Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
NUMBER 15, PAGE 6b-7a

Satan Among God's Children

H. L. Bruce

"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them." (Job 1:6) "Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord." (Job 2:1) From the New Testament we read, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." (1 Pet. 5:8-9) In urging brethren at Corinth to forgive, Paul warned: "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." (2 Cor. 2:11)

Christ's first recorded encounter after his baptism was with the devil. Christ's answer was with the word of God. From this we may well learn that anyone who expects to stand against Satan needs to be well versed in God's teaching. Satan is also well versed. (See Matt. 4:1-11) Paul admonished, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (Eph. 6:11) The weapon of this armour is the "sword of the spirit, which is the word of God." (v. 17)

Not too long ago I heard a good preacher friend of mine criticized for "fighting everywhere he preaches." I don't know the circumstances of all of his labors, hence am not qualified to pass judgment. But I do know this, from the foregoing passages of scripture: The devil is active in every place that this good brother preached and if he didn't fight him he should have. A person who shuns a battle with Satan is giving him an advantage. Satan works his lot in every town, country, hamlet, and village.

Satan exerts his influence and does his work among God's children. He should be resisted, withstood and warred against. If you are one who always gets along real well and are never in conflict--why? Instead of criticizing those who combat Satan's forces why aren't you in the battle?

Satan works among "conservative brethren. Who would deny it? Deliver us from the day that we conclude otherwise. Loyal brethren have to conquer the lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, and pride of life. (See 1 Jno. 2:15-17) We can be strong on some points and soft on others. For example, we can be strong on opposing institutionalism and soft on practicing scriptural discipline. Paul had urged brethren at Corinth to discipline the sinful ".... that I might things." (2 Con 2:9) It is so easy for Satan to set us off balance in teaching congregation purity.

In the fifteen years of my preaching I have fought the devil in the community and among brethren in every place that I have preached. I fear that I haven't done too good a job. But I have no anticipation of complete peace, harmony or tranquility in a world with a live devil. Do you?

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