Today we will finish our brief look at what the Bible has to say about angels by considering the work of that fallen angel and chief enemy of God’s people—Satan. Our foe is also known as “the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9), so it is not surprising that at times he “disguises himself as an angel of light” and that his servants—the demons—“disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:14–15).
James 4:7 tells us “resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” It would be much easier to identify and resist him if he were always to act in a plainly wicked manner. That may be one reason why he frequently hides himself under what may seem good and reasonable, under half-truths and almost-full-on lies. Consequently, we must grow daily in the wisdom of God’s Word so that we can recognize Satan when he acts most craftily.
God’s Word also calls Satan “the accuser of our brothers” (Rev. 12:10), and so we see that he tends to attack believers in Christ through accusation. We see him doing this with righteous Job, for example, when he claimed that Job did what is right only to get something from God (Job 1:6–11). Satan made that accusation to God, but his work in accusing us is similar. He is fond of bringing up our sin and reminding us that our motives in serving the Lord are often mixed. When he does this, he is hiding under the guise of an angel of light. After all, the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, and part of that work involves calling our transgressions to our attention and forcing us to think through the reasons for our actions (John 16:8).
How, then, can we ever hope to tell the difference between the accusations of the devil and the convictions of the Holy Spirit? By paying attention to the effects of their work. God the Holy Spirit comes as our “Helper” or our “Comforter” (14:16–17). His work of conviction can be painful, but its goal involves our healing and restoration to fellowship with the Lord (Ps. 147:1–3). When the Spirit convicts us of sin, we are driven not to despair but into the arms of our merciful Savior.
Satan, on the other hand, “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). His accusations against us and our sin make us think that God could never love us or forgive us. But Jesus says that all who come to Him in faith He will never cast out (6:37). When we are not being driven to Christ, we must remind the devil that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).