Friday, 19 June 2015
…lest Satan should take advantage of us; 2 Corinthians 2:11
Paul has been addressing forgiveness and now he gives a very important reason for it – “… lest Satan should take advantage of us.” Here he gives the devil’s proper name, Satan. It means “an adversary,” “an accuser,” or “an enemy.” The devil (Satan) is this adversary, accuser, and enemy of both God and man. Paul had first recommended that the Corinthians “…deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5). However, because of the circumstances, he was now taking the avenue of forgiveness and reconciliation.
This path is taken so “lest Satan should take advantage of us.” The verb for “take advantage of” indicates to “overreach.” In essence, it is “a game against the Tempter, in which the souls of men are at once the counters and the stake” (Ellicott). A spiritual match of wits and strategy was being waged and Paul wanted to ensure that the devil would not succeed in his efforts to harm the souls of either the man in particular or the congregation in general.
His reason for this is given, “…for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Paul had a great amount of experience in waging this battle against the devil. In Ephesians 6, he writes concerning the spiritual warfare around us and specifically “the wiles of the devil” in verse 11. He also notes later in this letter that “a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan” (2 Corinthians 12:7). In writing to the Thessalonians, he notes that Satan actually hindered his way in visiting them.
In these and other instances, it is apparent that Paul knew well that Satan is a powerful adversary and that he needed to stay ahead of him always.
Life application: The spiritual battle is real and we need to be aware of it. Keeping in the word, staying close to God in prayer, and remaining united to other believers in close fellowship are all ways that this battle can be effectively handled and won.
Lord, I know that the devil is a real adversary and that he has his schemes set to bring down any one of us at just the right moment. Help me Lord to be strong in You and to stay close to You through Your word, through prayer, and through fellowship with other believers. I know that only in this way will I be able to stand against his work. Help my morals to be upright, my tongue to be pure, and my heart to be soft toward righteousness that I might not sin against You. Amen.