How well do we really understand who or what the devil is? I’ve tried to wrap my mind around this topic, and honestly, I can’t. I’m sure there are those who have some grasp on Satan, the devil, the serpent, or whatever you’d call him, but as for me, I think there are things we are not meant to delve into very deeply. I think this might be one of those things.
Even so, in this article, we will consider briefly who Satan is, then we will move on to what we can and should know about him, where our focus should be, how he might accuse us, and how to deal with the accusations.
How Much Should We Really Know About Satan?
Knowledge can quickly become a path towards pride, vanity, and ungodliness, but there are many things God wants us to know. We know that God is the creator of all things, both good and evil.1 We know that all things are created for His purposes and pleasure.2 We know that God is sovereign, meaning He is in control of all things.3 We know that the purpose of the creation is to raise up children of God.4
With these things in mind, I think it’s reasonable to consider that some ideas we have about Satan might be wrong. I do not see Satan and evil as a force that is acting independently of God – meaning, there is no cosmic battle between good and evil because both are created and used by God for His purpose. There is a kind of battle though, but it is going as God ordains and plans. God Himself is not wrestling with the devil, though we do5.
Though I believe that God created Satan and evil, I do not believe that God Himself does any evil but only good. That needs to be said.
I know this is not really the topic of this article, but before we can talk about The Accuser, we would naturally have questions about this. First, maybe we can learn something by considering what the various names for Satan mean.
Satan means “the adversary.”
Devil means “slanderer or false accuser.”
This being is also called a serpent and a dragon, the prince of this world, and the prince of the power of the air. Many are also familiar with Lucifer, which tradition considers to be a fallen angel. I take that to be a futuristic being and event related to the coming of antichrist, however, that point is not important right now.
Regardless, we do know some things, right? We know that Satan is at least a kind of evil force that opposes mankind, tempts and deceives us, and accuses us before God.6 We know there are evil spirits in this world such as the spirit of antichrist and the spirits of devils.7 We know that our flesh nature makes us prone to going after evil instead of good.8
We also know that there are spirits of God,9 the Holy Spirit, and angels of God. Of course, we know about Jesus. We know that belief in Jesus will lead us on a path that overcomes this world and the devices of the devil.10 If you believe as I do, then you also believe that Jesus came to change us from a sinful nature to a righteous nature by writing the laws of God and His righteousness in our hearts, freeing us from Satan’s present kingdom in this world11
If we believe that God is in control of all things including good and evil, if we believe that there is an evil that rules us in this present world and belief in Jesus will lead to freedom from that evil, then how much more do we really need to know?
Focusing on God is Better Than Worrying About the Devil
There are many out there who delve into dark things and teach lies that can become a dangerous and harmful distraction. Instead of worrying about who Satan is and how this all works, it is best to place our focus on the gospel of the kingdom of God. We know enough about Satan. We live in this “fallen world” after-all, don’t we? We know suffering because of sin, don’t we?
We are told that “if our eye is single, our whole body will be full of light.” We need to focus on the kingdom of God more and the kingdom of this world less, and in doing so, we will overcome Satan and his devices—whether as Satan (the adversary), the Devil (slanderer/accuser) or Lucifer (the end-times Antichrist, in my belief).
Part of that overcoming is having a change of heart so that we are no longer vessels used by forces of evil and darkness, but rather we become vessels of light and life fit for the kingdom of God.12 Vessels fit for the kingdom of this present wicked world will perish. Faith in Jesus is the only path to a real transformation in this regard.
When we place our faith in the sacrifice of the Son of God and the promises of the gospel of the kingdom, there is no room given to The Accuser. If we are pressing forward in faith and seeking to overcome sin so that we are “wise virgins,” and “faithful servants,” then the blood of Jesus covers our sins as we make mistakes along the way.
Satan is Ultimately Used for Our Good?
If we are not living righteously, we are not walking after the Spirit but the flesh, and we are fair game for Satan who was placed in the creation to oppose us in the flesh. However, God uses our weakness and the attacks of the devil for our ultimate good, growing our faith and strength of spirit. Satan is not something to be feared, yet, he is something to overcome if we want to be residents of God’s kingdom instead of perishing when the present kingdom and the “prince of this world” are cast into the lake of fire.
It is my belief that all things come together for the good of those who God is raising up for His purposes,13 including Satan, devils, and the like. How is that? There is not a whole lot I can say about it, but I do trust in the wisdom of God, and this is the way He deemed it best to raise us up. I can attest to my own experience and how I’ve been thankful for the lessons learned through living a sinful past, struggling with sin, then finding freedom in Jesus (which I continue to pursue). Perhaps it is a kind of training that will prepare us for tasks we do not yet know about. How much more might eternity hold for us?
What Is Given Us to Know About The Accuser
All this being said, I do want to touch on the questions I posed in the prologue article to this series, so here goes:
What can we learn from the scriptures about Satan’s roll as The Accuser?
