Do You Believe in the Devil?
A recent survey in a leading national magazine has nonbelievers mocking
Christianity by saying that it’s distinguishing feature is not that Christians believe
in God but that they believe in the Devil.
I believe there is some truth in that paradox.
Someone who doesn’t go any deeper than the superficial, casual affirmation “I
believe that there is a God is operating on a considerable lower level from
someone who confesses with dismay. To believe in God is so customary that a
person suffers neither scorn nor ridicule because most people still do believe in
God. They can fashion a God in their imagination with little likeness to the living
God of the Word and thus in fact he really doesn’t exist at all. To believe that God
exists can be simply repeating what you have heard from others. It may not even
register or make a difference internally.
But it is a completely different matter if you believe in the existence of the Devil.
There is immediate conflict. Then you can expect to be mocked and scorned.
People will call you a narrow-minded religious fanatic. Yes, to admit you believe in
the Devil takes moral courage to maintain without wavering. While nine out of 10
feel there is a God, only 1 out of 10 believe there is a Devil according to this
Most true believers believe in a personal Devil. Because when you have battled,
doubted, or been in denial, and then finally prevailed, you come to recognize and
understand that the Devil really does exist. You will have engaged sin in all its
power. Sin ultimately energized so horrible and frightening to you that you cried
“Something like that should never take root in a person’s life. It comes from a
much deeper source. It comes from the pit of ruin. It comes from the Devil
himself!” -Abraham Kuyper
Believing there is a personal Devil is to believe in the depths of misery and in the
possibility of deliverance. Even more profoundly, it is to believe that your rescue
can come no other way then through a personal savior.
As long as we see sinning as only a bad habit, it is understandable that we will try
to replace it with a good habit. But when we recognize that it comes from a
powerful force trying to enslave us, will we then realize that we need a more
powerful source who is capable of destroying the work of the Devil and become
our deliverer. Jesus himself set the example for us. He always kept the Devil in
mind. His whole battle and all of his struggles were to tear down what the Devil
had built up. All the suffering he endured originated with Satan, the ruler of this
world. In all prayers we ask to be delivered from the Evil One.
He called the Devil not only a liar but also a murderer.
You are from your father, the Devil, and you want to do what he wants. He was
a murderer from the beginning. -John 8:44
To be a murderer means to attack humans with intense effort. His whole
purpose is to make us sin and to do what he wants. All sinning is to commit
murder of the will and conscience. Not only did he murder in Eden, but he was
always a murderer. Not only a murder in the case of Adam, but in the case of
every new born infant, in the case of every person who has ever lived, in the case
of each and every one of your loved ones you have prayed for every day. It means
doing things in an effort to render them defenseless, senseless, and so weakened
that they turn from God--their Source of Life.
This is what murder means.
This is the urgency with which we live. We must recognize the evil that exists.
We must turn to Jesus, to his Word, His Truth, and His Life.