The devil can entice but not force

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“Am I responsible for my sins? Can’t I just blame the devil?”


The Bible certainly accedes to the existence of and activity of the devil — and he may well be involved in “your sins.” 

The devil has made sin look good since the beginning (Gen. 3:1ff). Liar that he is (Jn. 8:44), he convinced Eve that God was not really serious when He warned the humans not to eat the fruit. 

The devil convinced her that if she ate the fruit, she could be like God — a falsehood that was the undoing of both her and her husband.

The devil is called in Scripture “deceiver” and “accuser” (Rev. 12:9-10), as well as “adversary” (I Pet. 5:8), “murderer” (Jn. 8:44), “the enemy” (Mt. 13:28, 39) and “the evil one” (Mt. 13:19, 38; Jn. 17:15; Eph. 6:16; I Jn. 2:13-14). He is the “god of this world,” dangerous and destructive (Jn. 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; II Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2). 

These names indicate that the devil can indeed mess with you in unpleasant ways.

However, note that there is no indication that the devil can force you to do anything. He might tempt through enticement and deception. 

He might try to trick you into doubting God and encourage you to go it on your own. (He tried that on Jesus, Mt. 4:1-11). 

But, he is not responsible for your choices. You are free to choose the direction you will take — and free to bear the full weight of the consequences of your choices (Rom. 1:28-36; Jas. 1:13-14).

For Christ followers, the instruction is specific: the devil has no power over you that you do not give him (Eph. 4:26-27; I Jn. 2:13; 4:4). 

He prowls about, breathing threats, making noise — but he has been defeated and humiliated by Christ on the cross (Eph. 1:21; Col. 2:15). 

He is ultimately doomed (Rev. 20:10, 14). You need not fear him nor can you blame him (Jas. 4:7-8)!