“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
Now, I’m sure you may say, why talk about the devil? Wouldn’t it be better to ignore him? Doesn’t he prefer that we get preoccupied with him instead of with Jesus? Yes, he would prefer that. But he’s a great extremist. And there’s something even better than preoccupation.
But as Paul said, we are not ignorant of his devices – of his plots. If we are ignorant of the way he operates he will get the advantage over us to our great loss. Many Christians are defeated today because they are ignorant and try to go through life like tourists on a holiday instead of a combatant in a hot war. What are his devices?
Weapon number one is his deceit. From the very beginning in Genesis 3 when he said, “You will not surely die.” All the way through to Revelation 20, when Satan, who deceives the whole world, is released from his millennial prison to deceive the nations that are in the four corners of the Earth. His great weapon is the lie. With a lie he blinds people to the truth. And when they’ are blind, he binds them firmly with that lie. He is a cosmic con artist. The final flim-flam. A liar.
2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “He blinds in order to bind,”…. in order to control, says the god of this world, the controller of this world. That’s one of his most common titles in Scripture, the prince of this world, the god of this world. His power is in the lie. With what lies does he blind and bind?
Consider the non-Christian. It’s easier for us to see his lies in the life of the non-Christian because we have been freed by the truth and we can see. The first lie of the enemy is there is no God. Have you ever contemplated what would happen to the Bible? Then what would happen to salvation if there is no God. The Bible is a hodgepodge of useless if not harmful myths. “Sin is ultimately non-existent. And therefore, salvation is superfluous. God, there is no God, and they are blinded to the truth that, “in the beginning God” and this is the truth that gives meaning to the written word and gives life through the living Word.
But there’s another lie for those who would say, “Oh yes, there’s a God, and that God is irrelevant.” Did you work with people who are unconverted? One lie or the other will be their blindness; God is irrelevant. Now the classical philosophical construction of this was that God is distant and uninvolved. He actually created a master mechanism, which we call the universe. He wound it and he let it go.
Many of the founding fathers of our Republic were deists. And they say that God is irrelevant because he’s concerned only with matters that are irrelevant to me. And therefore, he could be ignored without harm. Actually, this is the official position of our government. And the predominant position of our culture, education, media, arts, science. God is irrelevant. Deists are blind to the truth that “in Him we live and move and have our being.”
The second great lie is there is no God. Many people don’t buy that, and so there’s a third lie. And that is God is a Santa Claus. He’s too good to punish anyone. Especially me. Now there’s an evangelical aberration on this lie of the enemy. It goes like this because of God sovereign grace, there is no need to repent, just believe and acknowledge that He is the Savior. Just acknowledge that you’ve gone wrong; this is not a harmless innovation.
Another common lie is come to Jesus and you’ll be healthy, you’ll be affluent, you’ll be trouble free. It’s all part of this idea that God is a Santa Claus. This position, held by earnest, intelligent, believing scholars, is a lie of the devil. I guess the same way the Lord Jesus could say to the chief theologian and churchman Peter “get behind me, Satan.” Not because Peter was filled with Satan or possessed by Satan, or was consciously giving himself over to Satan, but because he told a lie. It was a terrible notion. It could be used of the enemy to deflect Christ from going to the cross. That’s why it’s such a fearful thing.
And there are those that say, Oh no, I know that God is not a Santa Claus. In fact, God is so holy that there is no hope for me, and that’s the fourth lie. There is no hope. I’m too bad to be forgiven. Or I’m too weak to get my act together so that God could accept me. Sometimes a person means God is so cruel or God is so mean, but it would not do to say that, so we say there is no hope. Which lie impacts your life? What will you do about it? What truth do you need to believe?
Truth that sets a person free is John 3:16 “… for God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should be freed, set free from the body, should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. “