For seven chapters in Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices, Thomas Brooks lays out numerous facts about the devil, exposing our enemy’s tactics against us. He explains how Satan lures us, discourages us, and emotionally wrecks us. We learn how the devil keeps unbelievers from coming to Christ, and how he uses false teachers to spread lies.
And yet, despite the mountain of evidence the author provides, some readers may still remain unconvinced of the necessity of these warnings.
So, in his final chapter, Brooks offers the following six facts about the devil “to prevent objections.” Having said all he has said, Brooks lays down counter-arguments against those who say these teachings are unnecessary.
We break down those facts about the devil for you here in plain language.
1: We shouldn’t blame Satan for all our temptations
“Satan has only a persuading sleight, not an enforcing might,” writes Brooks. Our enemy wields influence, not authority. He presents us with a choice that is contrary to God’s will and word, persuades us of its benefits, and then watches as we stumble into darkness.
During this entire journey through Precious Remedies, we have seen Satan’s tactics for defeating us. Our enemy tempts us with the desire to sin, he lies to us about the consequences of sin, and he discourages us from living in victory over sin. But at no time does the devil create sin in our hearts or act alongside us in disobedience.
And while God will cast the devil into hell forever when he recreates heaven and earth, he will also eternally separate unrepentant sinners from him. Both the accuser and the accused will suffer the same fate. The blame must lie where it belongs: on the head and heart of the one who refuses God’s forgiveness in Christ.
It is the unrighteous, the unforgiven and uncleansed of sin, who will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9).
2: Satan does play a major role in most sins.
While we cannot shift the blame for our sin to Satan, we see his hand in its influence. Scripture portrays this enemy as a consistent secondary character. He works as a chief antagonist against the story’s primary players.
When the Israelites reached Canaan after God rescued them from Egypt, they sent 12 men to survey the land and spy out the people (Num. 13). Two returned with a favorable report, encouraging their tribes to advance to victory. But the other ten sowed fear into the Israelites’ hearts, saying God was leading them to death and defeat.
Satan’s role in our disobedience is like this. We know God’s word and understand how to obey it. But the enemy presents an opposing case. Then, it is our choice whom we believe and trust. Thus our outcome depends on what we fear more: the potential, worldly cares of going the right way, or God’s sure disapproval of our wrongdoing.
3: Satan does not tempt without permission
Brooks turns to the most obvious example in Scripture where Satan receives permission to do his evil work. This passage in Job reminds us God and Satan are not equal-but-opposite powers. God, in his sovereignty, allows our enemy certain license to tempt and try us.
Job, in all his suffering, did not receive from Satan a single temptation to sin that God did not permit. The Lord, knowing Job to be righteous, allowed his servant to suffer both worldly loss and the temptation to disbelieve because of it.
But Job did not give Satan that second level of permission.
4: Only spiritual weapons are useful in fighting Satan
If you’ve been with us on this entire journey through Precious Remedies, you’ll recall a post at the beginning about Pastor Paul’s spiritual warfare toolbox. That’s just a clever way of referring to the armor of God he outlines in Ephesians 6.
And if you remember one thing about that passage, let it be that the sword of the Spirit – the word of God – is your only offensive weapon. Read through the examples Brooks provide of how to parry the enemy’s attacks, swinging back and thrusting forward with the truth.
God’s truth is the mighty weapon that will defeat our mighty enemy. In order to wield it, we must know it. Every hour we spend studying the Bible will return to us as a weapons cache, a fortified stronghold of truth in our time of need.
“It is not spitting at Satan’s name, nor crossing yourselves, nor leaning to your own resolutions, that will get you the victory.”
Satan tempts us with lies. So, we fight him with truth.
5: Satan’s names reveal his nature
The name of Barnabus, Paul’s great missionary partner, means “son of encouragement.” He earned this nickname through his nature. What nickname might others give you based on your behavior patterns?
And what do we know of our enemy by how the scriptures name him?
Thomas Brooks says Satan is “sometimes called Behemoth.” In modern English Bible translations, the only use of that word is in Job 40:15, where God refers to the literal animal. Brooks may have been referring also to Revelation’s multiple mentions of “the beast.”
The focus here isn’t as much on a specific animal as on its nature. The idea is of something menacing, imposing, and dangerous. It’s a threat you can’t quite describe. There’s an legendary aspect to its quality. Satan as behemoth is a force you would not want to face alone or unprepared.
Revelation 12:10 calls Satan the “accuser of our brothers,” who never stops accusing the children of God of wrongdoing. This is why we need what John in his first epistle calls “an advocate,” one who speaks to the Father in our defense. Jesus’s counter-arguments undo Satan’s accusations.
Peter’s first epistle says our adversary is “like a roaring lion,” seeking its next meal. Hunger drives a lion in a constant hunt for blood. Brooks reminds us that our enemy does not rest between victims.
Satan is both the destroyer and destruction itself. In Revelation 9:11 we learn the “king” over the destructive locust plague is the devil. In the same way a king’s subjects carry out his will, so those under Satan’s dominion do his bidding. The output of a wicked kingdom can only be wickedness.
Satan is a crafty and cunning enemy. But God’s word has marked him with a list of names that reveal his character and his motivation. We have only to agree with the Bible’s assessment of him to understand what a danger he is to our spiritual lives.
6: God will tread Satan under our feet
It would be more than enough to see the Lord stamp out the presence of Satan forever, Christ being the victor over our great enemy. Yet Paul, at the end of his letter to the church in Rome, says God will soon crush Satan under our feet. God allows his children to take part in the humiliation of our accuser.
It is in the daily walking in obedience to Christ’s will and word that we win this victory. Each time we say no to the devil’s temptations, we march farther toward our battle’s end. Thomas Brooks has more than proved his point in these facts about the devil, that he is a formidable foe. But he leaves us with more than enough promise of his sure defeat.