Should Christians Say “The Devil Made Me Do It”?
Is the devil to blame for every sin and suffering in the world? Can all evil and wickedness be blamed on the devil alone – or is man also accountable and responsible for his own actions? In spiritual warfare, does Satan act alone – or does he have the participation of man?
Satan, once known as Lucifer, was created to have freewill, just as man was also created with the ability to make freewill choices. However, because of the sin of pride Lucifer unsuccessfully attempted to take God’s throne together with a third of the angels whom he had deceived (Isaiah 14:12-15; Revelation 12:4).
The devil is the archenemy of both God and mankind and Satan’s primary goal is to kill, steal and destroy anything that God loves and has created (John 10:10).
In 1 Peter 5:8 the devil is described as an adversary who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
The Bible also reveals the devil to be “the god of this world” who sets out to deceive people from knowing God and receiving the Gospel (1 Corinthians 4:4).
However, even though sin and evil began with Satan, the Bible reveals that not all evil and suffering can be blamed on the devil alone.
When we read Genesis 3:1-24 we learn that even though Satan was the tempter, it was all 3 individuals, being Adam, Eve and the devil who were held accountable and responsible for their actions.
After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam blamed Eve and then Eve blamed the serpent. However God individually punished all 3 parties and held all 3 accountable for sinning against Him (Genesis 3:8-19).
Therefore to claim “the devil made me do it” when we individually sin is totally unbiblical and becomes a false attempt to absolve ourselves from individual responsibility when we sin against God.
People are inclined to blame the devil in order to justify their own sinful actions or ignore the individual accountability they have towards God.
While the devil is certainly the architect of many evil and demonic systems that exist in this world, the problem of evil and suffering in our world is partly due to the individual sinful nature of man.
In Jeremiah 17:9-10 God says: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10 “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
In Matthew 15:19 Jesus says that out of the human heart comes forth “evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” and these things defile the man.
Romans 3:23 says that every human being has sinned against a righteous and holy God.
Romans 3:10-12 says: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Therefore since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, mankind has been willingly rebelling against God by abusing his freewill to disobey God’s word.
So God does not only hold Satan responsible for sin, but mankind will also face judgment because of sin.
Can Satan Make Us Do Anything?
Unless a person has become demon possessed, the devil cannot force anyone to do anything against their freewill. The devil can persuade, coerce, tempt or deceive. However the devil has no authority except the one you give him.
Ephesians 4:27 says “and do not give the devil a foothold”.
James 4:7 says that we should “resist the devil and he will flee”.
2 Corinthians 2:11 says that we must not be ignorant of the devil’s devices or schemes.
It is only through a relationship with Jesus Christ and obedience to God’s word that we can overcome the temptations and schemes of the devil.
Just as Jesus used the Scriptures to defeat all of Satan’s temptations (Matthew 4:1-11), God has equipped every Christian believer to overcome the devil’s advances.
Ultimately the devil will soon face God’s final judgment for his individual rebellion against God.
Revelation 20:10 says: And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever
Human sin also has consequences. One of the reasons why the world is in chaos is because of the existence of human sin.
However Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross so that we may have eternal life as a free gift and be saved from eternal punishment.
Romans 6:22-23 says: But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The only way we can escape the consequences of our individual sins is to accept as Lord & Saviour the One who was crucified for our sins on the cross – Jesus Christ.
John 3:16-18 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”