In our study of the Bible, we’ve been looking at the general subject of the Love of God, and the process by which Believers can appropriate and demonstrate that Love. This process of appropriating and demonstrating of this aspect of God’s love is post-salvation, not pre-salvation. Following our new birth, we are to grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures clearly point out many hindrances or road blocks to this process. One of the major oppositions to this process is the influence of Satan over Believers, even to controlling the Believer’s attitudes and actions.

The three major enemies in the Believer’s spiritual battle are the world the flesh and the Devil.

The Devil, of course, is himself. We need to know about our enemy. The flesh or the old sin nature was fostered, and is dominated by Satan. (3) Satan, through usurped authority from Adam, now controls the world and is the god of this world or age.

Therefore, the three major spiritual enemies are Satan, himself, the nature generated and controlled by Satan, and the world system of which Satan is the ruler or god. Satan, with his devises, is at the heart of every conflict of this spiritual warfare in which each Believer is engaged. Yet, the average Christian is ignorant of Satan and his devises.

2 Corinthians 2:11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.


The context of this particular passage is the improper or lack of forgiveness by Believers of other Believers. In other words, a Believer chooses not to forgive another member in the Body of Christ. This choice is contrary to Christ, Who chose to die on the Cross so that each could have full and free forgiveness. Christ, on the cross, provided all that is needed for the forgiveness of sinner and saint. Not only has Christ provided all that is needed for forgiveness, He offers forgiveness to any who will come to Him asking or appropriating that forgiveness.

Those in Christ (all Believers) who refuse to forgive another:

Matthew 6:15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

I need to point out again that there are many Biblical aspects to the term forgive or forgiveness. However, it must be understood that this passage is not referring to the aspect of forgiveness at the point of Salvation. The last part of this verse has reference to the day by day and moment by moment forgiveness of one whose trust is in Christ. The first part of the verse has to do with Believer forgiving other humans. This passage is addressed to and in reference to Believers who have the privilege of calling God their Father.

Control Transferred

There is much that needs to be studied in this area of forgiveness. However, our main purpose for looking at this subject is its relationship to our passage in 2 Corinthians 2:11. The lack of forgiveness by the Believer may not seem to be an area in which Satan gains control of the Believer, however, it is one of the most important areas concerning this subject. Look again at 2 Corinthians 2:11. It is concerning forgiveness or lack thereof by Believers that the Holy Spirit makes this statement: "Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices."

Advantage (Greek)
To gain or take advantage of another; to overreach into another’s affairs, such as to take title or birthright; gain control

When we do not live by or act in proper forgiveness of others, especially Believers, we open ourselves to the devises of Satan. Then Satan is able to overreach into our affairs and gain control. We, by our own choice, through improper forgiveness give Satan the right and opportunity to reach over his boundaries into the affairs of our lives.

As Believers, the affairs of our lives belong to God, because we have been bought with a great price by Christ’s blood. When Believers, through improper forgiveness, open the gate in God’s wall of protection around them, they invite Satan to reach-over and gain control in their lives.

When Satan is in control of even part of our lives, God cannot give us the spiritual blessings that come through the natural process of Christ controlling our lives. One of those spiritual blessings we lose, when we give control to Satan, is our personal daily forgiveness and cleansing by God.

Matthew 6:15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

This one subject of improper forgiveness and its consequences points out how difficult it is to properly glean the Biblical truth concerning Satanic control of the Believer. To understand even this one reference to Satan’s advantage over us, we need a clear understanding of God’s forgiveness, how it’s obtained, and how we are to forgive others through the forgiveness of God.

In this short study of the subject of forgiveness, we can’t scratch the surface of this great truth. However, If you would apply the little we have seen, it will make a world of difference to you personally and to the church as a whole.

To bring a little clearer understanding to this subject of forgiveness and its role in the Satanic control of Believers, let’s look briefly at another portion. Let’s see some highlights that will assist our understanding of this vast Biblical subject.

1 John 1:5-10 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

I am going to walk through this passage and give some running comments along the way. Try to stay with me and don’t get lost in the depth of the passage. There are great truths in this passage, many we will not even touch. We want to pull out those truths that deal directly with the subject of Satanic control of Believers through improper forgiveness. Notice the importance of this message. It is directly from Christ. God is total light, and the Satanic forces are total darkness. John, in this epistle, will carry this theme through to the antichrist, who is yet to come, and to the spirit of antichrist that is already present.

Walking the Talk

John goes on in v.6 to set the record clear as to the half-n-half, or mediocre Christians. If we declare our spiritual position as that of fellowship with Christ, and our walk and actions are not the same as our declaration, we are in trouble. When it comes to our spiritual status it's always better to allow our actions to declare our status, rather than advertising our spiritual status by claiming to be something. As a general rule, if you have to tell people that you are spiritual you aren't. That would make a good study some time, even though it would not be humanly enjoyable.

