2 Corinthians 2:11 reads, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
Brethren, I would direct your attention to the opening phrase of this verse – “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us.” Let us then consider three truths concerning our spiritual warfare against our adversary the devil and concerning the manner by which he might get a spiritual advantage over us.
Our Spiritual Warfare against Our Adversary the Devil
As the children of God, we are in a spiritual warfare against our adversary the devil and against his spiritual forces of wickedness. In fact, this truth is bound up in the devil’s name “Satan” that is employed in 2 Corinthians 2:11; for his name “Satan” means “the adversary.” The devil, Satan, is our spiritual adversary. He is our spiritual enemy. He is the one who stands in spiritual opposition to us. He is the one who ever seeks spiritually to damage and destroy our daily Christian walk. Even so, 1 Peter 5:8-9 declares, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” Our adversary, Satan, that old serpent, the devil, is ever hunting for prey and ever seeking for some Christian life to devour. Thus we are instructed to be sober and vigilant spiritually and to resist him steadfastly “in the faith.”
Yea, Ephesians 6:12 defines the nature of this spiritual warfare, saying, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood [that is – against other human beings], but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The people of this world, the programs of this world, the problems of this world, and the philosophies of this world are not our real spiritual enemy. Certainly this present evil world and its ungodly influences are contrary to our daily Christian walk. Yet this present evil world and its ungodly influences are just the front lines of our adversary the devil. Our primary enemy is the wicked one himself and his spiritual forces of wickedness. Even so, in 1 Timothy 6:12 we are instructed to “fight the good fight of faith.” Yet again in 2 Timothy 2:3 the instruction is given, “Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Brethren, at the moment of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our eternal Savior, we were adopted into the family of God as his own dear children. Certainly, in this there is a great and an eternal privilege. Yet at that very same moment of salvation, we were also enlisted into the spiritual army of the Lord as soldiers of Jesus Christ. Even so, in this there is a great and an eternal responsibility.
Our Spiritual Advantage over Our Adversary the Devil
Indeed, as the children of God, we are in a spiritual warfare against our adversary the devil and against his spiritual forces of wickedness. Yet as the children of God, we naturally have a spiritual advantage over our adversary the devil and his spiritual forces of wickedness. 2 Corinthians 2:11 indicates that our adversary the devil must employ his devices against us in order that he “should [or, might] get” an advantage over us. Yet if he must employ his devious devices in order to acquire this advantage over us, then we may conclude that we start with a spiritual advantage over him. Indeed, this is a truth that we find throughout God’s Word.
First, we naturally possess a spiritual advantage over our adversary the devil because God our heavenly Father has already determined his final, complete, and eternal judgment in the lake of fire. Even so, the prophecy of Revelation 20:10 gives the report, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet arc, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Second, we naturally possess a spiritual advantage over our adversary the devil because our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has already laid the foundation for his final defeat. Even so, Hebrews 2:14-15 proclaims concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
Third, we naturally possess a spiritual advantage over our adversary the devil because we ourselves can have present, daily victory in and through our Lord Jesus Christ. Even so, the opening portion of 2 Corinthians 2:14 declares, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.” Yet again Revelation 12:11 proclaims, “And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
Fourth, we naturally possess a spiritual advantage over our adversary the devil because we can be spiritually strong and can spiritually stand in the power of our Lord’s almighty strength. Even so, Ephesians 6:10-11 gives the instruction and the promise, saying, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Fifth, we naturally possess a spiritual advantage over our adversary the devil because the weapons and instruments of our spiritual warfare are almighty through the Lord our God. Even so, 2 Corinthians 10:4 declares, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” In addition, Ephesians 6:13-18 gives the instruction, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench ail the fiery darts of me wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
Sixth, we naturally possess a spiritual advantage over our adversary the devil because our almighty Lord God will fight for us and with us as we engage in the good fight of faith for His name’s sake. Even so, in Deuteronomy 3:22 the instruction was given concerning the enemies of God’s people, “Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you.” Yet again in Deuteronomy 20:3-4 the instruction was given, “And shall say unto them. Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; for the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.”
Seventh, we naturally possess a spiritual advantage over our adversary the devil because because our all-wise Lord God Himself will teach us how to fight the good fight of faith. Even so, in Psalm 144:1 David proclaimed, “Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.”
Eighth, we naturally possess a spiritual advantage over our adversary the devil because our almighty Lord god is our spiritual protection and defense in the good fight of faith. Even so, Psalm 91:1-7 proclaims, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, he is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.”
The Devil’s Advantage over Our Christian Walk
Indeed, as the children of God, we naturally have a spiritual advantage over our adversary the devil and his spiritual forces of wickedness. Yet as the children of God, if we harbor an unforgiving spirit in our heart, our adversary the devil will get a spiritual advantage over us. Even so, 2 Corinthians 2:11 gives the warning, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Yet how will this advantage be given over to our adversary the devil? 2 Corinthians 2:7-10 reveals the answer, saying, “So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ.” Forgiveness is the key to this passage. Brethren, we are to maintain a spirit and heart of forgiving toward one another. Why? “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us.” If we do not maintain and practice a spirit and heart of forgiveness toward one another, our adversary the devil will get a spiritual advantage over us and will begin to devour our daily Christian lives. Even so, Ephesians 4:26-27 gives the instruction, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil.” We must not “give place to the devil” by harboring an angry, unforgiving spirit toward another. We must not give him this open door whereby he might acquire a spiritual advantage over us. Rather, we must ever be tenderhearted toward one another and must ever be quick to forgive one another of their trespasses against us. “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us.”
My beloved brethren, is there anyone against whom you are harboring an angry and unforgiving spirit? Oh, that you might see this spirit as an evil spirit! Oh, that you might see this spirit as a grief to the Holy Spirit of God who is within you! Oh, that you might see this spirit as an instrument of the devil, that he might get a spiritual advantage over you! Oh, that you might make things right with the Lord your God and with the one against whom you are harboring this grudge!