Satan and his host threw the blame of their rebellion upon Christ; if they had not been reproved, they would never have rebelled. Stubborn and defiant, yet blasphemously claiming to be innocent victims of oppressive power, the archrebel and his sympathizers were banished from heaven. See Revelation 12:7-9.
Satan’s spirit still inspires rebellion on earth in the children of disobedience. Like him they promise men liberty through transgression of the law of God. Reproof of sin still arouses hatred. Satan leads men to justify themselves and seek the sympathy of others in their sin. Instead of correcting their errors, they excite indignation against the reprover, as if he were the cause of difficulty.
By the same misrepresentation of the character of God as he had practiced in heaven, causing Him to be regarded as severe and tyrannical, Satan induced man to sin. He declared that God’s unjust restrictions had led to man’s fall, as they had led to his own rebellion.
In the banishment of Satan from heaven, God declared His justice and honor. But when man sinned, God gave evidence of His love by yielding up His Son to die for the fallen race. In the atonement the character of God is revealed. The mighty argument of the cross demonstrates that sin was in no wise chargeable upon the government of God. During the Saviour’s earthly ministry, the great deceiver was unmasked. The daring blasphemy of his demand that Christ pay him homage, the unsleeping malice that hunted Him from place to place, inspiring the hearts of priests and people to reject His love and to cry, “Crucify him! crucify him!”—all this excited the amazement and indignation of the universe. The prince of evil exerted all his power and cunning to destroy Jesus. Satan employed men as his agents to fill the Saviour’s life with suffering and sorrow. The pent-up fires of envy and malice, hatred and revenge, burst forth on Calvary against the Son of God.
Now the guilt of Satan stood forth without excuse. He had revealed his true character. Satan’s lying charges against the divine character appeared in their true light. He had accused God of seeking the exaltation of Himself in requiring obedience from His creatures and had declared that while the Creator exacted self-denial from all others, He Himself practiced no self-denial and made no sacrifice. Now it was seen that the Ruler of the universe had made the greatest sacrifice which love could make, for “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. In order to destroy sin Christ had humbled Himself and become obedient unto death.