"Satan's Way Is the Best Way"
From Satan's Ten Most Believable Lies
Titanic forces are locked in combat for the rulership of the universe. When we realize that the world is being acted upon by an omnipotent God and a nearly omnipotent devil, we should be careful as to the placement of our loyalties. Each believer in Christ is thereby a protagonist in a spiritual struggle with stupendous issues. The kingdoms of the world, the moral balance of the universe, eternal life, and eternal death, all of these are at stake in the conflict of this age.
Because of this, the New Testament well advises us,
Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)
We are further warned, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Again, Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time (Revelation 12:12).
Our essential struggle is not one of guns and bombs, nor one that will be decided by the conquest of square miles of real estate. Rather, this conflict is resident in the moral universe, the physical world being one arena of that greater struggle. The presence of this spiritual conflict comes as a shock to some who have hoped that they might be allowed to live quiet and unperturbed lives. If our lives appear to be undisturbed, it is only because we are momentarily in the passing point of equal tensions in this fierce conflict. In the world ye shall have tribulation is more nearly the description of the status quo of our lives.
The critical time in that great conflict between Christ and Satan came in the last point of the temptation. In the preceding two attempts, Satan revealed additional points in his perverse doctrine. Having failed to corrupt the Son of God in these, he now moves closer to the line of desperation as he makes our Lord a final offer.
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4:8-10)
Here is revealed the ninth doctrine of his infernal majesty, namely, Satans way is the best way.
This temptation is most stunning. Up until this point, no human had ever been represented with such an offer. Until now, the normal approach in satanic temptation had been to offer just a little bit. Satan takes fiendish glee in corrupting an eternal soul with as pitiful a temporal prize as possible. Eve gave in because of the offer of a bit of experiential knowledge and a few bites of a forbidden fruit. Esau sold out for a bowl of food to satisfy temporary hunger. Achan threw in the towel for a wedge of gold and a goodly Babylonish garment. David committed his great sin because of one erotic sceneBathsheba at her bath.
This is the kind of bargain that Satan usually offers. He asked for nearly everything and in return gives almost nothing. He counts on the fact that the individuals sense of value is so distorted that he will pay and pay again for empty packages. We chase the will-o-the-wisp of economic gain, corporate advancement, human applause, or personal satisfaction. We carry in our hand our divine birthright, thoughtlessly trading it for a mess of pottage Satan wins easily and without a struggle with most of us.
With ridiculous ease, his infernal majesty, the devil, also subverts most of us by proxy. He rarely needs to appear on the scene, for he knows that he can trust the established pattern of our society to press upon us its lusts and sins in the name of status. The world and the flesh have served the cause of iniquity so successfully that Satan must be close to boredom with inactivity. Through centuries of nearly effortless conquest, our enemy has grown fat on the swill of little souls and easy subversions. The moral death that comes to most people is not murder by the devil but merely another case of voluntary spiritual suicide.
Thankfully, this was not the case with Jesus Christ. Satans approach failed, for Christ would not work a miracle on demand for His own physical need. The spiritual presumption approach failed, for Christ would not exploit the promise of God foolishly. In this breathless moment, Satan now makes a final decision. Revealing his own deep spiritual inversion, he offers his own birthright for a moments sincere respect by the Person who was the essence of moral purityJesus Christ the Son of God. In this utterly important moment, the moral balance of this world is at stake. Here, Satan sees that his opportunity to seduce Christ into sin is slipping away, and therefore he makes a desperate, last offer. He offers to Christ the kingdoms of this world.
We must not doubt that Satan was making a valid offer. When Adam sinned, the planet earth was conceded to the devil; Adam and his heirs lost their dominion to him. In Scripture, therefore, he is rightly called the prince of this world (John 14:30), the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). He is the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2), and therefore we are warned that the whole world lieth in wickedness (1 John 5:19). The world system is owned and operated by his infernal majesty, the devil, and now he offers it to Christ in return for His worship. Here is one of the most important moments in all of history.