Back to v.6., if we declare or say that we have fellowship with Christ, and our walk is not according to the light or God’s directives, then we are in the state or condition of lying. That is Satan’s realm or condition. According to the Bible, Satan is the father of the lie, and there is no truth in him, and when he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own essence. In this state or condition of lying about our real walk, we are not practicing the truth. This practicing is not simply an act of doing or performing, but it is to have or to be living in the quality of, or to be endowed with this same truthlessness of Satan. If we say or declare that we are in fellowship with Christ, and our walk and actions are not according to the instructions of the Word of God, then we are not living or endowed with this quality of the light and truth of God’s essence. In this state, we are not living in God’s realm, but in Satan’s realm.

Don’t miss this just because we are hurrying over it. You don’t have to be murdering people, or robbing banks, nor do you don’t have to be a druggie to be living in the realm of Satan. All you have to do is to be living as a hypocrite, and say that you are in the light when your actions say something else.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If our actions and walk are of the light, then several things will be ours. Some of those are:

Please note, that this after Salvation forgiveness and cleansing is dependent on:

I wish we had more time to spend in this passage, but those are the facts we need to increase our understanding of the Believer vs. Satan. I remind you again, to even summarize this massive subject, we will pick up some information here and some over there, and will sometimes abruptly move from subject to subject. I ask that you pardon this teaching style, and even more, that you remember these seemingly isolated facts. Each of these facts will be needed to see the whole picture.

With that information and other facts we will pick-up along the way, let’s go back to our passage in 2 Corinthians 2:11 and add to it v.10. Then let’s look at some of the devices of Satan that are prominent when we refuse to grant another Believer the forgiveness that Christ has already provided.

2 Corinthians 2:10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Advantage (Greek)
To gain or take advantage of another; to overreach into another’s affairs, such as to take title or birthright; gain control

The two major devices of Satan are:

Satan has many fiery darts. However, all of those darts will come from the source of these two, and will be targeted at three areas of the human life:

Too often, Christians refuse to forgive those who have offended them. There are times when some Believers will not even forgive those who have not offended them. Sad to say, many Christians have never learned to forgive, or accept forgiveness. Some don’t have the foggiest idea what Biblical forgiveness is.

There is only one reason why a Believer will not forgive another in the family of God. That one reason is to punish the offending person for their offense. The logic behind the action of the non-forgiving Believer is usually made up of at least three components:

We could spend days answering each of these from Scripture. Instead, let me offer just a few quickies:

Without forgiveness the offended party may fake fellowship with Christ, by means of human emotions and nice sounding verbiage, but that process will only remove them further and further away from true fellowship with Christ.

James 4:10-12 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. 11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. who are you to judge another?James 5:8-11 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord, that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
Romans 14:9-13 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God." 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
  • The offending person must suffer at least as much as their offense caused.
    • Wouldn’t it be nice if God held to that same standard? Wow, If that were the case, each of us would have to suffer a long time like for all eternity. I’m glad that God makes the rules. He has provided grace in abundance for us through the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

As I pointed out earlier in the lesson, there is only one reason a Believer will not forgive another in the family of God. That one reason has many facets. Let’s examine that one reason in light of Satan’s devices. The only reason a Believer will not forgive another is so the other will be properly punished.

There may have been many avenues of reasoning taken during that decision process not to forgive, but when all those reasons are boiled down, it is still so the offending party will be punished, and the offended party is trying to carry out that punishment by withholding forgiveness. That, my friend, is in direct defiance to God and His word.

Any punishment or discipline used by one Believer to another 
should be only for the purpose of restoration, never punishment for the sake of punishment.

When any Believer tries to punish another for the sake of punishment, that Believer is following in the pattern of Satan. Satan wanted, and still wants the position of God that was not rightly his.

In the same manner, if a Believer tries to punish another so they will receive their proper due, then the Believer doing the punishing has tried to elevate themselves to the position of Christ. That is not a situation that anyone, especially a Believer should strive for.

John 5:21-23 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

Christ has earned the right to judge and pass sentence, because there was no sin in Him, and He paid the penalty for all sins past, present and future. If you can do likewise, you will be on your way towards gaining the right to give punishment for sins. When anyone tries to take, for themselves, the honor of judgment given by the Father to Christ, that person is dishonoring both Christ and the Father. Not a good situation to find oneself.

Hebrews 10:30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord." And again, "The Lord will judge His people."

Only Christ and Christ alone has never offended another, and He paid for the offenses of all others, therefore He has the right to vengeance. Christ’s vengeance will be according to righteousness and justice, not personal satisfaction, or selfish vindictiveness. When Believers try to take vengeance, they have elevated themselves to a position of a god above the true God, for only God has the right of vengeance.

vengeance (Hebrew)
to grudge i.e. to avenge or punish
avenge (Greek)
to vindicate; retaliate; punish; to carry out justice
vengeance (Greek)
vindication; retribution; punishment

Listen Believers. Do you want to avenge yourself of some wrong done to you? Well, first, you had better make sure that there is no sin in your life. Next, you must personally pay the price for the offense of the other. Then and then only do you have the right to withhold forgiveness and take vengeance.

