Satan’s War on the Truth and How Christians Can Defend Against His Attacks.

I had a conversation a few day ago with a gentlemen about GOD and the Bible. He saw me reading the Bible in a public place as I sat waiting for my wife and he asked me about what I was reading. Toward the end of our discussion he stated that he had come to the conclusion that “No one religion is right, because we are all God’s children.” I found it an interesting statement considering that he said that he regularly reads the four gospels.

My response to him was polite, but definite. “According to the GOD’s word, there is only one GOD and only one way to him: Jesus Christ. While it is true that we are created by the Lord, we are not all considered his children. In fact the Bible says:

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,  13  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13 (ESV)

GOD has given us an objective truth in the scriptures. They are not suggestions or opinions, but God-given principles and commands that he expects to be followed. Truth is real and it comes directly from GOD.

GOD’s word is truth and it:

…is sanctifying: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”  John 17:17 (ESV)

…Purifies: “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,”  1 Peter 1:22 (ESV)

…is part of a Christian’s armor: “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”  Ephesians 6:14 (ESV)

 …is a statue that stands forever. “24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” [1Pe 1:24-25 ESV]

What is the churches relation to the truth?

First of all it is the means by which we come to GOD.  Jesus is the truth and his gospel was given to reconcile us to him. 2 Tim 3:15 says that the scriptures are able to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Jesus even calls himself both the Truth and the Way in John 14:6.

In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul calls the Church “a pillar and buttress of the truth.”  This architectural metaphor is important, and means that GOD’s people are to uphold the truth, especially the truth of the Gospel.

How is truth attacked?

One can see three tactics used by Satan in his attack on the truth by looking at Genesis 3:1-6. These include doubt, denial, & deception.

Doubt:

In Gen 3:1 Satan tries to introduce confusion or doubt. He says to Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”  He knew exactly what had been said, and he was there to tempt both Adam and Eve into rebelling against GOD. Eve initially does well and clarifies what GOD had actually said to them. This is a common way that the world attacks the truth of GOD’s word. A confused mind is a disabled mind. Don’t be fooled by things that “sound right” but are actually misinterpretations. Christian’s must make every effort to understand what the word ACTUALLY says.

The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. (Pro 18:17 ESV)

Denial:

“You will not surely die.”  Genesis 3:4 (ESV)

Denial is an aid to doubt in the attack on truth. In Genesis 3:4 Satan is calling GOD a liar. Those who do not believe the word of GOD will often employ this tactic. We must remember, however, that the word of the Lord is both true and eternal, despite what the world thinks. (John 17:17; 1Peter 1:24-25)

Deception:

In Genesis 3:5-6 we see the art of deception at hand. Satan is trying to convince Eve that eating the fruit of the tree is not only a good thing, but that it will make her like GOD.  Repeated attacks on the truth and an ineffectual and almost non-existent defense of the truth on the part of Adam and Eve results in the fall of mankind:

How should we combat the attack on truth in our lives.

Recall: Know and meditate on the word of GOD.

There is no substitute for knowing and understanding the word of GOD.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”  Joshua 1:8 (ESV)

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  Psalms 119:9-11 (ESV)

Reproof with scripture: defend attacks on scripture with scripture.

In Mat 4:1-11: Jesus is in the desert fasting and praying and Satan comes to tempt him. Three times Satan attacks Jesus by twisting the scriptures to say what ever he wants. We see a pattern similar to the one used in the fall, only now he is using scripture.

  • Mat 4:3 “If you are the Son of God turn these stones to bread…” Doubt
  • Mat 4:6 “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,…” Doubt and Deception
  • Mat 4:9 All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me. [Satan] Deception

Satan attacked the very identity of GOD the Son by trying to plant doubt and stir up pride and greed through use of deception. Each time Christ met the challenge with the word of GOD. Each time Satan attacked Jesus answered the same way: “It is written.” Leave out your opinion; let God argue his own case, use the scriptures. Give the proper context so that the scriptures cannot be twisted or perverted.

Retreat:

In Genesis 3:2-4 Eve initially gets it write when Satan tries to tempt her by attacking the truth. She know just what GOD said and correct Satan. Adam and eve should have taken that as a win and left at that point. What good did it do for them to stay and listen to a snake that was actively twisting GOD’s word in an attempt to temp them? What resulted was the fall of mankind and separation from GOD. When presented with an attack on GOD’s word, correct it, but don’t feel like you have to stick around. Remember what joseph did when he was tempted?

5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them. Proverbs 22:5

You must be saved if you are to understand GOD’s word.

Recall, Reproof with scripture and Retreat are good tactics to use if the truth is under attack, but you simply won’t know the truth or understand it until you accept Christ as savior.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)

You must be saved. It is not enough to simply know that Christ is the way, you must trust in him and accept him as Lord and Savior. James 2:19 Romans 10:9-13

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5 Comments

  1. I like the way you systematized the different functions of the Word. The attack on the truth is life threatening especially considering we act on what we believe. If we believe stealing is okay, then we’ll have no problem stealing. Jesus tells us to abide in the truth and live it out (John 15). Have you looked at Heb. 5:14? What do you think that verse contributes to this discussion?