The diabolical aspect of this temptation is that the offer of Stan was both true and false. It is presumably true that Satan would have given to Christ the kingdoms of this world. The false aspect of this temptation, however, was that Christ would have achieved this point of rulership only by conceding in advance to the ultimate rulership of Satan. He would not have ruled the kingdoms of this world in His own name but as a surrogate of the devil. An act of worship before his infernal majesty would have amounted to an eternal concession that Satan was the final ruler. No one can rule independently if his independence has already been taken from him. When one submits himself to satanic leadership, he becomes a slave to the devil.
We cannot know all of the Saviors thoughts, but we can be sure that He was pressed by the weight of temptation in its most attractive and potentially horrible form. We are informed that Christ was in all point tempted like as we (Hebrews 4:15). All of the pull of satanic magnetism was presented in its strongest form in the temptation of Christ.
From this encounter, we can know the method Christ used to withstand against the powerful pressure of Satan. Note again the words of our Savior, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Christ involved Himself in no philosophic discussion about the nature of temptation, the validity of this satanic offer, or the economic value of the kingdoms of this world He did not even ask for the opportunity to think it over. Not compromising, His response was instant, straightforward, and total. It was a clear, final no!
The fact that the worship of any thing or person beside God is forbidden in Scripture was enough for Jesus Christ. The law of God was the foundation for the spiritual conviction of the Lord Jesus.
The consequence of this righteous act is that the moral balance of the universe has not been overturned. Sin is still sin; righteousness is still righteousness. We can thank Jesus Christ and His reliance upon the law of God for this. It is wise, therefore, to bear in mind that the world is still under the unbroken moral law of God. No matter how rebellious men and nations may have become, God is still in control of His universe. The immortal word of Brownings Epilogue to Asolando are still true.
Never doubted clouds would break
No matter how much evil seems to prosper, the ultimate base and the final reality of the universe is not evil; it is good.
As we have noted, in this last phase of the temptation, Satan reveals another of his doctrinal positions; the real way to gain the kingdoms of this world is to worship Satan; the path to progress, capability, and fulfillment is to turn from fidelity to the living God and commit our lives to the worship of the devil. We are asked to believe that Satans way is the best way, that is, superior to the way of God. This view is completely anti-God.
And, as astonishing as it may seem, that view is gaining credence. The outright worship of Satan is increasingly popular among otherwise intelligent people. From major cities and rural areas across America and the Western world come frightening reports of individuals who have committed their lives to Satan and who have literally fallen down to worship him.
In our time, institutions, cultic religions, and movements that call for outright worship of Satan have formed in great numbers. They declare Lucifer the true king of the universe. I have personally seen pamphlets distributed to high school students in a Southern California city giving them detailed instructions on how to make a covenant with Lucifer. The material claims that Lucifer is the true God and advocates the blasphemy that Christ is a usurper. It tells the proper candles and incantations to use for the commitment of ones soul to Satan.
So it is that various forms of the occult have trapped many naive and irresponsible souls into a form of anti-God, anti-Christ religious activity. The evidence continues to mount that multiplied thousands are involving themselves in this aberrant, religious behavior. The prophetic Scriptures warn us of the time when the world will worship the Antichrist, the representative of the devil on earth.
So, the spiritist and witchcraft scene commits itself to anti-God religious worship with all its frightening implications. Thousands have stood on smaller mountains than the mount of
Christs temptation and looked on lesser kingdoms and have quickly said yes to Satan, where Christ said an emphatic no. The corrupt lives and blasted psyches of the hapless victims of todays dark, satanic practices are an illustration of the kind of awful fate that was spared us by the moral victory of Christ.
This satanic doctrine can also be expressed in another form, helping us to see its frightening application to larger multitudes of people. In this variant version, Satan has said, There is a way to human achievement other than the worship of and fidelity to the true God. In this lesser form, this doctrine of the devil has corrupted more millions of people than many of us could possibly imagine. Since God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, and since Jesus Christ is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, it follows that there is no morally correct alternative to doing the will of the true and living God.