If those things are not true in your life and you still attempt vengeance, then you have tried to steal what belongs to God, and you will have to pay for attempted theft of God’s property, as well as not receiving God’s forgiveness of your daily trespasses.

Folks, that’s way too high a price to pay for the momentary sadistic pleasure of seeing another suffer. 
John 8:3-8 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. 7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

To withhold forgiveness, and to personally inflict vengeance is Satan’s method. Follow that method if you like, but remember the quality of the company you will be keeping. God’s method is much different!

Romans 12:16-21 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. 20 "Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

May I point out a few very clear factors from this passage?

  • be careful of your own opinions
  • don't repay evil for evil
  • live peaceably as much as you can
  • do not avenge yourselves
  • get out of the way of God’s wrath
  • don’t be consumed (overcome) with the evil
  • do consume (overcome) the evil with good

Notice how different God’s way is than the way of many Christians. Many Christians do not follow God’s way, nor do they want to follow God’s way. If you don’t like God’s way, tell Him, not me. I’m only the messenger boy. If you are not following God’s way, you are following Satan’s way, and Satan is in control of your life. Believer, you need to take a moment and let that sink in.

As in any passage of the Bible, this portion in Romans 12:16-21 is a rich spiritual gold mine. Let’s pick out a few eternal nuggets dealing with our behavior as Believers in contrast to the behavior of those of their father the Devil. Our wisdom should not be based on our own opinions. Our wisdom should not even be based on our opinions with a few verses to back it. Our wisdom must be based on the entire Word of God in harmony. Our wisdom must be based only on the Word of God, and if the Bible says to do it, it should be done immediately.

Look at v.17 in connection with v.21. When our husband, wife, child or friend treats us unkindly, we have a tendency, no, we have a compulsion to return actions and attitudes of like-kind. That is not God’s way. That is Satan’s way. You do have a choice.

When anyone, spouse, parent, child, friend or enemy, treats you with evil, don’t let that evil dominate and consume your life and thinking. Instead, dominate or consume that evil with good provided by God through the Word of God empowered by the Holy Spirit.

You don’t know how to do that? Well, the Bible gives some very good instructions, and the Holy Spirit gives the power. It might be well to spend some time checking out the instructions and spend some time walking with the Holy Spirit to gain the spiritual stamina needed to be an overcomer, instead of being overcome and defeated by the evil that someone else committed.

forgiveness (Greek)
release as from bondage or imprisonment, etc.; t pardon by letting it go as if it had not been committed

Only Christ can forgive another of their sins. However, there are some of us who need to do some major forgiving on a human plane. Some of us have been hurt by a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend, and/or an enemy. Who caused the hurt, matters not.

What matters is that the evil of the event has overcome and consumed you. Every moment this evil dominates your life, it has robbed you of your contentment, your happiness, your hope, etc. For some, this has been the case for years on end. For others, the wound is still very fresh.

It matters not when it happened or what it was. What matters is how you responded and are responding to this event. Some of you have wasted you life, or part of it, trying to bring justice through personal vengeance. For some, this has become such a compulsion that you are sick spiritually and emotionally. You may not think so, but God and others can see that spiritual cancer of anger, hate, vindictiveness and bitterness eating its way through your life and effecting every action.

Christian homes are full of this satanic un-forgivingness. Our churches are full of this same satanic un-forgivingness. All the while Satan has that nasty grin of victory.

Galatians 5:14-16 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

As long as we are biting and devouring one another, Satan is winning, because we are controlled by Satan, not the Holy Spirit. Giving personal forgiveness is for your benefit, not the one you are forgiving.

Some of you have made your life a ghastly dungeon where day and night you carefully guard those attitudes of vengeance, and vindictiveness. You need to let go of those satanic attitudes and actions. You are living a defeated life, because you can never carry out that vengeance. Vengeance belongs to the Lord, give it back to Him.

When you forgive another, you release those things you held prisoner for so long, and that made your life nothing more than a prison house of despair. When you forgive, your life will change from a musty, dirty ’ol prison to a glorious place of worship flooded with the light of God’s glory. You will, also, be liberated from the self imposed 24 hour a day job as a prison guard, to the freedom of walking arm in arm with Christ in heavenly places.

We are approaching Independence Day. Yet, some of you are slaves to your vengeance, and un-forgivingness. Make this day your Independence Day. Give God back His rightful vengeance and know the freedom from Satan’s dominating vindictive attitudes. Know the freedom that comes by being forgiven, and the freedom that comes by your forgiveness to others.

Psalms 147:3-6 He heals the broken-hearted And binds up their wounds. 4 He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. 5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. 6 The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground.
Luke 4:17-19 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 "to preach the acceptable year of the Lord."
Psalms 34:18-19 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Psalms 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart-- These, O God, You will not despise.