In what way is Satan the accuser?

Satan is known as "the accuser of the brethren" (Revelation 12:10). He accuses us of our sins before God. Satan doesn't want God to extend grace and forgiveness to us, nor does He want us to receive God's grace. Jesus says of Satan, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44). We need to be wise to Satan's tactics so we will not succumb to his deception and accept the shame he wants us to bear the weight of.

Initially, Satan was a powerful, beautiful angel in heaven, but he was cast out of heaven due to his pride—he wanted to be exalted above God (Ezekiel 28:15, 17–18; Isaiah 14:12–15). He and the angels (now demons) who rebelled with him are now in direct opposition to God and seeking to hinder people from choosing salvation, living for God, and walking in His freedom (1 Peter 5:8). Satan also attempts to slander and discredit believers by making accusations about them before God.

In the book of Job, Satan stood before God to accuse Job of having an insincere love for Him; He said Job only served God because of the blessings God had given to him (Job 1:9–10). This accusation was proven wrong when, after losing everything of value to him, Job still did not turn against the Lord. In the book of Revelation, we see that Satan "the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down" from heaven (Revelation 12:10, NIV). Satan wants to remind people of their failures and sins and convince them that they are not worthy to be in the family of God. While Satan accuses believers day and night, his accusations are always proven wrong, and that is thanks to Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Advocate: "But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:1–2).

Satan wants us to be fearful and doubt our salvation. When the temptation to doubt comes, we need to change our focus and look to Christ instead: "let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1–2). Our salvation comes from God alone and nothing that Satan says can change that (Ephesians 2:8–9; Romans 8:31–39; John 10:27–30).

It is only through putting our faith in Jesus' sacrifice that we are able to receive God's everlasting grace and mercy. Upon salvation, we are added into His family (John 1:12). The Lord is the one who justifies us; He loves us faithfully and unconditionally; and His mercies for us are new every morning (Romans 8:33; Lamentations 3:22–23). It is true that Christians will continue to sin. But when we do, we know that Jesus forgives us and is faithful to cleanse us. We confess our sins to Him and rely on His grace and mercy to renew us and transform us (1 John 1:9; 2:1). Note that the conviction of sins from the Holy Spirit is different from the accusations of Satan. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin to draw us to God, where we find life. The Holy Spirit shines light into darkness. Satan accuses us of sin to keep us stuck in sin or to make us despair of ever being right before God. He accuses us before God to try to get God to renege on His forgiveness. But God is unchanging and absolutely faithful; His promises are true (2 Corinthians 1:19–22). Romans 8:33–35 says: "Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" The Devil cannot convince God to give up on or abandon us; nothing can separate us from God's love (Romans 8:38–39).

Our accuser's final destiny is sealed; he will be tormented in hell and forever absent from our eternity in heaven (Revelation 20:10; 21:1–4, 27). We can be confident that our salvation is certain (Ephesians 1:13–14). This doesn't mean that we will not have to struggle to fight off Satan's accusations in our current earthly lives. He is still the "ruler of this world" until Jesus returns (John 14:30). When we are tempted to succumb to the shame of Satan's accusations, we can rise up and fight them by putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10–18) and standing firm in His truth. James 4:6–10 assures us that God gives more grace. It talks about being humble, cleansing our hands, purifying our hearts, and mourning over our sins. James tells us to draw near to God, to humble ourselves before Him. He also says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." We should be quick to confess our sins to God and to turn from them, trusting that He will forgive us and equip us to walk in the newness of life we have been granted in Christ (1 John 1:9). When we have been cleansed in Jesus Christ, we have no need to walk in shame. Satan has nothing left to accuse us of because it has been covered by Jesus' blood shed for us on the cross. Hebrews 7:25 assures us, "Consequently, he [Jesus] is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." We can trust the promises of God. He is faithful and true and His Word holds power over any accusation the enemy might bring.

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