1 Thessalonians 3:5
For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you…
Very remarkable is the prominence which Satan assumes in the New Testament, compared with the manner in which he is kept in the background in the Old. There, after the first appearance of the adversary in paradise, he is withdrawn for a long while from the scene; nay, there is but a glimpse of him, a passing indication here and there of such a spiritual head of the kingdom of evil, through the whole earlier economy — as in Job 1 ; Zechariah 3:1, 2; 1 Chronicles 21:1; he is only referred to twice in the Apocrypha (Wisd. 2:24; Ecclus. 21:27). This may partly be explained on the principle that where lights are brightest, shadows are darkest; it needed the highest revelation of good to show us the deepest depth of evil. But, no doubt in that childhood of the human race, men were not ripe for this knowledge. For as many as took it in earnest it would have been too dreadful thus to know of one who had been a prince of light. Those, therefore, who are under a Divine education are not allowed to understand anything very distinctly of Satan, till with the spiritual eye it is given to them to behold him as lightning fall from heaven; then the Scripture speaks of him without reserve. Notice the analogy in 1 John 2:13 and 1 John 2:14. To some the doctrine of the tempter is a stumbling block; but it is not by Scriptural arguments alone that it is supported. There is a dark, mysterious element in man's life and history, which nothing else can explain. All who shrink from looking down into the abysmal depths of man's fall, seem to count that much will have been gained thereby; although it may be pertinently asked, What is the profit of getting rid of the devil, so long as the devilish remains? of explaining away an evil one, so long as the evil ones who remain are so many? What profit, indeed? Assuredly this doctrine of an evil spirit, tempting, seducing, deceiving, prompting to rebellion, so far from casting a deeper gloom on the mysterious destinies of humanity, is full of consolation, and lights up with a gleam of hope spots which would seem utterly dark without it. One might well despair of oneself, having no choice but to believe that all the strange suggestions of evil which have risen up before one's own heart had been born there; one might well despair of one's kind, having no choice but to believe that all its hideous sins and monstrous crimes had been self-conceived and born in its own bosom. But there is hope, if "an enemy hath done this;" if, however, the soil in which all these wicked thoughts and works have sprung up has been the heart of man, yet the seed from which they sprung had been sown there by the hand of another. And who will venture to deny this devilish, as distinguished from the animal in man? None, certainly, who knows aught of the dread possibilities of sin lurking in his own bosom, who has studied with any true insight the moral history of the world. In what way else explain that men not merely depart from God, but that they defy Him? What else will account for delight in the contemplation or infliction of pain, for strange inventions of wickedness, above all, of cruelty and lust — "lust hard by hate"? What else will account for evil chosen for its own sake, and for the fierce joy men so often find in the violation of law, this violation being itself the attraction? The mystery is as inexplicable as it is dreadful, so long as man will know nothing of a spiritual world beneath him as well as above him; but it is only too easy to understand, so soon as we recognize man's evil as not altogether his own, but detect behind his transgression an earlier transgressor — one who fell, not as men fall, for man's fall was broken by the very flesh which invited it; but who fell as only spirits can fall, from the height of heaven to the depth of hell; fell, never to rise again; for he was not deceived, was not tempted as was Adam; but himself chose the evil with the clearest intuition that it was evil, forsook the good with the clearest intuition that it was good: whose sin, therefore, in its essence, was the sin against the Holy Ghost, and as such never to be forgiven. All is explicable when we recognize the existence of such a spirit; who being lost without hope of redemption himself, seeks to work the same loss in other of God's creatures, and counts it a small triumph to have made a man bestial, unless he can make him devilish as well.
Parallel VersesKJV: For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.