was not seeking to come into (one word) a heart, but in to (two words) a church for fellowship. Churches as bodies of saints, already saved by grace; enjoy fellowship with Jesus as they have a desire to do so. Thus Revelation 3:20, diluted with error, presents the sovereign Son of God as weak and unable to save those He desires. Rightly applied, encourages the saved to seek the fellowship of Jesus and thereby be edified.

Not only does satan dilute the truth to rob us of joy and peace, but it should be said, that he also robs the saints of truth and thereby impedes their spiritual progress. If he can dilute the truth, he may even convince us that it is not important enough to demand our complete and undivided attention. "Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian " (Acts 26:28). Satan probably admitted to Agrippa that what Paul said was right, just not right for him. How many times do you suppose satan whispers, "It is in the Bible, but it doesn't apply to you." Another example of this dilution is when Peter followed Jesus afar off (Luke 22:54). Perhaps Peter recalled the words of Jesus, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24), but I can almost hear satan respond, "Sure He said that, but don't follow too close or they will arrest you too." When Ananias and his wife Sapphira brought only part of what they had promised, it was likely satan who told them they were giving too much (Acts 5:1-2). Many know they should attend church (Hebrews 10:25), but satan tells them Sunday morning twice a month is enough. The Bible calls upon believers to be baptized (Acts 2:38) but satan convinces many that they don't need it, because they are better than some who have been baptized - so why? Again and again satan uses the device of dilution and multitudes remain ignorant of his devices.

Thirdly, satan uses the device of doubt. As with the two previously mentioned devices, he also used this device in the Garden of Eden. He cast doubt against the integrity of God by accusing God of having a selfish motive, when He gave His commandment. Doubt evidently crept into the mind of Eve and remained there long enough for sin to enter. Since it worked so well on Eve, satan also tried it on Jesus. He had tried the other two devices, why not this one as well? Twice satan cast doubt, saying to Jesus, "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread ... If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down" (Matthew 4:3 & 6). Satan even used the voices of others to cast doubt while Jesus was on the cross. They said, "If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross" (Matthew 27:40). I feel sure that satan also cast doubt into the mind of Job. Can't you hear him say, "Job, if God really appreciates your good life, why is he allowing all this evil to come upon you?" Satan continues to cast doubt against millions of suffering saints. He causes them to doubt the love of God because they are sick or racked with pain. He cast doubts about the value of serving God because troubles touch the lives of the faithful and indifferent alike. What he does not know is that we are not serving God to buy His favors, we are doing it because we love Him that much. We do not want others to doubt our love for them and neither should we doubt His love for us. He proved it once and for all times! "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). He loves us amidst all life's trials even as He loved Lazarus when he was sick (John 11:5-6), so don't allow satan to cause you to doubt God's love. Remember that satan will use the device of doubt on you, if you let him; but I admonish you to trust God and believe His promises.

In closing, we need to recognize that these devices of satan have been around for a long, long time. Satan has much practice in the skillful use of them, for he has used them against so many. He has not only already used them against us, but I am confident that he will continue to do so. When he does, think about these words, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). We are not now ignorant of satan’s devices of deception, dilution and doubt. Thank God, there is something we can do to defend ourselves against them. James tells us the secret, "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). The closer we live to God, the easier it will be to resist temptation and overcome satan's devices. Don't let satan get the advantage, but rather yield yourself to Jesus as an instrument of righteousness (Romans 6:13). Oppose satan by warning others of his devices and encourage them to serve Christ, our Lord.

Jesus is the Son of God and the only Saviour of sinners. Peter said, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). His name is exalted above all others, because He is so great and glorious. He is worthy of our deepest love and devotion; therefore, let us become good soldiers by following our Captain (Hebrews 2:10) and fight unceasingly against satan and his devices. The more profound our love for Jesus, the more profusely we battle His enemy and ours. Our Lord overcame the devices of satan and gained the victory over death and the grave. He gave us the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57) and even now is bestowing the necessary grace for us to overcome the devices of satan (2 Corinthians 12:9). Guided by His perfect example, let us give to Jesus all praise, glory and honor. Amen.

Return to:

Copyright © 2014 Light From God's Word. All Rights Reserved.
This page last updated on June 7, 2014