Satan and his followers threw the blame for their rebellion on Christ. They declared that if they had not been rebuked, they would never have rebelled. Stubborn and defiant, yet blasphemously claim-ing to be innocent victims of oppressive power, the chief rebel and his sympathizers were banished from heaven (see Revelation 12:7-9).
Satan’s spirit still inspires rebellion on earth in unrepentant people. Like him they promise liberty through violating God’s law. Condemning sin still stirs up hatred. Satan leads people to justify themselves and to try to get the sympathy of others in their sin. Instead of correcting their errors, they spread resentment of the one who points out their sin, as if he were the cause of the difficulty.
Satan persuaded Adam and Eve to sin by using the same misrepresentation of God’s character as he had practiced in heaven. He made them think that God was severe and tyrannical. Then he claimed that God’s unjust restrictions had led to our first parents’ fall, as they had led to his own rebellion.
In banishing Satan from heaven, God declared His justice and honor. But when humanity sinned, God gave evidence of His love by offering up His Son to die for the fallen race. In the atonement we see the character of God revealed. The mighty argument of the cross demonstrates that sin was in no way the fault of God’s government. During the Savior’s earthly ministry, the great deceiver’s character was unmasked.
The daring blasphemy of his demand that Christ worship him, the unsleeping evil intent that hunted Jesus from place to place, inspiring the hearts of priests and people to reject His love and to cry, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”—all this drew the amazement and indignation of the universe. The prince of evil exerted all his power and crafty skills to destroy Jesus. Satan used human beings as his agents to fill the Savior’s life with suffering and sorrow. And on Calvary the pent-up fires of envy and spite, hatred and revenge, burst out against the Son of God.
Now Satan’s guilt stood out plainly, without excuse. He had revealed his true character. Satan’s lying charges against God’s character appeared as they truly were. He had accused God of seeking to exalt Himself by requiring obedience from His creatures. He had declared that while the Creator demanded self-denial from all others, He Himself practiced no self-denial and made no sacrifice.
Now it was clear that the Ruler of the universe had made the greatest sacrifice that love could make, for “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). In order to destroy sin, Christ had humbled Himself and become obedient to the point of death.