The Slandering Work of Satan
Satan’s desire is to prevent as many people as possible from experiencing the abundant life that is found through faith in Jesus Christ. As God’s enemy, he wants to thwart and disrupt God’s plans. He attacks the very things that are God’s best weapons in the battle for the souls of men. The book of Revelation tells us that Satan is a slanderer, and a key part of his game plan is to do everything he can to defame that which uniquely makes God beautiful.
The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. (Revelation 13:5-6, italics mine)
This verse gives us an open window into the strategy behind Satan’s poisonous tongue. We are told he loves to slander three things.
1. God’s person
Satan’s first attack is to slander God. And why wouldn’t he? Satan hates God, and his first attack is his most direct. The devil aims to spread lies about God, smearing his character and even casting doubt on his existence.
How often have you heard blasphemous words uttered about God? It’s a daily occurrence! Behind every vicious indictment of the Lord, or every faithless doubt about his true goodness, is the slandering work of Satan. When God’s name is taken in vain; when an atheist declares God to be a figment of the imagination; when a person attributes God’s work to a false god; when God’s character is called into question; when man glorifies himself instead of the Lord—these are all evidence that Satan’s slander of God’s person has taken foothold in the human heart.
2. God’s place
Satan doesn’t just slander God, he also loves to slander “God’s place”. Heaven is God’s dwelling, and Scripture portrays it as a place of perfection, beauty, and abundance. In heaven God’s glory shines forth uninhibited. There exists no pain, no sadness, and no death. Because God is there in his fullness, there is nothing but life and joy and healing in heaven. It is the most wonderful of places!
Yet this is not the popular notion of heaven. Many people conceptualize heaven as incredibly boring. It is assumed that heaven is the place of never-ending church services, where we sing and play harps while floating in the clouds for a million years and beyond. Who in their right mind would want to go there?
This mischaracterization of heaven is due to the slandering work of Satan. He seeks to portray heaven in as unappealing a fashion as possible, so that people will not be all that compelled to consider it with any real thought. Yet humanity yearns for heaven! Do you desire a world that is free from all of the trouble that currently plagues it? Do you desire to see cancer done away with? Wars come to an end? Strife to cease? Love to prevail? This is the echo of the human heart longing for heaven. But because of the slandering work of Satan, we just don’t recognize it.
3. God’s people
Satan slanders God’s person, God’s place, and also God’s people. He seeks to slander them to discredit the work of God in people’s lives to the unbelieving world. It is frequently said by many that there are no real differences between Christians and non-Christians. Both get divorced, lie, act hypocritically, and the like. But this is not really the case. Christians certainly still sin and are by no means perfect, but true born-again believers experience a change that leads them into lives of godliness. This truth is marred by the fact that many people who profess to be Christians really are not.
No Christian is perfect, but true faith brings about a life of Christlike love in every one of God’s people. A radical life change occurs, to the point where Christians—like Christ before them—can and will pray for their enemies and those who persecute them. Yet the godly acts of saints are rarely portrayed in the media; instead all of the crazy, nut-job Christians who don’t live like Christ are the ones who make the news. Satan’s slandering work is behind this ploy.
Defeating Slander With the Truth
The only way to overcome the slandering work of Satan is to proclaim the truth about God’s person, his place, and his people. This must be done with gentleness and respect, not harshness and spite. Perhaps God would find it fit to use our loving, truthful witness to turn hearts towards himself.
Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:25-26)