Satan's Six Strategic Assaults on the Christian Faith
Some evangelical leaders have been joyfully announcing there is a great spiritual revival taking place in our country. However, a closer and more discerning look reveals there is a countless infiltration of deceivers masquerading as messengers of Christ who are counterfeiting the Christian faith. "And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." (2 Cor. 11:14). These legions of liars are all part of Satan's insidious assault on the only true faith. Satan's ultimate goal is to thwart God's harvest of lost souls by holding them captive with his fatal lies. His relentless at¬tacks are strategically aimed at six targets.
- The Supremacy of God's Word
- The Sufficiency of God's Son
- The Singularity of God's Gospel
- The Sovereignty of God's Grace
- The Security of God's Children
- The Sanctity of God's Church
- The Supremacy of God's Word
Satan's all out assault on the Word of God began in the Garden of Eden. Disguised as a charming serpent, he persuaded Eve to dis¬miss God's word and believe his lie. First he created doubt by asking: "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?" (Gen. 3:1). Then Satan convinced Eve that God's word was not true and could not be trusted. He said: "You surely shall not die!" (Gen. 3:4).
Now the Father of Lies uses this same strategy to deceive the world through all of his religions. He uses religious leaders to ask: "Has God indeed said, 'The wages of sin is death"? (Rom. 6:23). Then speaking through the Roman Catholic Church, he says: "You surely shall not die - venial sins do not bring (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], para. 1863).
Satan's attack on the word of God is understandable because it is the supreme authority for the Christian faith and it brings forth eternal life to those who believe it (1 Pet. 1:23). Nothing else possesses its divine character. Scripture is absolutely trustworthy because it is true and given by the inspiration of God (2. Tim. 3:16; John 17:17). The Bible is also the only book that foretells the future and it does so with great precision and detail. It is sacred and never to be altered (Prov. 30:6). In fact, God gave a strong rebuke to those who would pervert the Word of God with the words of men (Jer. 23:36).
Yet Roman Catholic bishops have chosen to do just that. They dare to say their traditions, which they have foolishly added to Scripture, make up one single deposit of the World of God (CCC, 97). By doing this the bishops have elevated their tradition to the same authority as Scripture and, to their advantage, have become the supreme authority for the Catholic faith (CCC, 85). When ever the supreme authority of God is replaced by the authority of men, the perversion of biblical doctrines runs rampant.
The Sufficiency of God's Son
The adversary's attack on God's Son is skillful because Jesus is Author and Perfecter of the Christian faith. He alone is able and sufficient to save sinners completely from sin (Heb. 7:25). His one offering for sin makes believers perfect forever (Heb. 10:14). His blood is sufficient to purify every believer from ever sin (1 John 1:7). His death was sufficient to cancel the eternal sin debt of every believer (Col. 2:14). Paul described the sufficiency of Jesus when he wrote: "In Him you have been made complete" (Col 2:10). Every spiritual blessing that anyone could ever desire or need is found in Christ Jesus.
For these reasons Satan attacks the sufficiency of Christ with a vengeance. The prince of this world has convinced many that they need Christ plus psychology, or Christ plus rituals and sacraments, or Christ plus purgatory and indulgences, or Christ plus law-keeping and good works. His agents deny Christ's work of redemption is finished. They foolishly believe they have the power to call the Lord Jesus back down from heaven to offer Him again and again on their altars. These slanderous assaults on the sufficiency of Christ not only rob the truth Jesus of His glory but point the lost to another Jesus who is unable to save them without help from others (2 Cor. 11:4). Satan offers other mediators but God has given us only One (1 Tim 2:5). Satan offers other saviors but God has given only one Name (Acts 4:12). Ministers of the devil who deny the sufficiency of God's Son must preach another gospel to instruct people what they must do to be saved. Another Jesus always produces another gospel.
