Q. When we are being tempted we like to say that it is Satan. But I’m curious, is it actually Satan himself or typically our sin nature? I have asked friends whether they thought we had ever been in the presence of Satan himself and they said probably not, that Satan is too busy controlling higher level people to deal with the everyday person. By this I mean government officials, world leaders, someone who has more worldly influence. The thought of actually being in the presence of Satan is intimidating and scary, I know through Jesus my Lord and Savior I have power over him but it’s still terrifying.
A. I think you’re correct. I don’t believe there are very many people in the world who can say they’ve been in Satan’s presence. And most of us will never be “face to face” with a demon either.
But it doesn’t take any direct involvement by Satan or any of his associates to tempt us to sin. According to James 1:14-15 we’re tempted by our own evil desire, which is a product of our sin nature. As we allow ourselves to consider these evil desires (lust, envy, jealousy, vengeance, etc.) they begin to take shape in our minds. Even if we never go beyond thinking, giving them a place in our conscious mind is as much a sin as if we had actually acted on them.
There is ample evidence of this flaw in our make up in both the Old and New Testaments. For example, Jeremiah 17:9 tells us our hearts are deceitful above all things and beyond cure. And Paul said because of the sin that lived in him, it was impossible for him to only do the good he wanted to do, he couldn’t stop also doing the evil he didn’t want to do (Romans 7:19-20). We are no different from him
These and other verses tell us the propensity for sinning will be with us until we die or are raptured. But God in His infinite mercy doesn’t count these sins against us. Instead He attributes them to the sin that still lives within us. His ability to separate the sin from the sinner is what keeps us saved. Otherwise we would all have been irretrievably lost within a very short time after He saved us. But from His perspective, His Son’s once for all time sacrifice for sins has made us perfect forever (Hebrews 10:12-14). Thank you, Lord Jesus.