Charles Simeon Commentary - 1 Peter 5:8 - 5:9

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Charles Simeon Commentary - 1 Peter 5:8 - 5:9

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1Pe_5:8-9. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith.

THERE are many who deny the influences of the Holy Spirit. No wonder therefore if the agency of Satan be called in question. But there is abundant proof in the Scriptures that Satan exercises a power over the minds of men. St. Peter had learned this truth by bitter experience.

In this view the caution he gives us is worthy of particular attention:

I.       The malice of Satan—

Satan is the great adversary of mankind. It was he who caused the fall of our first parents [Note: Gen_3:1-5.]. He has exerted a similar influence over all their descendants. He still maintains his enmity against the seed of the woman [Note: Gen_3:15.]. He is justly compared to “a roaring lion.”

He is subtle—

[The lion prowls with subtilty in search of prey: this is noticed in David’s description of wicked men [Note: Psa_10:9-10.]—. Satan also uses many devices to destroy souls [Note: Eph_6:11.]. He suits his temptations to us with astonishing craft: he draws us into his snare before we are aware of his designs [Note: 2Co_2:11.]. To be acquainted with his devices is a most eminent and useful part of Christian knowledge [Note: 2Co_2:11.].]

He is active—

[The lion ranges far and wide in search of his prey; and Satan “walks to and fro throughout the earth [Note: Job_1:7 and the text.]:” he ceases not from his exertions day or night [Note: Rev_12:10.]. He is the more diligent as knowing that his time is limited [Note: Rev_12:12.]. He has legions of emissaries acting in concert with him [Note: Mar_5:9.]. If at any time he suspend his attacks, it is but for a season, that he may return afterwards with greater advantage [Note: Compare Luk_4:13. with Luk_22:53.].]

He is cruel—

[The lion little regards the agonies which he occasions; nor has Satan any compassion for the souls which he destroys. The savage animal kills to satisfy the calls of nature; but our adversary reaps no benefit from the destruction of men. His exertions serve only to increase his own guilt and misery; yet is he insatiable in his thirst for our condemnation [Note: This is strongly intimated in the word ê á ô á ð ß , “he would swallow us up.”].]

He is powerful—

[Feeble is the resistance of a lamb against the voracious lion: still more impotent are men before “the god of this world.” Satan, has a limited power over the elements themselves [Note: Job_1:12; Job_1:19. He is called “the prince of the power of the air.”]. The ungodly are altogether subjected to his will [Note: Eph_2:2. 2Ti_2:26.]; nor would the saints have the smallest power to resist him, if God should deliver them into his hands [Note: Many who have appeared lights in the Church have been swept away by the tail of this great dragon, Rev_12:3-4.].]

If we believe this representation of Satan’s malice, we cannot but desire to know,

II.      The means of defeating it—

Our adversary, though great, is not invincible. There is one stronger than he, that can overcome him [Note: Luk_11:21-22.]; and God has prescribed means whereby we also may vanquish him:


[An undue attachment to the things of time and sense gives him a great advantage over us. He will not fail to assault us on our weak side [Note: It was he who instigated Judas to treachery, and Ananias to falsehood; but he wrought by means of their covetousness, Joh_13:2. Act_5:3.]; but a deadness to the world will in some measure disarm him. He prevailed not against our Lord, because he found no irregular affection in him [Note: Joh_14:30.]; nor could he so easily overcome us if we disregarded earthly things. A contempt of life has been a principal mean whereby the saints and martyrs in all ages have triumphed over him [Note: Rev_12:11.].]


[Unwatchfulness, even in a victorious army, exposes it to defeat: much more must it subject us to the power of our subtle enemy. St. Peter had experienced its baneful effects. He had been warned of Satan’s intention to assault him [Note: Luk_22:31.]. He had been commanded to pray lest he should fall by the temptation [Note: Luk_22:40.]; but he slept when he should have been praying [Note: Luk_22:45-46.]. He stands in this respect, like Lot’s wife [Note: Luk_17:32.], a monument to future generations; but vigilance on our part will counteract the designs of Satan. The armed Christian, watching unto prayer, must be victorious [Note: Eph_6:18.].]


[The timid Christian falls into a thousand snares [Note: Pro_29:25.]. The only way to obtain a victory is, to fight manfully; and this is the duty of every follower of Christ [Note: Eph_6:10; Eph_6:13.]. We must never give way to Satan [Note: Eph_4:27.]. We are called to wrestle and contend with him [Note: Eph_6:12.]; nor shall our resistance be in vain [Note: Jam_4:7. Satan is not only checked but terrified, and vanquished, by the resistance of the weakest Christian.].]


[Unbelief is a powerful instrument in the hands of Satan. He excites it in us that he may turn us from the faith: we must therefore hold fast the doctrines of faith. We should not suffer ourselves to be moved from the hope of the Gospel: this is our anchor whereby we must outride the storm [Note: Heb_6:19.]. We must also steadfastly exercise the grace of faith. This is the weapon whereby we overcome the world [Note: 1Jn_5:4.]; and by this shall we triumph over Satan himself [Note: Eph_6:16.].]


[Let not the ungodly despise this adversary; but let them seek deliverance from him through the Gospel [Note: Act_26:18.]; and let the godly be continually on their guard against him [Note: 2Co_11:3.], so shall they experience that promised blessing [Note: Rom_16:20.]—]