To hold that any other entity in the universe has final value and therefore can legitimately be worshiped for its own intrinsic worth is idolatry. There is no final value in the universe other than God. God, by His very nature, must be exclusivistic. He confesses that he is a jealous God. This, of course, if not a fault in His personality, but simply a true expression that he is the ultimate fact, the uncaused cause. All other values are derivative of His value, His ultimacy.
It follows, therefore, that the commitment of ones life to any value or object of worship that is less than God is ultimately a satanic commitment. Jesus Christ expressed this clearly by saying, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve (emphasis added).
There is no pluralism as to the rulership of the universe. All rulers derive their authority from the final rulership of God.
It follows, then, that the worlds problems are so because of the unwillingness of men to admit to and submit to the final authority of the eternal God. The satanic doctrine of the supremacy or the worthiness of another entity beside the Lord has permeated the thinking of men to a frightening degree. The promotion of the worship or a god less than the true God is a practice indulged in by many of the rulers of this world and not a few of their followers.
The Greek mythologist created gods to fulfill all of the lesser functions. There was a god of war, a god of fertility, a god that produced prosperity, and so on, ad infinitum. The Roman world finally established thousands of gods, covering every real and imagined need. The result of commitment to any one of these gods was, of course, damnation, because the corollary to the supremacy of God is that all other gods must be satanic, ultimately producing damnation. For this reason, the children of Israel were commanded as a first principle of their law,
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:3-6)
This law is not some arbitrary municipal statute made by a local legislator. It is a simple necessity. If God is God, which He is, it could not be otherwise.
The truth has great implications for us. The Christian faith, by this worlds standards, is a most exclusive, arrogant faith. Christianity claims for itself ultimate truth, and it insists that other propositional theologies are infinitely inferior to it. The Christian is to believe and serve no other truth and to admit to no other authority, in the sense of agreeing that the authority is final.
This concept of final truth enabled Christ to resist the offer of Satan. He took refuge, not in argument, but in the Word of God. Satans offer was certainly most appealing, but it became utterly ridiculous in the light of the final truth of Scripture. Jesus Christs confidence in the truth of the Word of God made it possible for Him to be justified in His sayings and to overcome in this situation of temptation. He did not resist the devil by some rare form of spiritual activity. He did not involve Himself by using reason, subtle theological argument, or even what we might call earnest prayer. His method was to invoke the authority of the Word of God. In each of the temptations, He quoted Scripture and rested on the sure Word of God as it spoke to the particular temptation. The lesson is clear. Each of us, if we are to resist the horrible pressure of clever, satanic temptation, must resort to a knowledge greater than our own. We must acquire a knowledge of the Word of God, and we must invoke that knowledge at the point of moral pressure. Knowing and using the bile will be for us, as it was for Christ, the source of spiritual strength that can produce victory over temptation.
The promise of personal vindication and triumph is utterly valid for us, if we follow the same commitment to the Word of God as was true about Jesus Christ. There may be a thousand versions of this satanic doctrine, some of them so sophisticated as to be almost unanswerable, but they all are belied when we answer them with the refutation of Scripture. There is, therefore, no better course to recommend than a thorough ongoing, working knowledge of the Bible. By this knowledge alone, we will be able to withstand the wiles of the devil.
We must not doubt that Satan is constantly pressuring us to recast our loyalties in some other direction beside the Person of Jesus Christ and His will for our lives. We do well to review daily the commitments of our lives and ask anew if a god has intervened in our worship of our blessed Lord, turning us into sophisticated pagans. With this knowledge, we can understand and repeat the prayer of William Cowper:
The dearest idol I have known,
The spiritually perceptive soul is conscious that many idols are constantly attempting to creep onto the altar of worship of God. There are many external alternatives and inner attitudes that, with the help of Satan, can drive a wedge between us and our heavenly Father. In the face of these dreadful, satanic alternatives, we must heed the absolute command of Scripture, quoted by Jesus Christ: Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Satan's Ten Most Believable Lies