1 Thessalonians 2:18
Why we would have come to you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
All agree about the hindrances, but some deny that there is a personal hinderer. They hoot at the idea that a God of infinite power and beneficence would permit so malignant a rebel to exist. But where have such people lived? There are thousands of visible devils, why not one invisible? The devil hinders —
I. BY SUGGESTING DOUBTS. The terrible catastrophe of the fall was accomplished by a doubt. One of his greatest achievements is to create the doubt of his own existence. We live in an age in which nearly everything that is necessary to be believed is doubted. Depravity is seen in nothing more clearly than the manner in which people act when in doubt religiously. Instead of wisely protecting our own interests, we often give Satan the benefit of our doubts. Nothing pleases Satan so well as to get people in doubt as to the Atonement, the Bible, Judgment, Hell, etc. If he can do this, he will soon have them acting in accordance with their doubts.
II. BY MAGNIFYING DIFFICULTIES. By this me as he hinders multitudes, young and old, from giving their hearts to God. He is not honest enough to tell people that this life is one of difficulty, whether they are good or bad; but insinuates that the most crushing difficulties are in the paths of righteousness. But he is a liar. We are not at home yet, only at school. Our work is to master the hard curriculum; but God's cheering promise is, "All things work together for good," etc.
III. BY DISTRACTIONS. He dislikes a fixed purpose for the right, and loves to disincline the mind to think on eternal realities. He does not mind men being piously inclined, and purposing to do better. If he can keep them from immediate surrender, he knows that all the rest will be of no avail in the final issue. Conclusion:
1. As a hinderer Satan is the cause of two things —
(1) Much that we would do but cannot. Paul's visit to Thessalonica was frustrated.
(2) Much that we could do if we would: as our sins of commission.
2. Our helper is greater than our hinderer.
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.