about-bg about-bg


I Owe It All To The Devil

• Greg Boyd

When we sin, accusations fly. However, it’s not God that is flinging the accusations at us. In this sermon, Greg shows how we owe all accusation, blame, and condemnation to Satan.

Show Extended Summary Hide Extended Summary

Jesus did not die to protect us from God’s wrath. It is a common misconception that God was angry and wrathful towards us, and took it out on Jesus in some scene of cosmic child abuse. While it’s true that Jesus took our place in payment for our sins, God took his anger out on sin and the devil that causes sin in this world.

God is not the one charging us with our sins. Satan is the known throughout the Bible as the accuser of God’s people. This is something important to understand because Satan really wants us to confuse him and God. Satan has been doing this since the beginning of humanity, and he won’t stop until the end of time. Satan is ugly; God is beautiful. Don’t ever forget that or mix the two.

Satan’s closest counterparts in humanity are the Pharisees and those that judge others. Whereas God is full of grace and wants relationship with humanity, the Pharisees and judgers in this world seek to set up boundaries to separate people. This separation is usually based on the law, or the list of rules that we are “supposed” to live by. Yet, where there is law, there is no love. When we depend on the rules to show who is in and who is out, we are not depending on Love to show who is in and who is out. Love fulfills the law, and we should depend on it because it is greater than the law.

We still sin. The law shows us this. When we depend on satisfying the law, we lose out on the love of God, and the law becomes a curse to us. Instead of trying to satisfy the law, we depend on Jesus, and his sacrifice that satisfied the law. Jesus cancelled the charge of our legal debt to Satan. Jesus disarmed the powers and authorities that rule this world. He replaced them with his love and grace. God didn’t do this by cancelling the debt that we owe from our sins. Rather, God cancelled the entire economy of sin and debt to Satan. By doing this, we never fall back into debt to Satan.

Remember that Satan is the accuser in our lives. Never confuse Satan with God, and anytime you feel under attack from your past sins, remember that is Satan and God has destroyed the system of debt that you used to be in bondage to. No longer dead in your sins, we are redeemed by Jesus’ sacrifice.

Hide Extended Summary

Topics: Gratitude, Guilt, Satan

Downloads & Resources

Audio File
Study guide

Focus Scripture:

  • Colossians 2:13-15

    When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Subscribe to Podcast

28 thoughts on “I Owe It All To The Devil

  1. caucazhin says:

    What about when God killed Ananias and his wife Sapphira. God struck them dead for something weve all done and thats lying ??
    Are you saying God will (( NEVER )) punish sin again after the cross ??? Thats absurd ! ! !
    God can if He so chooses to can hold our sin against us at any time and obviously He did here twice.
    Fear is not a bad thing at times especially while we’re still in this fallen state we’re still prone to sin .
    Niagra falls is oh so beautiful but if I get to close to the edge I fear it, as I should..

    ACTS 5
    5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down and gave up the ghost (( and great fear came upon all that heard it. ))
    6 And the young men arose and wrapped him round, and they carried him out and buried him.
    7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.

    10 And she fell down immediately at his feet, and gave up the ghost: and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her by her husband.
    11 (( And great fear came upon the whole church )) and upon all that heard these things.

  2. NR says:

    Interesting question, however, where does it say that “God killed Ananias and Sapphira?” There is no reason to believe God killed them for sinning. And does God really punish for sin or is the punishment built into the natural consequence of sin? Ultimately we are separated from God for our sin, but that is by our own choice.

  3. Jill says:

    This all makes so much sense, it’s hard for me to conceive of any other way of looking at it. I’m thankful all the time for Greg’s messages and other speakers at WH!

    I had to listen to the past two messages by podcast because I’ve been in Heroe’s Gate trying to get my kids comfortable. I’ve also listened to messages on my ipod. On both my computer and ipod, the sound is not very loud, even when I turn the volume up all the way? When I’m listening on my iPod and I’m by a busy street I can’t hear the message. When I watch other Podcasts or a YouTube video it’s really loud so I know it’s not my computer or iPod. I was going to mention this a long time ago but thought maybe it was a fluke. I’m not sure if anything can be done, but thought I’d mention it in case there is an easy fix?

