The devil and the unbeliever

Published 9:19 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My first article in the series, “Simple Truth about the Devil,” was a general summary about the unchanging power and purpose of the devil through human history to deceive persons, nations and even God’s church. This article focuses on how the devil relates to unbelievers, meaning persons who have not had a saving experience with Jesus Christ. I do not intend to be exhaustive but rather to point out a few simple and understandable facts.

First, Jesus refers to the unbeliever as being a part of the devil’s family. In John 8:44 Jesus said, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth for there is no truth in him.”

Second, the risen and ascended Christ said the devil keeps the unbeliever in Spiritual blindness and darkness. In Acts 26:18 Christ said to Saul of Tarsus, “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

Third, the Apostle Paul said that the devil blinds the minds of unbelievers. In 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 he said, “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to those who are lost (unbelievers): in whom the god of this world (the devil) has blinded the minds of them who do not believe, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them.”

Fourth, the Bible in Ephesians 2: 1-3 describes what any believer was like before he experienced the saving grace of God. “You were Spiritually dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air (the devil), the spirit (the devil) who is now at work in those who are disobedient — gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.” Only the power and love and mercy of God in Christ could deliver us by the gift of saving faith.

Fifth, Jesus said the devil attempts to remove the truth of God’s word and the saving good news of Jesus Christ out of the memory of an unsaved person after he hears it or reads it. He said Matthew 13:19, “When anyone hears the message of the kingdom and does not understand it, the devil comes and snatches away what was sown in the heart.”

Six, the devil produces imitation believers who will be revealed as such at the final judgment of God or before. In Matthew 13:24-29, 37-43 Jesus told a parable about an enemy, under the cover of darkness, sowing imitation wheat or weeds in a farmer’s wheat field. The farmer allowed both the imitation and real wheat to grow together until harvest time and then they were separated: the real for the barn and the imitation for destruction by fire. The meaning was that the imitation believers, produced by the devil, would be separated from real Christians at God’s final judgment.

Seven, the Bible tells us that there will be “false messengers, deceitful workers, masquerading as messengers of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if the devil’s servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

The above simple Scripture passages inform us that there is a powerful and deceitful enemy, the devil, who opposes and stands in the way of every unbeliever who would turn to Jesus Christ. But the devil’s power is limited and you can be set free. Here is God good news. First John 3:8 says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of he devil.” Hebrews 2:14-15 reads, “Jesus became flesh so that by his death on the cross and the resurrection he might destroy the devil, who holds the power of death, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery.” Referring to His death on the cross and the resurrection, Jesus said, “The prince of this world (the devil) stands condemned.” Romans 1:16 says, “The Gospel (the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ) is the power of God to deliver, set free, rescue and save everyone that believes.”

The power and deceitfulness of the devil should make the unbeliever call out to Jesus for deliverance. That same truth must make the Christian witness understand that he must depend upon prayer, the work of the Holy Spirit and the gospel testimony in seeking persons for our Savior.

–Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.