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The Devil's Strategy

J. Oswald Sanders, Cultivation of Christian Character, (Moody Press, Chicago; 1965), pp. 81-83

His overall strategy is to supersede and overthrow the kingdom of God. It is a strategy of destruction. If he was too clever for man in his perfection in Eden, he has a much greater advantage over man in his fallen state.

It has been said that he plans to destroy human government through anarchy. Any student of history can trace this stratagem of the devil, the pervading activity of a malign power, poisoning the stream of human history. He is the mastermind behind the present world system with its lust for power and its political and economic intrigue.

He purposes to destroy human society through debauchery. Any student of sociology can trace a similar pattern in the cycles of human history. In our own day we have seen the world flooded with moral filth to a degree inconceivable fifty years ago.

He aims to destroy true religion through apostasy. Any student of theology and church history can discern recurring heresies and apostasies through the centuries. And in our own day there has been a widespread recrudescence of many of the old heresies in the heretical cults which have been spawned and are now encircling the globe.

As the god of this age, he has set up a complete counterfeit of Christianity. Not without reason did Augustine term him Simius Dei, the ape of God. He has his own trinity&md;the devil, the beast, and the false prophet; his own church&md;the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9); his own ministers&md;ministers of Satan (II Cor. 11:15); his own gospel&md;another gospel (Gal. 1:6); his own theology&md;doctrines of devils (I Tim. 4:1); his own sacrifices&md;sacrifices offered to demons (I Cor. 10:21); his own table and cup (I Cor. 10:21-22).

Everything about him is false. He uses false and counterfeit instruments to achieve his purpose. He employs false teachers (Acts 20:30; II Peter 2:1) who specialize in his theology and "bring in damnable heresies." They "creep in privily" into the churches and subtly mix truth with error. He enlists the support of false prophets (II Peter 2:1; Matt. 24:11). Professing to have a message from God, they in reality draw their inspiration from hell. He promotes false Christs (Matt. 24:4-5), self-constituted messiahs and deliverers. He [is] aided by false apostles, deceitful workers (II Cor. 11, 13), and false brethren (Gal. 2:4-5) who steal in to spy out the liberty of believers, in order to draw them back into legal bondage.

Paul sums up this aspect of the devil's activities in these words: "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (II Cor. 11:14-15).