In the Scriptures, Satan is known by many names, all of which describe some aspect of his character. In Revelation 12:9-11, the Greek word diabolos is used, which is the word that we get the English word “Devil”. Interestingly, the general Greek word, by itself, is an adjective meaning “slanderous”. However, within the Scriptures, it is often used as a noun, and can be literally translated “accuser” from the Greek word.
English translations of Revelation 12:9-10 use the term “devil” to describe Satan, but the whole passage makes clear that he is indeed an accuser. “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.’”
It’s interesting that out of all the ways that God could have described Satan, He did so by calling him “the accuser of our brothers”. Further, as the verse says, he even accused them before God Himself both day and night. The first thing I thought of as I read this was Job, where Satan stands before God and accuses Job of only honoring God because of all of the blessings he has been given. Satan then said if those blessings were removed, Job would curse God to His face. Our brother Job was accused before God, just as Revelation tells us. God then allowed Satan to test Job by removing the blessings he had been given. We are told of Job’s lamentations and his doubts, but God knew Job’s heart. Ultimately Job was able to continue to praise God and prove that he was all that God said he was. Yes, Satan was an accuser of Job, but he was proved to be a false accuser.
This is where we can truly see into Satan’s character. Our brothers and sisters within the Church are only brothers and sisters because of the uniting of ourselves with Christ. In Him we are no longer able to be accused of our sins, because his righteousness is counted (imputed) to us. If we are counted righteous, no accuser has any argument. Satan himself is an “accuser of our brothers”, but we are brothers through Christ, and because of Him, Satan, as we learned with Job, falsely accuses us of our sins in the face of Christ’s work on the cross.
That isn’t to say we do not sin, but those sins have been paid for by His blood. Satan desires that we focus on our sins, accusing us of falling. He tries to keep our focus and attention on our sins, instead of Christ. As I have talked about in previous posts, focusing on sin instead of Christ is dangerous. We try to deal with sin ourselves. I know for my own sins, especially sexual temptation, relying on myself is a recipe for failure. I am accused of lust, and instead of falling on my face before God, repenting, and looking to Christ for my assurance of pardon and salvation, I repent to God but stay focused on myself, strategizing for how I can beat the temptation next time.
This is how Satan would have us operate. He would accuse us of sin, have us dwell on it, never looking to the One who bought us in the first place. If we are to devote our lives to Christ because of His perfect sacrifice, how are we to do this apart from Him? The Spirit who enabled us to believe, who made us a new creation, will also be faithful to perfect us, making us more like Christ, until we are truly one with Him. Until we are perfected, we will stumble and fall, but we know that the false accuser has no argument against us, if we are in Christ.