The Singularity of God's Gospel
You would think Paul's undisputed condemnation of the Judaizers for perverting the Gospel would keep the Gospel pure within the professing church. However, the Gospel of Rome is a much greater distortion. It requires Catholics to receive sacraments, keep the law, attend weekly sacrifices and do works of mercy for their salvation (CCC, para. 815; 1032; 1129; 2068). Satan's relentless assaults against the Gospel continues to come from two distinct enemies - legalism, which is most prominent in Roman Catholicism, and antinomianism, which is most noticeable throughout liberal Protestantism. Those who teach antinomianism distort the Gospel by declaring any person who has been justified by faith in Christ is no longer obligated to obey the moral law. The apostle Paul corrected this ungodly doctrine in 1 Cor. 5-6.
Whenever the "Father of Lies" enters the pulpit, he does not deny the Gospel but perverts it with additions or subtractions. Any perversion of the Gospel is ultimately the Devil's delusion which keeps his captives in bondage. With so many perversions in the church today, there is a desperate need for the preaching of the pure Gospel of God. It alone has the power to save sinners from the punishment, power and ultimately, the presence of sin (Rom. 1:16).
The Sovereignty of God's Grace
One of the strongest expressions of God's sovereign grace is given by Paul: "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world... In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:4-6). Clearly it is the will of God, not man's will that determines who will be graciously adopted into The Father's eternal family (John 1:12-13). Yet the Roman Catholic Church rejects God's sovereignty and teaches it is the will of man that determines who becomes a child of God. Consider the teachings of Rome: "Baptism... makes the neophyte a new creature, an adopted son of God ... and co-heir with Him" (CCC, 1265). "The church and the parents, would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God, were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth" (CCC, 1250).
Sovereign grace is the only means by which our merciful God saves sinners (Eph. 2:8-9). Satan, being fully aware of this, created a false way of salvation which nullifies or suspends God's saving grace. His system of works-righteousness is found in all the religions of the world. From Buddhism to Zoroastrianism, the devil's influence is found in teachings that say you must do good works to merit God's favor or appease His justice.
The Security of God's Children
The Prince of Darkness knows he can never kidnap the children of God who have been delivered into the glorious light of the Son, but he can make their walk ineffective. His most effective tool is deception. He uses false teachers to lie about the power and promises of God which are explicitly revealed in the Gospel of grace. The very promise of the Gospel is eternal life backed up by the power of Almighty God to keep those He has saved. This divine gift of everlasting life can never be lost, revoked or rejected once received (John 10:28; Rom. 11:29). Christians who are uncertain about the eternal duration of their salvation are often paralyzed in their walk with Christ. They stumble in doubt and feel defenseless against the attacks of Satan.
The Sanctity of God's Church
As the master counterfeiter, Satan depreciates the sanctity of the church by planting tares among the wheat (Mat. 13:25-40). These tares may never realize they are pawns of the devil, but they infect the church and bring much shame to the name of Jesus Christ. No assembly is immune from these demonic infiltrators who cause turmoil, division with their doctrinal error and habitual sin. Paul wrote: "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them" (Acts 20:29-30). We know the primary commission of the church is to equip and encourage believers to go into the world and make disciples for the Lord Jesus Christ. In order to counter this objective, Satan brings the world into the church to distract it from its purpose. Rather than feeding the sheep, the church starts entertaining the goats.
How Must Believers Respond
As spiritual darkness overcomes the diminishing light of the Gospel, believers must be of sober spirit and be on the alert (1 Peter 5:1). Those who belong to the Lord Jesus must put on the full armor of God each day and be prepared for spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:10-18). Satan will continue taking advantage of those who are ignorant of his schemes (2 Cor. 2:11). His sustained attacks on the Christian faith will become more and more fierce as we approach the day when Jesus Christ returns triumphantly to the earth. Until that glorious appearing of our Savior, deceiving spirits will continue to influence the great apostasy from the faith. "The falling away" is taking place everywhere as apostates turn from the truth to follow doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1).
How can believers brace for the storm that we know will cause shipwreck to the faith of apostates? Paul exhorts us: "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Eph. 6:10). "Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58). In the epistle of Jude, which is often called the Acts of the Apostates, we are exhorted "to contend earnestly for the faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).