  4. Jesse says:

    One of the best messages I have heard in a long time. Thank you Jesus!

  5. Jill says:

    I made and error in my previous comment. I said I watched by Podcast, but it was actually the Blog. The sound on that is not very high. I turn my volume up the highest it can go and the sound is just OK. And, as I mentioned above, the messages on my iPod at the highest volume are also not very loud.

    Thank you!

  6. Brian Clark says:

    Thanks, Greg, I needed that. I had actually never heard the story of you and Romans 8! I just recently had a less dramatic, but also important encounter with it, too!

    Thanks so much for your attempts to articulate a deeply graced gospel, one which really is true and really is good news.


  7. kevin says:

    Whoa; i will have to watch this one at least once more to help decompress all this “new ‘to me’ theology”. Consider expanding this message into a series…………..please!

  8. Mary Reyes says:

    I usually listen by podcast, but watched the video this time. Wow, ‘glad I did–By the end, Greg’s face is radiant just like Moses! Oh, who we could all become if our eyes were likewise fixed on this Beautiful God!

  9. caucazhin says:

    NR get a brain or take it out of your petard ! ! !

    ACTS 5
    3 But Peter said, Ananias, (( why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Spirit )) and to keep back part of the price of the land?

    8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much. And she said, Yea, for so much.
    9 But Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have
    ((( agreed together to try the Spirit of the Lord? ))) behold, the feet of them that have buried thy husband are at the door, and they shall carry thee out.

  10. danny says:

    please, caucazhin, is such a strong language you used that necessary? shouldn’t we know better, as brothers/sisters in Christ? don’t you think Jesus’ words about humbleness and kindness towards each other come way before what seems to be punishment to the eye?
    I don’t wanna start a discussion here but I think NR was only trying to explain to you the way he understood it and frankly, I agree on what he said about the consequences of (intentional) sin rather than punishment of god. think e.g. of Exodus 33:20 “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” – I think the situation in Acts refers to that principle: the presence of the Holy Spirit in the early church was so strong that Ananias and his wife practicly had a heart attack from the shock of their hipocrit attitude being exposed. sounds not so unreal to me.
    God bless your seeking heart, brother!
    Asking questions is never wrong, unfortunately judging might be.

  11. danny says:

    David said,

    “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
    a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
    (Ps 51:17 KJV)

    and Jesus said,

    “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
    (Mat 7:1-2 KJV)

    I guess if we don’t get those passages we can pretty much forget the whole bible because it’s based on those principles.

  12. Teresa says:

    Hmmm… sounds like this may be another both/and being made into an either/or.

    We are definitely called to live HOLY lives. “Without holiness we will not see God” Hebrews 12:14

    It’s been my experience that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin. He does not “accuse” me of sin, but definitely convicts me of it. And that conviction is strong – like a father disciplining a child he loves. And that kind of conviction leads to holiness…. (I think greg will mention this if he hasn’t already.)

    We have freedom, yes, but we are not to take that freedom as an opportunity or license to sin…or to live sinful/self centered or comfortable lives. ( Personally I think that is the entire point of the story of Esau – the guy who wanted his inheritance now – who by choosing that, forfeited his inheritance later and couldn’t get it back even though he repented/begged after the fact. If we choose to live in sin or OK sinful or maybe even comfortable lifestyles, we are in danger of the same thing. Remember, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom)

    Gal. 5:13-25

    For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “ You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

    But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

    If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

    It’s true – we are forgiven and we are not condemned – but we have to repent and move in the direction of holiness. The HS convicts by bringing sin into the light.That’s different from satan’s accusing type of conviction that tends to me more shaming/destructive.

    Repentance is the key to living in freedom. If we’ve repented we can answer satan’s accusations with truth/light by saying “I repented of that!”

