The Angel of Light
“Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” - 2 Corinthians 11:14–15
2 Corinthians 11:14–15 contains perhaps the most important bit of information all believers need to remember concerning the nature of Satan and his work. Paul tells us in this passage that the Devil “disguises himself as an angel of light” (v. 14). Of course, Satan and his minions are often the direct source of much of the outright perversity and evil that we see on this planet. However, since he is the “father of lies” (John 8:44), the Evil One would much rather approach us in the guise of something good and not something wicked. If he came at us blatantly, Satan would be easy to resist. We are more likely to embrace his lies if he approaches us under the guise of the good.
With respect to his influence on believers, the Adversary comes at us to accuse us and tempt us. The Devil can often appear to us as an angel of light when he works to accuse us. The story of Job gives a good example of the accusatory nature of Satan. Appearing before God on His throne, Satan once accused Job of being upright only because the Lord had blessed him (Job 1:6–11). In like manner, the Devil likes to remind us of our sin, to tell us the Father cannot possibly love us because we always serve Him with mixed motives.
This work is very hard to distinguish from the work of the Holy Spirit, who convicts us of our wickedness and makes us feel the pain of offending God as well as the terrible sense that we are absent from His presence. Yet the Holy Spirit always wounds us so that He may bring healing and restoration with the Father (Ps. 147:1–3). Satan’s work of accusation only keeps us away from God and paralyzes us with the horror of sin, preventing us from serving the Lord and others. This is why we must remember God’s grace in the Gospel. True, every sin is deeply offensive to the Lord, but in light of our justification (Rom. 8:31–39) no charge can be laid against us. When we repent, God really does forgive us.
Our Creator is sovereign, not the Devil. As the story of Job also illustrates, anything that Satan does is done only because the Father has permitted it (Job 1:12). Sometimes God lets the Evil One tempt us and assault us, but even in these cases our Lord’s purpose is our ultimate good and His final glory (Rom. 8:28).
We can rejoice because the accuser of the brethren has been cast down and defeated (Rev. 12:7–12). Even though he rages on the earth because he knows his time is short, none of his charges can ever stick against those in Christ because we have been declared righteous in Him. If you feel as if God cannot forgive you for the things you have done, then your view of God is not biblical. He can and does pardon all those who repent and trust Jesus alone.
Passages for Further Study
- Deuteronomy 13:1–5
- Zechariah 3:1–5
- Galatians 1:8–9
- 2 Thess. 2:1–12
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