Satan bears many names. Satan has many schemes. Satan wears many hats. Satan comes in many disguises. And through it all, one of his favorite tactics and one of his most successful tactics is to be an accuser. The book of Revelation assures us that night and day he stands as our accuser.
1: one that charges with a fault or offense
2: one that charges with an offense judicially or by a public process
Satan is an Accuser and you know his accusations. You have heard him charge you with a fault, you have heard him proclaim your guilt. You have heard it in the courtroom of your heart and mind and conscience.
You commit a sin. You fall into that same old sin you've been battling, that sin you swore you wouldn't commit again. You discover a new sin and for a time revel in it. And then you hear the accusation. “You are guilty. You have committed an offense and need to be punished. You have offended God and he wants nothing to do with you. You have sinned beyond his grace. Give up.”
Satan stands between you, the offender, and God, the offended, and cries out that you are guilty, he cries out that you must be punished, he cries out that you deserve to have the consequences of this crime heaped upon you.
There is an Accuser.
There is also an Advocate.
John, who wrote the words of Revelation, also wrote these words (1 John 2:1-2): “My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
1: one that pleads the cause of another; specifically : one that pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court
2: one that defends or maintains a cause or proposal
3: one that supports or promotes the interests of another
When we sin and stand in that courtroom, there is one who cries out that we are guilty. And if he were the only one speaking about us before the judge we would be lost. We would be without hope.
But there is another. When this Accuser, this prosecuting attorney has finished speaking, another man stands. He is an advocate, a defense attorney. His job is to plead another person's cause, to stand between the offender and the judge.
He cannot plead that the offender is guiltless. That would be a lie. He will not speak what is false and he will obscure the facts. He will not deny what is irrefutable. Instead he will make this one plea: expiation. He will turn to the judge and say, “Yes, he committed the offense. Yes, he did what the Accuser says he did. But he is not guilty. He cannot be guilty, because I have already served the sentence for that offense. I served that sentence to the full so that your wrath against that offense was expiated. No guilt remains. There is nothing left to punish.”
The verdict is, and it must be, innocent. For justice has already been done.
Still, day after day, year after year, the Accuser stands in that courtroom and speaks of our guilt. And day after day, year after year, the Advocate speaks a more powerful word.
But some day this courtroom will be unnecessary. It will be dismantled. Before long Satan as Accuser will be no more. Satan the Accuser will be thrown down and destroyed. “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’.” Do you look forward to that day?