Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
Just as the bright light of the coming Messiah is anticipated in the pages of the Old Testament, so the devil is a shadowy figure throughout it. When we reach the New Testament, we discover that Christ’s coming drew Satan out from the shadows and into the open.
In the Bible, the devil is revealed as the instigator of sin and sorrow. In fact, the word devil comes from a Greek root word which means “to throw,” as in the sense of throwing out slanderous statements. The devil, we learn, twists the truth about Christ and the character of God. The word Satan, meanwhile, can be translated as “adversary” and can convey the sense of someone lying in ambush. Our irrational fears, doubts, and evil thoughts can be traced back to this Evil One. He is the deceiver, the accuser, the liar, and the hinderer. He blinds the minds of unbelievers and seeks to cloud the believer’s mind with reminders of guilt and failure.
Satan is a powerful foe—but he is also a defeated one. The very real power of the Evil One should only ever be considered in light of the victory of the Lord Jesus. The devil has been chained by the cross of Christ. On that chain he may snarl and roar and grab for us, but nevertheless, his works will be destroyed by Christ. The apostle John assures us, “Everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him” (1 John 5:18).
In our homes, most of us have a process for the disposal of garbage: it goes from under the sink to outside the back door to the end of the driveway, and then the garbage truck comes and takes it to its final destination. In a very real sense, that is the experience of the Evil One: he has been put out the back door, awaiting final destruction on the day of Christ’s revelation (Revelation 20:10). He is not yet destroyed, but he is dethroned and defeated.
In the conflicts we encounter, some of us are keenly aware that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against … the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). And those of us who are not aware of this probably should be. All of us need to remind ourselves that there is a real struggle going on and that we are part of it; and all of us need also to remember in the midst of that struggle that “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” Take courage from the fact that Satan does not have the final say. He is beaten, and Jesus has prayed for you that you would be kept safe (John 17:15). Let that knowledge cause you to stand firm against the devil’s wiles and run to Christ for forgiveness when you give in to the devil’s lies. This is how we live in light of Christ’s victory!
As a thank-you from us for your gift, we'll send along this month's resource: How Christianity Transformed the World by Sharon James
Click here to learn more about Truth For Life
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.