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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

The Promulgator of Lies

They all come from the same source.

Truth Exchange (5)

“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8.44

Not of this world
Contrary to what many Christians seem to think, the provenance of the lie is not from this world, nor the best thinkers of this or any other age. We make a mistake if we focus our energies in overcoming the lie merely at the human and temporal level. Those who are trapped in the lie are only partly to blame for their dilemma.

The provenance of the lie is from beyond the material world to which deceived men and women cling so fervently. People who are so blinded by the lie that they refuse to admit the evidence for God abounding on every hand, and who are so determined to have their own way in life that they will hold fast to every worthless idea or thing rather than fall at the feet of the Savior – such people are deceived in the depths of their souls by a fallen fiend who delights in keeping them prisoners to unbelief, delusion, and sin.

Satan, the accuser of the brethren and the deceiver of the world, is the father of the lie and of all lies. We have it on the authority of Jesus Himself.

We do not expect our unbelieving neighbors to agree with Jesus’ assessment about their condition; at the same time, their denials of what we (and they) know to be true do not change the reality of which Jesus speaks. Let Jesus be true and every Satan-denier a victim of his lies. The devil is a real and active agent in the affairs of people and nations, and he roams and stalks about the earth sowing lies, deceit, and disinformation into the souls of those who turn away from God and depend only on themselves for the happiness they seek (1 Pet. 5.8; Rev. 12.9).

We must at all times bear in mind that the ultimate enemy of the truth is the father of lies; reason, force, and culture change are not lasting solutions to his influence. Only spiritual weapons can prevail in resisting and dispatching him.

The devil’s wiles
How does the devil ply his trade of deception and lies?

Scripture is clear enough. He undermines the authority of God’s Word and promise (Gen. 3.1-4), making the Word of God sound unreasonable, illogical, harsh, naïve, and opposed to human wellbeing. He leads people to regard God as a tyrant – if, that is, He exists at all (Gen. 3.5; Ps. 10.1-4). He urges people to follow their own desires, take full charge of their lives and give in to their gut instincts (Gen. 3.3-5; Matt. 4.1-11). In short, to be their own god and lawmaker. He paints grand scenarios of personal autonomy, complete satisfaction, and liberation from all constraints, insisting that people ought to be free to make all their own choices.

That is, he leads people to believe that they can be like God and perhaps even a god themselves if only they will stop listening to the truth of God and look to their own best thoughts about what’s best for them.

At the end of the day, however, what the devil seeks has nothing to do with anybody’s wellbeing. His goal is to dethrone God and establish himself as ultimate, final, and alone the object of worship – even by God Himself (Matt. 4.9).

The devil plays on human pride (Gen. 3.1-4), the lusts of the eyes and the flesh (1 Jn. 2.16), the pressure to conform (Rom. 12.1, 2), the allure of the times, and the false belief that God cannot know or will not hold us accountable for our sinful, selfish actions (Pss. 10.11-13; 73.11). Those who have rejected the truth are all too ready to believe such folly.

The devil is able even to make the most outwardly noble aspirations and intentions stand opposed to the good and perfect will of God, as we see in Peter’s insistence that Jesus must not be crucified (Matt. 16.21-23).

“One little Word…”
Only the truth of God can thwart the devil’s schemes and overthrow the fortress of lies he erects in a person’s soul. Jesus thwarted the devil’s lies time and again by appealing to the truth of God as revealed in His Word. And Jesus, the very Word of God, assured us that, while in this world of deception and lies we can expect to know trouble and trial, still, we may be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world and the ruler of it (Jn. 16.33; 12.31).

They who are dead in their trespasses and sins, and trapped on the lie side of the human divide – enemies of God as we once were (Rom. 5.10) – can find their way over that divide and into the green meadows and still waters of Jesus Christ, but only as they are helped on their way by powers and practices this secular, wrong-believing world roundly scorns. Prayer, sharing the Word of God or our personal testimony, explaining the Gospel, living the truth – these are the only means whereby dying sinners may be extricated from their plight and born again into the Kingdom of light. If we neglect these resources, preferring instead to woo or argue with or humiliate those ensnared by the lie, we shall make no headway for their restoration.

The Prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him
His rage we can endure, for, lo, his doom is sure:
One little Word shall fell him.

Thus Luther taught us to sing, and we must never forget that our only protection against, and best weapon in combating the lie, and the father of all lies, is the truth of God.

For reflection
1.  People in our day don’t believe in the devil. While the devil may not feature in our sharing of the Good News, why is it nevertheless important that we understand how he works?

2.  Meditate on Genesis 3.1-6. Can you see this same ploy at work in our own day? Explain.

3.  Meditate on Matthew 4.1-11. Discuss the use of God’s Word in resisting and thwarting the devil and the lie.

Next steps – Preparation: What is your approach to resisting the devil? That is, when temptation presents before you, what do you do so that you will grow through it into greater Christlikeness rather than fall through it into sin?

T. M. Moore

You can download all the studies in this series, “Let God Be True,” by clicking here.

The devil is wily, and we must be cautious and always ready to resist him. Our book, Satan Bound, can help you understand his workings and rest in the sovereign control of Jesus over the devil and all things. Order your free copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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