During His life and ministry here on earth, the Lord Jesus was very clear that Satan is the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), and that he is a thief, murderer, and liar in whom resides no truth at all (John 8:44). And Jesus also declared that Satan is the spiritual father of those who lie. A few years later, the Apostle Paul also observed that Satan is the “god of this world” and that he relentlessly works at blinding the minds of human beings to the truth of God (2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2). Satan the deceiver does this with false philosophies and ideas which always are contrary to God’s truth (Col. 2:8). The Apostle taught Timothy that the world (culture) is inundated with demonic philosophies and ideas, propagated by the hordes of deceitful, lying spirits (1 Tim. 4:1) that carry out the orders of the Evil One. He calls these ideas and philosophies “the doctrines of demons.”
You know this, so why am I bringing up these known truths? Simply because I seem to have the tendency to forget who the real foe is. Maybe you are not like me at all on this (I hope so). I get outraged, frustrated, and even amazed by the bold lies, flagrant deceptions and bizarre positions taken daily by so many public individuals. They speak falsehoods with no shame, and traffic in diabolic ideas that will, in the end, damage people. I see the youth of our nation and observe that most of their lives are not being built on the solid rock of God’s truth, but rather on the unstable, sinking sand of culture’s (Satan’s) philosophies. It is no wonder that we are seeing such terrible consequences in their lives. God’s truth and His righteous standards were given to benefit mankind, and yet, they are discarded as archaic, hateful ideas. For example, it is hard to watch the intentional destruction of the family as God designed it; the shouting down of those who would dare stand for God’s standards; and the compromising of the Word of God by many in the church who should know better. But what I sometimes forget and what I must remember is that behind many of those university professors, those government officials, those media talking heads, those wayward pastors stands Satan, Lucifer, the Devil, the Serpent, the Dragon. Paul said it well in Ephesians 6:12: “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” but against the Devil and his highly organized forces. Yes, he is the “god of this world” and he is the real enemy.
My guess is that there are many believers these days who similarly struggle in the midst of this tsunami of falsehoods. So, there is, I believe, value in reminding ourselves of certain biblical truths. Let me suggest four of them.
- It is a reminder that we are, like it or not, in a spiritual war. The Lord has delegated believers to proclaim, God’s truth at all times and in all situations (2 Tim. 4:1-4). It is only this truth of God that can liberate people who are being “held captive” by the Devil to do his will (2 Tim. 2:24-26). Since the Evil One does not take vacations and is constantly at work, so must we. We are commissioned to speak forth God’s truth, but never be obnoxious as we proclaim it (2 Tim. 2:24-26). This is our responsibility. The Word of God remains the sharp sword of the Spirit which we are to skillfully use.
- It motivates us to be students of the Word. It light of the above point, some of us need to get more serious and disciplined about a systematic study of the Word. Reading a devotional book does have value, but it will not bring us to the place where we can give an intelligent, reasonable answer for our faith (1 Pet. 3:15). For example, reading through Charles Ryrie’s book, “Basic Theology,” would be a good place to begin such systematic study. The culture needs to hear from believers who can speak from a level of spiritual maturity. This is the only way that the “doctrines of demons” can be neutralized.
- It keeps us closer to the Lord. When we take seriously the spiritual warfare that we are in (Eph. 6:10-20), we realize that we cannot win against the organized, seasoned, powerful forces of the Enemy. On our own, we will lose. But the Lord Jesus has provided all that we need to “stand firm” for Him. This spiritual reality keeps us dependent on Christ. Jesus possesses all power and authority (Matt. 28:18-20) and all the needed power is available to us. But we must stay very close to the Savior. Our walk with Him must be authentic.
- It is a softener of our hearts and attitudes. Maybe you have a growing list of government officials, teachers, media, and internet folks that you would just like to see disappear somehow. Jesus Himself got angry with those religious leaders of His day that were spouting falsehoods. Yet, it seems that it was more their falsehoods rather than the people themselves that prompted His anger. He desired that all people would come to Him and the truth of God. When we contemplate that these folks are held captive by Satan to do his will, then we begin to have a greater compassion, because if it had not been for God’s grace, we would be one of them (again, 2 Tim. 2:24-26). Many, after their 15 minutes of fame, will be eternally placed in the Lake of Fire, from which there is no exiting. Their future is bleak. Today, they may know nothing about the workings and ways of Satan, but they are nevertheless in his clutches. They, of course, are responsible for their proclaiming of that which is false and deceptive, but the origin of their ideas is the “doctrines of demons.” Eternity awaits them.
I do find it helpful to return periodically to the above biblical truths, because they provide clarity in these days of increasing lies, deception, and falsehoods.