Satan the Scapegoat

If the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist, the second greatest was convincing Christians they aren’t responsible for their sin.

It’s common now for Christians to say that some demon or even Satan himself caused them to sin. And because of that, these Christians don’t take responsibility for their sins, their rationale being that the devil made them do it, not their own desires. Frankly, it’s an absurd thought for a variety of reasons.

First, for a demon to control you in that way, it would have to possess you. There are exactly zero cases in scripture of demons coming anywhere close to possessing a true believer (the closest thing we see is Jesus telling Satan to get behind Him when addressing Peter in Mark 8, and even then it’s only to point out a lie Satan may have told, not to deal with possession).

Second, when Paul referred to his own sin, and by extension the sin of all Christians, he spoke of the sin WITHIN us:

“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭7:14-18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It’s not demonic spiritual forces that cause us to sin; it’s the sinful desires of our own flesh as we fail to put it to death.

Now, let’s say for the sake of argument that demons can deliberately cause and force a Christian to sin, even though they absolutely can’t, though they can tempt us.  We’re still held responsible for our sin, because as Christians we’ve been given this kind of authority, listed as part of a list of commands James gives to the church:

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

‭‭James‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

So, under the authority that Christ gave us, if we simply resist the devil, he will flee. And if you ever think your temptation is too difficult to resist, look at this:

“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:12-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There’s nothing that excuses us from the blame for our sin. A Christian can’t possibly argue that they aren’t responsible for their sin.

So what do we do with this?

Take responsibility for our actions, for starters. Understand that we are sinners by choice who are in need of our saviour. That’s the Gospel, after all.

Repentance is not truly repentance if there is no admission of guilt. We cannot grow more like Christ if we do not acknowledge the parts of us that are not Christ-like. Just something to think about.


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