  13. Scott Schneider says:

    RE: Teresa, everything that you say is true. But holiness is a word that is used by all and yet everyone has a twist on what they mean by holiness. Holiness is to be set apart, by God, for HIs purposes. Holiness is divine and not human. We must understand that too. You cant do holiness but God does it through you. We MUST understand that. The incarnation is God and man together and we see effects and examples throughout Scripture. God parted the Jordan through the faith/obedience of the leaders, God prated the sea through the faith/obedience of Moses. These people nor their obedience was holy, cuz holiness is not human. But holiness happened through their obedience, which is God’s action/character. The first 23 verses of first peter 1 really illustrates this. But we must first understand that holiness is divine only!

  14. Scott Schneider says:

    Hi Teresa, everything that you say is true. One problem is that everyone uses the term holiness and we think that everyone understands what we mean. Holiness takes on different meanings by those who use it. One thing that holiness is is divine; it is not human. The definition of holiness is to be set apart, it is not any actions or behaviors that we do. Ist Peter 1, in the first 23 verses, parallels forms of holiness(holy, purity, consecration) with obedience three times. God coops with us to accomplish things. God parted the Jordan through the obedience of the leaders. Their obedience was not holy, but God’s action of parting the sea through their obedience was holy. The same with the red sea and Moses. Moses obeyed what God commanded and through that obedience holy(God’s action) occured. And those people mentioned above, plus all of the rest of the characters in the Bible who obeyed also disobeyed at times and sinned. Yet they were still set apart and David was even called a man after God’s own heart. The Jewish people knew that righteousness is divine and not human. Divine Holiness is redundant. Justification by faith basically means, as it is difficult to literally translate, responding to the righteousness of God. Holiness is God only and through our obedience as we walk and listen(praying without ceasing), God uses us to accomplish His purposes, even when we miss the mark badly at times. Sometimes our behaviors would appear that we do not even know God at all(See David’s life) but God knows our heart. And when we miss the mark, willingly or not, consequences of our actions still come about(again see David), but grace abounds even more. Even when David faced the consequences of his sin when Absolom tried to take the crown, as told by the prophet, David said God I deserve to die and give up the kingdom. But through the prophet God said that David is still king, his destiny was not taken away by sin. And God even helped him as David dealt with the consequences of his sin. What a beautiful thought, what a beautiful God!

  15. Scott Schneider says:

    Sorry for the repetition. My computer did not show my response and so I tried to rewrite. I closed out and everything and my first response did not show, until I rewrote and saw my second response. Sorry

  16. Teresa says:

    Hey Scott, I’m not sure I follow your argument.

    I definitely understand that the word “holiness” holds different meaning for different people. But does that mean we should stop using it? To me, it means we should use it more and we should teach the true meaning of the word…not avoid it.

    Also, if obedience leads to holiness I’m not (personally) concerned whether ultimate holiness belongs to God exclusively or not. The point is WE are called to live holy lives…and we have to do something in order to live that way. It’s not all God doing it. It’s up to us to choose.

    I’m not claiming to be an academic and I’m not trying to prove anything. All I’m saying is that I’m concerned that we are teaching others the cost of discipleship as well as the beauty of God’s grace. Scripture seems to say it costs us everything. Luke 9, Jn 12 etc. We are bonservants of the Lord – which means we dont get paid now…we wait for our inheritance. To want to live according to the flesh now is to want our inheritance in advance …and to do that might mean we forfeit our inheritance later. ….It’s time to wake up and follow the call to live holy lives.

    Finally, since we have to CHOOSe to be set apart/holy…we have to ACT different from the way the world acts. We are commanded to act different from the world….and even to hate the things of the world.(1 Jn. 2:15) This is OUR part – choosing and acting. God doesn’t do it for us. We lay down our right to be cool, to be popular, to be in the know and get worth from all that. This is the cross we bear as citizens of another kingdom.

