What The Devil Does – How He Work’s And Manifest’s – Spiritual Reading.
The Work of the Devil.
In the first place we are taught that the Devil tempts men to sin. We have a most striking illustration of this in his temptation of our Lord. We have in the Bible three accounts of this temptation.
We will look at Matthew’s account. Matt. 4:1-9: “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. (2) And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he afterward hungered. (3) And the tempter came and said unto him, If thou art the son of God, command that these stones become bread. (4) But he answered and said, It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (5) Then the devil taketh him into the Holy City; and he set him on the pinnacle of the temple. (6) And saith unto Him, If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, he shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and, on their hands they shall bear thee up, lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone. (7) Jesus said unto him, Again it is written, thou shalt not make trial of [the Lord thy God. (8) Again, the devil taketh him unto an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; (9) And He said unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
Of course we have not time this morning to go into the whole question of our Lord’s temptation, but this much is certainly plain, that the Devil is represented as the tempter, tempting our Lord. If there is no personal Devil, as so many would have us believe, or if he is not the tempter, there would be absolutely no reason for bringing him into this account.
As the Devil tempted our Lord, so he tempts us to-day. And it is to be noticed that he does not tempt us merely to gross animal lusts and vile sins, but with subtle spiritual temptations, and above all he tempts us to doubt God’s Word.
It was with this form of temptation that he first assaulted our Lord. God had just said to the Lord Jesus at His baptism, “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22), and Satan came insinuating doubt of God’s Word by beginning his temptation with these words: “If thou art the Son of God,” and again further down in the temptation, he repeats the doubt, saying to the Lord Jesus again: “If thou art the Son of God.”
In just the same way Satan began his assault upon Eve in the Garden of Eden, by insinuating a doubt of God’s Word and of God’s goodness. He began by saying: “Yea, hath God said. . . .?” (Gen. 3:2), and further on when Eve stated exactly what God had said, the Devil flatly contradicted and said: “Ye shall not surely die”(literally, Dying, thou shalt not die) when God had said: “Thou shalt surely die” (Dying, thou shalt die).
This is Satan’s favourite method of attack to-day. He gets us to doubt God’s Word. Satan’s most effective mode of work is by leading men into doubt and into error on fundamental points. The saloons and the gambling hells and the brothels are not the chief spheres of Satan’s activities, but the schools and colleges and theological seminaries where he is inducing men and women, and callow youths and maidens, to doubt the truth of God’s Word, and to reject the fundamental truths of God’s word and accept Satan’s errors in their place. Satan knows well; that, if he can get men to doubting God’s Word, it is easy to lead them into the vilest sins. False doctrine has been a more prolific source of the vilest sins than even the saloons.
But Satan not merely tempts men to sin by insinuating doubts of God’s Word, he also has his synagogues and ministers among men to do his work. Turn to Rev. 3:9: “Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of them that say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”
What I wish you to notice here are the words, “The synagogue of Satan.” In this case it was a Jewish synagogue, but now-a-days, it is often a so-called Christian church. In II Cor. 11:14, 15 we have an even more remarkable passage: “For even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light. (15) It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
Here we are told that Satan has his ministers. They do not advertise themselves as ministers of Satan, oftentimes they are not even conscious that they are; but they put themselves forward as “ministers of righteousness.” They advocate “ethical culture,” a system of salvation without atoning blood.
They are frequently men of very attractive personality and great intellectual brilliance and ability, but they are doing the Devil’s work. Satan is never so dangerous as when he “Fashioneth himself into an angel of light,” and no other ministers of his are so dangerous as the men and women of attractive personality and brilliant intellectual gifts who are undermining the faith of God’s children, or who are teaching various forms of seductive and alluring error, “Christian Science,” “New Thought,” “Theosophy,” “Occultism” (Spiritualism), and all that species of cults.
We have not time to speak here of Satan’s work as the author of sickness (Acts 10:38; Luke 13:16), and as the one who has the power of death (Heb. 2:14).
But we must also speak of another work of the Devil. It is set forth in II Cor. 4:3, 4, R. V.: “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in them that perish: (4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God should not dawn upon them.”
We read here that it is the work of Satan to blind the minds of unbelievers in order “That the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them.” It is evident then that the Devil is the author of false views, especially false views of the person of Christ. He is the author of Unitarianism, and the denial of the Deity of our Lord in all its forms. He so blinds the minds of men who submit to his blinding that the Divine “Glory of Christ,” “who is the very image of God,” is hidden from them.
This explains why it is that Unitarianism in all its various forms persists even after its folly has been so often exposed. Satan’s work along this line is to culminate at the appearing of the Anti-Christ, “Even he, whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power, and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (II Thess. 2:9, 10, R. V.)
Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey.
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