In the bible, I found two cases in which Satan is specifically acting in an accusatory role in which he accuses someone before God directly instead of through man or some other means.
One is found in the book of Job. See Chapter 1 verses 6-12:
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”
Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? “Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. “But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.”
If you’re familiar with this story, Job passed the test, so to speak. Even after everything was taken from him, he remained faithful and humble before God. How much can we learn from “the patience of Job?”
Another instance is in Zechariah Chapter 3:
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
“Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.
And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.
And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.
And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying,
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.”
Here, we see Satan again accusing a servant of God, and the Lord rebuked Satan. We also see an image that pertains to us today as Christians when he took away Joshua’s filthy garments, caused his iniquity to pass away, and gave him a change of clothing. We also see that after this was done, the Lord told Joshua to “walk in my ways” and “keep my charge.”
As Christians, we too are given new cloths and told to walk according to the commandment of God given by Jesus Christ. We should never forget that salvation is forgiveness, yes, but it is more. It is a new nature and a command to walk in the things of God by the power of Jesus changing our nature from corruptible to incorruptible.
Do you know of any other examples in which Satan accuses someone directly before God? If you do, please leave a comment.
What are Satan’s tactics for accusing us?
One of Satan’s best ways to accuse us is by acting through mankind. Consider your own self. How often have you jumped to conclusions about someone? How often have you accused someone falsely, either in your mind or openly? I think it’s safe to assume that most of us have done this. I’ll get to this more and how we deal with this particular issue in another article.
Generally speaking however, there are some things that come to mind here. Perhaps Satan uses our sin to accuse us before God. Perhaps he creates lies between individuals or groups – either in simple terms or in mass-scale in order to create chaos and division. Perhaps he accuses us individually, causing us to give into feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and doubt.
We know that Satan kills, steals, and destroys. So, consider all the ways in which slander in general within this world might cause death and destruction—in small ways and in great ways.
This is mostly meant to get us thinking about this so that we might become more aware of attacks by Satan as The Accuser so we might resist and seek Jesus for strength and guidance. I don’t pose these ideas and questions as matter of doctrine, but to help us get in a frame of mind that’s ready to stand against the many forms of false accusation we might encounter—especially from within our own minds.
What is God’s purpose for this, and how does He interact with The Accuser?
When it comes to stating God’s purposes, we should approach with caution. Who can know the mind of God, right? The only purpose I know of that is made clear is the purpose for the creation, which is to bring forth the sons of God. Within this, we know that Satan is a created being. Therefore, we can conclude that on some level, Satan is used as part of God’s plan to raise up sons.
How exactly this works however, is another issue. We know that those who do not believe in Jesus will be accused before God and are cast into the lake of fire. However, that’s a matter of not being written in the book of life and not having Jesus confess our name before God and His angels.
I’m not really clear on how The Accuser fits in with God’s purposes for His sons other than to act as an opponent that strengthens us in the faith by having our faith tested through his accusations—among his other tactics for opposing us.
As for the way in which God deals with this, we can get some idea from looking at examples like those written above. If we are Christians, God will rebuke Satan because we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The blood of the lamb of God protects us from the accusations made by The Accuser so long as we continue in the faith.
How does the blood of Jesus overcome The Accuser?
It bears repeating that as Christians, instead of worrying about Satan and what he’s up to in this world, it’s more important and productive to focus on Jesus and the gospel of the kingdom of God. When we keep focused on the faith and living a righteous life, the blood of Jesus covers our sins so that Satan has no power to accuse us.
James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Remember, Jesus said he did not come to this world to condemn the world, but the world was condemned already because of unbelief. Faith in Jesus who is the perfect lamb of God that was sacrificed for the remission of sin is the one and only way to overcome The Accuser.
God ordained from the beginning that the punishment for sin is death. He has also ordained that the only escape from this death is His Son, Jesus. There is absolutely no other way we can avoid eternal condemnation other than placing our faith in Jesus alone.
When The Accuser is let loose on this earth and is no longer restrained, in order to make accusations that lead to condemnation, who do you suppose he will go after? We see this already. It seems like just about any belief other than Jesus alone as the way to God is acceptable. Don’t be fooled by “the father of lies” and never allow unbelievers, believers in other gods, or even Christians talk you out of the simple and pure fact that Jesus is the one and only way.
This article is part one of six of the series, “Answering The Accuser”
1Isaiah 45:7, John 1:3, Colossians 1:16-17, Proverbs 16:4
2Revelation 4:11, Romans 11:36, Psalm 135:6
3Psalm 90:20, Ephesians 1: 11-12
4Romans 8:19, Hebrews 2:10
61 Peter 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 3:5, Job 2
71 John 4:3, Revelation 16:14
8Galatians 5: 17-22, Romans 7:5
10John 16:33, 1 John 5:4, Hebrews 12:1, 1 Timothy 6:12
11Hebrews 10:16, Jeremiah 31:33, Galatians 5:13-14, Acts 13:38-39
122 Timothy 2:20-26