    In my opinion anyway 🙂

  17. Scott Schneider says:

    To act differently is to live by God’s living commands as we go, jsut like Jesus did, but not a set a rules that are debateable. Jesus “Responded” to The Father, and that is what Holiness is. God called the ground that Moses stood on as Holy. Is that ground still holy? Should we have it in a museum and pay homeage to it? Was it Holy cuz Moses feet touched it? No, it was Holy cuz God used it. Theresa if we consider ourselves and our behvaviors as Holy we are going to divide and Lord over and judge. If we could obtain holiness outside of God then we would not need him. If behaviors are holy then just do the behaviors and we reach holiness outside of God. Holiness is Divine…always

  18. caucazhin says:

    DANNY SAID: God bless your seeking heart, brother!
    Asking questions is never wrong, unfortunately judging might be.
    Hey nit wit I dont need your approval or anyone elses on this blog and if Greg decides to take down my posts because hes a politcally correct coward who doesnt want to be challenged by anyone and would rather be adorned with generic homogenized niceties. Then it shows his true motives.
    Jesus HIMSELF said to judge with a proper judgement and Ananias & Sapphira both dropped dead not of guilt but because ” they lied to God ” PERIODDD ! ! !
    GOD took their lives END OF STORY ! ! !
    But see you people dont want to believe that God will judge sin for what it is so you develop this twisted theology with ” itching ears ” to hear what you want to hear.
    So take your little mealy mouth cookie cutter politicaly correct head out of your rear end and get a clue ! ! !
    God doesnt mess around and Americas cup of perversions is running over and Hes given us His boundries throughout the bible.
    He didnt say “go and sin some more” so that grace may abound…………..

  19. TG says:

    Danny said: “God doesnt mess around and Americas cup of perversions is running over and Hes given us His boundries throughout the bible.
    He didnt say “go and sin some more” so that grace may abound…………..”

    Sir, you need not worry about America. You have personal problems. Not sure if you have been jaded by a reformed view or what but your view of God is obscured. Though God punishes sin justly, He takes no pleasure in the punishment of the wicked. You obviously do. Unfortunately you seem to not realize that you, like all of us, are guilty of wickedness at times and must repent.

  20. caucazhin says:

    sorry TG did I insult your small j little cookie cutter
    Yeah God punished A & S justly according to HIS standards and for His reasons not yours or mine.
    And no I dont get some sort of high @ God judging.
    I dont always agree with how when or why God does things but I certianly have to submit to the fact that HE does them.
    And yes I deserve hell probably much more then than A & S.
    Thats part of my point. What most on this blog are trying skirt around is that God judged them ( for HIS own reasons ). They say God didnt judge them and that they just dropped dead of guilt.
    Give me a “FRIGGIN” break
    God judges those who dont repent ( including me if I dont ), dont even try repenting or try to blame their sin on some sort of “disorder”. Thats why we as a society call everything a disorder because it excuses us from all responsibility. Everything is now psychoanalysed by our new high priests of psychology as a disorder. Thankyou Freud & Jung but Obesity still = gluttony DUH ! !
    And thats why obesity is an ” American ” epidemic because Americans live in denial and dont dare call sin ” sin ” anymore.

  21. David S. says:

    Pastor Boyd,

    Will you please address caucazhin’s observation concerning Ananias & Sapphira?

  22. Hello everyone,

    I’d like to take a moment here and ask everyone to relax and practice a lot more patience when you’re responding to comments on our web site. Some of what’s gone on in this thread is not okay! A few things we’d like to ask everyone to remember:

    1. When you disagree with someone, do it politely! When using online formats like this, it’s far too easy to forget to be kind to one another. There’s another real human being on the other end of the line, and chances are very good they’re your “kingdom” brother or sister. Let’s not be a dysfunctional family.

    2. At Woodland, we have always wanted to grant people space to have different theological opinions. Instead of jumping to argue with one another about topics here, try to learn about a different perspective than your own. You don’t have to adopt it, but remember to keep an open mind. One of our main responsibilities as a Christ-follower is to be loving. That may sometimes mean that winning an argument shouldn’t be your first priority.

