Sin: How does the devil work?

Sin: How does the devil work?

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Whatever his tactics, the Serpent’s ultimate goal for believers is typically a compromised and fruitless life beset by heresy and sin1 and ultimately death.2 This demonic opposition is increasingly pronounced for those who serve God most faithfully. As the Puritan William Gurnall was fond of saying, “Where God is on one side, you may be sure to find the devil on the other.”3 The Bible speaks of Satan’s work in what can commonly be understood as the ordinary and extraordinary demonic. Ordinary demonic work entices us to sexual sin,4 marriage between Christians and non-Christians,5 false religion with false teaching about a false Jesus,6 unforgiving bitterness,7 foolishness and drunkenness,8 idle gossiping and busybodying,9 lying,10 and idolatry.11 Extraordinary demonic work includes torment,12 physical injury,13 counterfeit miracles,14 accusation,15 death,16 and false spirits.17

As God promised our first parents following their sin, the defeat of Satan and his works is possible only through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in our place for our sins. This is exactly what the Bible teaches. Hebrews 2:14–15 says, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

In what ways have you seen Satan at work in your life recently?

11 Tim. 4:1–2; 1 John 3:7–10.
2John 8:44; 1 Pet. 5:8.
3William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour (London: William Tegg, 1862), 781.
41 Cor. 7:5.
52 Cor. 6:15.
61 Cor. 10:14–22; 1 Tim. 4:1–2; 2 Cor. 11:1–4.
7Eph. 4:17–32.
8Eph. 5:8–21.
91 Tim. 5:11–15.
10John 8:44.
111 John 5:18–21.
12Acts 5:16.
13Matt. 9:32–33; 12:22–23; Acts 8:4–8.
14Acts 8:9–23; 16:16; 2 Thess. 2:9–10.
15Rev. 12:10.
16Prov. 8:36; John 8:44.
171 John 4:1–6.