Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Strategies of Satan

From Enjoying God Ministries, Storms writes about the methods that Satan uses to undermine all of creation. In one of his points, Storms expresses how even through Satan's attempts at causing us to sin, God remains sovereign. Using the example of Peter denying Christ three times, we see that Satan had a specific agenda, but God being sovereign, had an agenda that superseded that of Satan's, and taught Peter some valuable lessons.

"He tests or tries Christians, the malicious “sifting” “like wheat” of Peter’s faith being an excellent example (Luke 22:31). Clearly, Satan is unable to act outside the parameters established by the will of God but must first ask permission. He wanted to destroy Peter by inciting him to deny Jesus. But God's intent in permitting Satan to do it was altogether different. God's purposes with Peter were to instruct him, humble him, perhaps discipline him, and certainly to use him as an example to others of both human arrogance and the possibility of forgiveness and restoration. This points to the fact that often we cannot easily say "Satan did it" or "God did it". In cases such as this, both are true (with the understanding that God's will is sovereign, supreme, and overriding), but their respective goals are clearly opposite. Sydney Page's comments concerning this incident are important:

"Luke 22:31-32 reveals that Satan can subject the loyalty of the followers of Jesus to severe tests that are designed to produce failure. So intense are the pressures to which Satan is able to subject believers that the faith of even the most courageous may be found wanting. Satan is, however, limited in what he can do by what God permits and by the intercession of Jesus on behalf of his own [cf. Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1]. Furthermore, those who temporarily falter can be restored and, like Peter, can even resume positions of leadership. It is implied that Satan cannot gain ultimate victory over those for whom Jesus intercedes" (124). "

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