    1. Hebrews 5:11-14 (ESV)  About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.  12  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,  13  for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  14  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

      Paul is explaining the significance of the role of Christ as high priest in verses 5:1-10, but then in verse 11 he basically says,”I would would tell you more, but you would not get it.” He calls them spiritual babies. Why? Because they were unskilled in the word. By the time of this corresppondence, they should have been able to undertand the word of GOD but were still lacking in basic principles.

      It is not a shameful thing to be new to the word, and thus be unfamiliar, but it is quite another to live life as a Christian and to make no effeort to become skilled in the word itself. We are to make an effort to learn the Word and to discern the will of GOD. This ultimatley comes from The Lord, and not our own wisdom, for the wisdom of man is foolishness, but clearly the Lord wishes us to meditate on the word and to grow in wisdom and knowledge. As Paul says in verse 14, ” But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

      Therefor, I say that it is a relevant part of the discussion on truth and the upholding off truth. We are to know the word and to grow in both knowlede and discernment.

      1. I’d probably encourage you to read Hebrews 5:11-6:20. I think he is saying more than just we have to know the word and I think the people he is preaching too have a good grasp of the word. Something else is lacking in them. What is it? How are their senses trained to do good? In the same context (6:9-12) he says something else will help keep them from becoming sluggish. What is it?

  2. Concerning your statement “…I think the people he is preaching too have a good grasp of the word.” I ask you to reread 5:1-14. Let us look at what Paul says here, especially in verses 5:11-14.

    • “You have become hard of hearing” (contrast with 5:14: discernment)
    • “You need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. 5:12 (cf 6:1-2)
    • You need milk 5:12 (cf 5:13, they are unskilled in the word of righteousness..)

    Paul is not saying that they are not familiar with the text, but rather that they have little understanding or discernment. He calls them children in need of milk, that is basic teaching. This he contrast with mature Christians who have good discernment due to constant practice in distinguishing between what is good and what is evil. (5:14) This kind of Christian is skilled in the word of righteousness, whereas his audience (those mentioned in 5:12) are “unskilled in the word of righteousness.” (Note contrast between 5:13 and 14)

    I agree with you that there is more in this section than simply knowing the word of GOD (which is different than having a good grasp of it), because Paul then goes on in chapter six to make further contrast. The first group is those he is speaking to who, though they are “unskilled in the word” (5:12-13) and are “hard of hearing” (5:11,13,14 lack discernment), have a love for the name of the Lord (6:10). The contrasting group is comprised of those who have been exposed to the Word of Truth and all that GOD has to offer, and yet, decide to turn their back on GOD. (6:4-6) This is restated in a metaphorical comparison/contrast in verses 6:7-8. Read 6:7-8 and compare it with Luke 8:4-21.

    I believe Paul is spurring these guys on, he want them to grow up (Hebrews 6:1-3) and to hold on to the hope they have through their love/ faith for GOD (6:9-10, not the contrast in 6:9 “we speak this way, yet in your case…”)

    In short, I believe Paul’s message in Hebrews 5and 6, at least the part concerning his audience, is:

    • You need to be rooted in the word, thus maturing and gaining spiritual discernment
    • You need to hold on to the hope you have in Christ, but again, you need to be rooted in the Word to do this. Some do not and depart from the faith, despite having the truth revealed to them.

    I hope I addressed your question in the way you were hoping. I appreciated the challenge to spend some time in Hebrews. I love the book.

    1. Hey sorry, it took a while to respond. Hebrews 5:11 begins the third warning passage and ends in 6:20. The warning to the audience is you need to mature. 5:1-10 teaches Christ is the greater High Priest than those operating in the Mosaic Covenant — now done away with.

      5:10 ends with the “Order of Melchizedek.” Christ is of Melchizedek’s order based on Psalm 110. The author wants to talk about this and stops to offer a warning to the people. He picks back up the argument in 6:20 and really chapter 7 explains this relationship between Christ and Melchizedek. So 5:11-6:20 is one unit of thought.

      Yes some of the church was struggling and having a hard time understanding. They needed to be reminded of basic principles. But what? They needed to stay active in serving because only when we serve, do we put our knowledge to use and therefore mature.

      5:14 says those who are mature, are mature because they have their senses trained to discern good and evil. The people had become “dull of hearing” or another translation of this Greek word is “sluggish” (5:11).

      We both agree there is immaturity. So how do they become mature? Short answer: by serving in the church.

      6:9-12 is the key sentence. Paul is convinced his audience will not fail or fall like those who claimed to believe, but didn’t mature and ultimately abandoned the faith (6:4-8).

      So what are the things that accompany salvation?

      These people are known because they have loved and served and continue to love and serve the saints. Who are the saints? The church!

      What does Paul want them to do? He is emphatic by using two verbs to influence the people. “We desire that each one of you show the same diligence”. What are they to show the diligence to do? To minister and love the saints! Why be diligent to love and serve? So that they will realize the full assurance of hope until the end and so that they will not be sluggish but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

      The people had become sluggish. What is the remedy? Same word is used in 5:11 and 6:12. Action. What actions? serving those in your church because you love Christ.

      Does this negate knowing the Word? No, it means we know what God says and then we go live it out. But the only way to grow is to live it out. Otherwise it’s just head knowledge that puffs up. I think Paul is spurring them on to honor Christ through serving and loving the church.

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