    3. Hold your views loosely! Theological “rightness” is a terrible idol in our Christian culture — tragically for many of us, our beliefs become even more important to us than God. Pretty sure that none of us has it all figured out. Remember to interact here with humility and grace.

    All that being said, we hope our site can continue to be a place where people can discuss topics, learn from each other, and try to understand God and our world a little better.

    Charley Swanson
    Communications, Woodland Hills

  23. caucazhin says:

    go along to get along baby that what the pharisees did

  24. Kevin says:

    Greg did not speak about these verses in the book of Job that bears out the idea that God does not ‘charge’ us for our sin; Job says in Job 19:4
    “You say you have respect for him.
    Is that why he corrects you?
    Is that why he brings charges against you?
    6 Would he oppose me with his great power?
    No. He wouldn’t bring charges against me.

  25. Kristina says:

    I know this is really late since this sermon is from last year but I just listened to it and thought of something, so I wanted to share it:

    I think the law is not only a neccessary evil in our world just to keep our sin in check. I think god also gave us the law as a revealing of himself, because it without the law we would probably have no clue how God originally planned our life here on earth. Through the law we now know, which does not mean that we are supposed to become law keepers but lovers (as Greg said).

    So in the end the law is just pointing at Gods heart – not the judging or accusing but the loving consequences of how life would be if we kept the law.

    I hope the way I put it is not too confusing.

  26. Ted says:

    I continue to be blessed by how Greg brings together his vulnerability and emotion with intellect and theology.

    Thank you to Kristina for her comment about law and being lovers of God and others. Sorry, I didn’t have time and energy to read the rest of the thread/posts.

    Blessings to my brothers and sisters at Woodland Hills!

    Member of The Meeting House

  27. Chris says:

    This is a response, over 2 years after the fact, to Caucazhin’s questions regarding Ananias and Sapphira. In Acts 5:3, Peter confronts Ananias. He says, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself a part of the proceeds of the land?”

    Ananias and Sapphira had their hearts filled with Satan. We are not given knowledge of how Ananias or Sapphira died, neither does it explicitly (or implicitly) say that God killed them. They simply “breathe their last.” Is it possible that if their hearts had been filled with the Love of God that this sin would not have caused their death? But we are told that their hearts were FILLED with Satan. Could this be the cause of their deaths? Can a heart filled with Satan survive very long? I would believe this to be the cause of their death.

  28. Ed says:

    Re: the statement that most people believe that the Father holds our sin against us and that is an unbiblical belief — If he is referring to believers, I totally agree. Christ paid the penalty for ALL our sins .
    If, however, he is referring to unbelievers, I do believe that this is an unbiblical view for the following reasons:
    1) Rom. 5:8 – But God demonstrates His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We were SINNERS when Christ died for us.
    2) Rom 5:9 Much more then having NOW been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” We are now justified by the blood of Christ and no longer subject to God’s wrath. This implies the reverse is also true – if we are not justified by the blood of Christ, we are subject to the wrath of God.
    Rom 5:10 continues – “For if while we were enemies of God we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life”. We were enemies of God – not just passive toward Him but enemies. Christ reconciled us to God by His death. The war is over, we are no longer enemies. Again, we have to consider the reverse to also be true. If we have not been reconciled to God, then we remain enemies of God.
    3) Hebrews 9:22 – tells us that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. The justice of God has to be satisfied and without the shed blood of Christ, there remains no forgiveness for any of us.
    Satan is the ‘accuser of our brethern’ (Rev 12:10) but his accusations against believers will not stand. He has no need to accuse unbelievers because they are still enemies of the cross of Christ whose end is destruction (Phil 3:18-19). For unbelievers, then, they are still enemies of God as Satan is and subject to the wrath of God.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





"Thank you for this ministry! It has transformed my life in some really radical ways. God has broken down so many barriers and exposed so many lies that have taken some serious burdens from my heart. It has given me hope, freedom and purpose I never could have imagined possible."

– Jenny, from Wisconsin