2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
A crazy question came to my mind yesterday: Are we supposed to love Satan? Are we supposed to treat “THE Enemy” just as we treat our other earthly enemies and actually love him? This may sound like some insane theological conundrum, but really the answer is very simple: No, we are not supposed to love Satan. And the reasons for that answer go right to the heart of the gospel.
First of all, we have to remember who Satan is.
And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
2 Corinthians 11:14
And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison…
10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
In case you didn’t catch the idea, we know from Scripture that Satan is a rebel against God, a former angel and leader of angels who chose his path long ago, knowing the eternal consequences of his actions. Satan is an accuser, persecutor, deceiver, and enemy of God. And as it is written, the end result of Satan’s rebellion is that he will be condemned. There is no changing that outcome. So, whether you love or hate Satan makes no difference whatever in HIS life – but it has eternal consequences in YOUR life.
You see, we are to hate sin, to hate lying and deception, not to be a friend of the world and all it stands for. (See James 4:1-6) Satan is the father of lies, the deceiver who can cause us to sin. As such, he deserves our fear and watchfulness, not our love. Satan is not to be pitied for the choice he made, he is to be avoided at all costs lest he drag us down with him.
However, those whom Satan leads astray can be saved and should be loved. As Paul reminded the Romans, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:20) When Jesus told us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48), He was telling us that so we could learn the perfect forgiveness and love of our heavenly Father – the love that leads others to salvation through grace. Satan cannot be redeemed, but our brothers and sisters led astray by Satan CAN be redeemed – through God’s love.
However, if those led astray do NOT turn from the false teachings they get from worldly leaders, if they refuse to repent, then they WILL be condemned right along with Satan. We must teach as many as we can to love God’s truth as it is given to us through Christ and through God’s holy Word, the Bible. We must help our wayward friends and relatives to turn aside from their “pleasure in unrighteousness” and return to God. If not, the Bible is quite clear about the fact that they will be condemned. So, let us work together against Satan and put our love in the right place – in God. Let us work to open the eyes of all our brethren to the gospel of truth, that they may avoid Satan’s fate and come to understand and receive God’s love and forgiveness.
Gracious Lord God, I thank You that You have warned us about Satan and the deceptions he causes. I praise You that You sent Your Son to overcome Satan and to bring us back to You. Teach us that perfect love You have, and help us to break the hold of the deceiver on the lives of our loved ones. Amen.
My many thanks not only to God but to the friend who challenged me on this crazy idea.
Praise be to God!