The Subtlety of Satan – Mark Gervais

Deep South Founders Conference

Session 6 – Saturday Morning Service – January 14, 2012

Mark Gervais

The Subtlety of Satan

Genesis 3:1-6

The vast majority of people who call themselves Christian do not believe in the existence of Satan, but rather just an amalgamation of the evil of mankind. However, the Bible assumes that Satan exists.

Genesis 3:1 describes Satan as subtle. It also is translated as crafty. Something that is subtle is not readily obvious. It is something that requires us to think. Satan hides his real intentions by a different outward appearance. The word subtle is related to the opposite of the word naked in Genesis 1:25. Adam and Eve were not hiding anything.

Why is the serpent said to be more crafty than the beasts of the field? Was he not an angel? Because of the fall of Satan, Satan was placed in a position where Adam was to take authority over him in the same way that Adam was to have dominion over the beasts of the field. Temptation comes from those things that should be subservient to us.

The dialogue of Satan with Eve:

1) Satan begins with a question. This question is a twisting of God’s word in order to plant doubt. The question attempts to plant the seed of usurping God’s authority.

2) Eve responds by adding and changing God’s words. She added “touching” and she did not call the forbidden tree by its proper name.

3) Satan contradicts God’s statement of the consequences of eating from the tree. This statement plants a seed of rationalization.

4) Satan then offers Eve an alternative form of happiness. But it is poison wrapped in a subtle wrapper. It is spiritual suicide wrapped in an appearance of happiness.

Satan tried the same subtle approach with Jesus Christ in the wilderness. And this subtlety is the same means that Satan operates in the world today. See 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. This is also seen in Romans 1:18-32.

1) Romans 1:18-20 begins with the truth that God exists and everyone knows it.

2) But Satan has made people doubt the veracity of God.

3) Next, Satan has given people a rationalization that they are god.

4) Next, Satan offers people alternative forms of happiness.

5) And finally, people deal with the wrong they do by getting everyone else to participate in their sins.

Satan is also subtle in how he deals with the church. Satan does not attack the church openly,  but in subtle ways. He just tries to shift the gospel a little.

1) He starts with questions that cause doubt. Did Jesus really do everything needed?

2) He then creates a rationalization about the self-centeredness of the gospel.

3) He then offers an alternative form of happiness – morality and therapy – doing good and feeling good.

What is our response? Be sober-minded, be watchful, be observant, be able to discern, notice the times in which we live.

Satan is subtle. But God is not. And we must not be either. Everything about salvation was/is done in public and is open to scrutiny. See 2 Corinthians 4:2. We must proclaim the full counsel of the word of God in the public arena with no subtlety.


Subtlety of Satan by Mark Gervais


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