Friday, May 6, 2022

The Angel of Light (2 Corinthians 11)

"For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14b).

Satan enters the drama of human history as a mysterious figure in the form of a subtle serpent. No introductions are made—we’re given simply a sparse scattering of details throughout Scripture that paint a portrait of this evil and malignant spirit who dares to oppose God Almighty. The Scriptures call him an angel of light, a deceiver, the prince of this world, the tempter, the father of lies, and a murderer from the beginning. Various prophecies partially reveal that he was once a glorious angel who led a rebellion in the heavenly realms against God. But even these passages only give us sketches of the Christian’s arch enemy. We discover much about his methods when he tempted Eve in the garden, when he asked permission to try Job, and when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. We learn from these passages that he is under God’s authority, that he is a deceiver who twists the truth, and that he strives to tempt mankind into rebellion against God.

While details of Satan may be vague, warnings against him are not. We must be on our guard, Christians, however, can be guilty of paying too much, or too little attention to Satan. On the one hand we can become obsessed with finding him behind every bush and barrel, or we can believe he is simply irrelevant. We must avoid either extreme. We must be aware that Satan is a master deceiver but remember that he acts only under the authority of God. He has no more power than God allows him.

Satan loves to tempt God’s people as he tempted Eve. He does not appear as he truly is, in all his diabolical majesty, but he comes as an angel of light. He makes sin as attractive as possible and holds out the promise that he can improve our existence. Because of his subtle approach, we must know the truth in order to discern his lies. All of his temptations are based on deception; therefore, we must put on the full armor of God in order to stand against him. We must have faith in Christ, a righteous character, and a thorough knowledge of the Word of God that we might cut through the tangled web in which Satan tries to trap us. God has promised that His people will stand, for nothing, not even Satan, can separate us from the love of God in Christ.

Read Matthew 4:1–11. Consider the strategy Satan used against Jesus. Jesus’ defense against twisted truth was God’s Word alone, engraved on the heart. How prepared are you for attack? Can you answer his lies with truth from the Scriptures? Begin to memorize verses; or if you once did, begin anew this weekend.