Giving Satan an Advantage, Part I, 2 Cor 2:11

Satan is a vicious, clever enemy.  Nevertheless, Jesus successfully defended himself against the temptations of the devil [Matt 4:1-11], cast him out of every person he possessed, who came to Jesus for healing [Acts 10:38], spoiled him and openly triumphed over him on the cross [Col 2:15], and will destroy him after his millennial reign [Heb 2:14; Rev 20:10].

In the meantime, Satan has cleverly transformed himself into an angel of light [2 Cor 11:14].  By his power, he keeps the lost in darkness [Acts 26:18] and blinds their minds from the light of the glorious gospel of Christ [2 Cor 4:3-4].  He’ll even come and take “away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved,” [Lk 8:12].  Yet, you can be saved by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.  You need to believe the gospel when you hear it preached.

From the moment we are saved, we are in a battle with Satan.  He is our adversary [1 Pet 5:8].  He will come after you as a roaring lion seeking to devour you.  He’ll wrestle against you to try to trip you, knock you off balance and throw you down [Eph 6:12].  He’ll try to deceive you with his “wiles” and stab you with his “fiery darts,” [Eph 6:11, 16].  He has a snare with which he can take you captive [2 Tim 2:26].  Though he is our enemy, God can even use him to destroy our flesh [1 Cor 5:4-5].  God certainly didn’t hold him back from destroying Job’s.

Thankfully, the Lord has given us the whole armor of God that we “may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” [Eph 6:11], in the power of the Lord’s might [Eph 6:10].  As long as we put on the whole armor of God [Eph 6:10-18] and are strong in the Lord [Eph 6:10], we can withstand in the evil day and stand [Eph 6:13].

According to 2 Cor 2:11, however, there are certain things that we can do that will give Satan an advantage over us.  That’s like giving him the higher ground in our warfare and the upper hand in our wrestling.  He’ll exploit the advantage and turn the battle.  We can’t afford to give him any advantage.  We give Satan an advantage over us through:

Unforgiveness – 2 Cor 2:10-11 – Before Christ died on the cross, God wouldn’t forgive you if you didn’t forgive men who trespassed against you [Matt 6:14-15].  However, after the cross, when we are saved, God forgives us based on what Jesus did for us on Calvary.  Therefore, because God has forgiven us for Christ’s sake, we should also forgive others [Eph 4:32].  When you don’t forgive others, Satan gets an advantage over you.  Look at the spiritual application that can be made from Matt 18:23-35.  We understand that this is dealing with “the kingdom of heaven,” [Matt 18:23].  But consider the Lord’s attitude toward the unforgiving servant who had been forgiven.  He “delivered him to the tormentors,” [Matt 18:34].  The Lord will let Satan work you over until you forgive others.  So, don’t give Satan this advantage.  Forgive.

Pride – 1 Tim 3:6 – this verse applies to novice pastors who are lifted up with pride.  They “fall into the condemnation of the devil.”  But don’t think that mature pastors are exempt when they are lifted up with pride.  Consider how pride destroyed the kings in the latter years of their reign [see Uzziah, for example, in 2 Chr 26:16].  The devil is the “king over all the children of pride,” [Job 41:34].  To take away this advantage from Satan, you must remain humble for the Lord to help you.  In Jas 4:6-7, God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.  When you submit to God and resist the devil, he will flee from you.  In 1 Pet 5:5-9, your resistance in faith against the devil is coupled with humbling yourself “under the mighty hand of God.”  So, don’t give Satan this advantage.  Humble yourself.

And if you are lost, you give Satan an advantage over you through:

Unbelief – 2 Thes 2:8-12 – unbelief is the sin that will put you in hell for eternity.  Notice that during the Tribulation, when the Wicked is revealed, whose coming is after the working of Satan, he deceives them that perish “because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”  They are all damned who believe not the truth.  Today, you can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and he will save you.  You won’t be damned.  You will never hear the Lord proclaim to you, “Depart from me ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” [Matt 25:41].  Instead, you will have eternal life and you will be with the Lord in heaven when you die [Jn 1:12; Jn 14:1-6].  

Conclusion: Don’t let the devil deceive you by convincing you to reject the truth.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.  And if you are already saved, then check your heart for unforgiveness and pride.  If you have either of these, go now and humble yourself and forgive those you need to forgive.  Take away these two advantages from the devil.