delusional

©2021 michael martin | ask@lifefellowship.org

a foregone conclusion?

In the ongoing battle between God and evil, it’s easy to forget that the end of the story is already written, and the outcome is already known.

When God showed Satan’s coming doom to the Apostle John, he recorded it this way:

revelation 20:1-3

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

In the above passage, after all the havoc Satan had caused throughout history, it only required a single angel, sent by God, to seize Satan, bind him and imprison him in the Abyss. There is no battle or struggle recorded here. Satan simply isn’t powerful enough to mount a noteworthy resistance.

And after being imprisoned for a millennium, Satan is released, and he attempts to mount one final, massive assault on God’s people:

revelation 20:7-10

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth–Gog and Magog–to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Here, Satan gathers what is perhaps the largest army ever seen. It shapes up to be an epic and fearful battle. Yet, before the battle can ever take place, God defeats Satan and his army in a most anti-climactic turn of events, as fire from heaven devours the army and Satan is thrown into the lake of burning sulfur. No one even breaks a sweat.

Satan’s defeat is humiliatingly simple. It is complete, irreversible, and undeniable.

And yet, despite all of this being clearly foretold in Scripture, Satan persists. Why?

the delusion of sin

Although Satan has undoubtedly read the Scriptures and seen his defeat written out there, he attacks (and does other things) anyway for two reasons:

1. Satan is a murderer and a liar, and that’s what he does, despite the circumstances. It is a "scorched earth" policy.

2. Satan is delusional

Let’s talk about the delusion part.

delusion:

something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated

noun

1. something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated

2. an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.

You might say that a delusion amounts to believing oneself rather than believing the truth. There are many examples of this in Scripture. Here are a few of them:

delusions in scripture

2 thessalonians 2:9-12

9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

psalms 4:2

2 How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame ?

How long will you love delusions and seek false gods ?

Selah

jeremiah 14:13-14

13 But I said, "Ah, Sovereign LORD, the prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’ "

14 Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.

jeremiah 23:25-27

25 "I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27 They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name through Baal worship.

satan is not the only delusional person...

Satan persists in his attempts to defeat God and His people, even though his own doom is foretold, because despite this, Satan is still delusional enough to think that he will win anyway.

But isn’t that what we all do? We ALL sin and do the wrong thing, even though the Bible tells us not to, and even though the Bible warns us of the consequences of sin. God’s Word tells us beforehand that it will not turn out well for us if we sin, and yet we do it anyway, because we are also delusional. We believe ourselves instead of believing God.

Here’s what the Bible says about our own delusional tendencies:

james 1:14

but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things

and beyond cure.

Who can understand it?

romans 7:15-20

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Anytime we sin, we are acting on the delusion that we know better than God. In our delusion, we think that we will somehow escape the consequences of sin and wrongdoing.

But we are wrong. Every single time.

Yes, Satan is delusional. It’s why he persists in his evil despite knowing he has lost. But we are no different.

So, instead of being delusional and believing our own sinful, deceitful hearts, why not believe God and His truth instead?

After all, His Word tells us how that will work out too.