“And he went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out demons” (Mark 1:39).
Jesus preached in the synagogues and cast out demons; naturally, that’s where they were, doing their work against God’s own people.
The consciousness of demonic work in the Church seems to have faded in recent years and what this tells us is that this work goes on unnoticed and unresisted; Satan hasn’t diminished his efforts in any way; he has just deceived God’s people into a state of spiritual apathy where the capacity to discern what is taking place in the spiritual world is lost. His deception of the Church about these things is probably Satan’s greatest victory in these days.
Every unregenerate man is deceived firstly by his own “deceitful heart” (Jeremiah 17:9) and deceived by sin (Hebrews 3:13); the god of this world then blinds the mind, so that the light of the gospel of Christ should not dispel the darkness (2 Corinthians 4:4) and free those taken captive to demonic bondages (2 Timothy 2:26).
If the regenerating life of God reaches the man, all it means is that Satan’s efforts are redoubled; conversion will allow the blinding of the mind to be removed, to the extent that the deceptive lies of the enemy are dislodged by the light of truth. But even though the heart is renewed and the will has turned to God, the deeply ingrained disposition towards the self and the presence, in some measure, of the blinding power of the deceiver, will continue to exercise some influence against growth in grace and truth.
The scripture is replete with warnings of the deception that can work in the lives of Christians, of which the following are just a few examples;
If he is a hearer, and not a doer, of the Word (James 1:22);
If he says he has no sin (1 John 1:8);
If he thinks himself to be “something” when in fact he is nothing (Galatians 6:3);
If he thinks he is wise in this world or age (1 Corinthians 3:18);
If he thinks he will sow and not reap what he has sown (Galatians 6:7);
If he thinks that evil associations will not have a deleterious effect on him (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Knowledge of truth is the primary safeguard against deception; “Take heed, I have told you” said Jesus (Matthew 24:45). That personal knowledge, gained by revelation of the Holy Spirit, is available to all who believe; it is the best and only defence against deception which, we are warned, is set to increase in the last days.
It is up to each one to fight the battle individually; Calvary stands forever as the revelation of God’s way in working out His redemptive purposes in man. Satan works for time, because he knows that his time is short, but God works for eternity; through death to life; through defeat to triumph; through suffering to joy.
That is God’s way.