|Vol. 2, No. 4||Page 3||April 2000|
A Study of Satan, 2 of 2
Works: What Does Satan Do?
Ø He deceives (Genesis 3:1ff; Matthew 16:21-23; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 11:3, 14; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 2:9). Think!
Ø He insinuates doubt (Genesis 3:1). Does God really mean what he says? Surely not, he says. Believe!
Ø He snatches away God’s Word (Matthew 13:19; Mark 4:15) and turns men from the Truth (1 Timothy 5:15). He often does this by misusing Scripture (Matthew 4:6). He is present whenever the Word is being preached and is ready to turn our attention from it by the crying of a baby or the color of the preacher’s tie. Concentrate!
Ø He traps (1 Timothy 3:7). Paul speaks of his snare (pagis) which literally is a “trap fastened by a noose or notch” (2 Timothy 2:26). Metaphorically, it refers to “a trick or stratagem.” An alcoholic is a classic example of one snared and held in one of his traps. Watch!
Ø He wants to control the mind (1 Chronicles 21:1ff; Acts 5:3). Books, magazines, radio, television, the internet and conversation are all used as tools. Discern!
Ø He attacks bodies. He did Job’s (2:4-7). In the New Testament, Paul called his “thorn in the flesh” a “messenger of Satan to buffet me” (2 Corinthians 12:7; cf. Matthew 17:5-18; Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38). At least we may safely say that he uses normal body afflictions to tempt us. Interestingly, Satan disputed with Michael over Moses’ body (Jude 9). What he wanted with it we cannot tell, but we can be assured that it was not just to give it a decent burial! Endure!
Ø He destroyed Job’s possessions (Job 1:13ff). He can at least use normal disasters to tempt us. Trust!
Ø He hinders our spiritual work (1 Thessalonians 2:18, hinder, egkopto, “to cut into, impede, detain, be tedious unto.” Galatians 5:7 used the root (anakopto) which means a “roadblock” (literally, “to beat back, check”). The KJV margin has “who did drive you back.” Persevere!
Ø He seeks to make you proud (1 Timothy 3:6-7). Resist!
Ø He persecutes (Revelation 2:10). God’s people are soldiers on the battlefield, but there are times when they are the battlefield (Wiersbe). He uses others to deliver his blows, but he is behind all evil (Matthew 16:23; Luke 22:3; Acts 13:10). If we obey God’s Word only during the good times (cf. Job 1:9-11; cf. Matthew 4:8-10), then our faith is shallow (Matthew 7:24-27; 13:20-21). Faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted (James 1:1-8; 1 Peter 3-9). Withstand!
Ø When we sin, he accuses and discourages you (2 Corinthians 2:6-11). Satan never gives up (Luke 4:13). Go on!
Defeat: How Can We Win Against Satan?
Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8) and his cross was the decisive victory (Colossians 2:15). We can now be delivered from the dominion of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 2:14). In his life, death, resurrection and ascension, Christ defeated Satan and his evil hosts (John 12:31-33; Ephesians 1:15¾2:10; Colossians 2:13-15).
Some would rather hide behind “the devil made me do it,” than to take responsibility for their actions. Satan is a cunning tempter, but he can be outsmarted. God has given us his “play book.” We know that he wants to do to us (make us miserable and then send us to hell), and how he goes about it. He cannot dominate us except by our consent. God promised that we will not be tempted beyond our power of resistance (1 Corinthians 10:13). Satan’s power is limited (cf. Job 1-2). He acts within limits set by God (Revelation 20:2). We can beat the devil ¾ in fact, we can whip him (James 4:7; Romans 16:20 ¾ bruise, suntribo, “to crush completely, i.e., to shatter; break in pieces, broken to shivers”)! There are three steps to defeating the devil: (1) We must recognize when the devil is at work (2 Corinthians 2:11). For instance, when there is a lack of love, we can be assured that the devil is near (1 John 3:10). (2) We must respect his subtlety (2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Peter 5:8). (3) We must resist him with the Word of God and prayer (Matthew 4:1-11; James 4:7, resist, anthistemi, “to stand against, oppose, withstand,” Ephesians 6:17-18). To resist we must:
Ø Put on our protective gear (Ephesians 6:10-18). We wouldn’t think of going into a radioactive area without putting on breathing equipment to avoid contamination. How foolish to go into the arena with the devil without the gear God has given for our protection.
Ø Rely on Christ and the Spirit (Revelation 12:11; 1 John 4:4). When Satan desired to sift Peter as wheat, Christ prayed for him (Luke 22:31; Acts 26:16-18).
Ø Take away his advantages (Ephesians 4:27). Paul names some sins that give Satan a foothold: lust, lying, anger, stealing, corrupt speech; evil speaking, an unforgiving spirit; bitterness, malice and so forth. Any sin we enjoyed before becoming Christians can be brought over to ruin the new life, so be sure to keep your heart clean. Husbands and wives are taught not to defraud each other sexually lest Satan use that advantage to tempt them to commit adultery (1 Corinthians 7:5).
Future: What Is Going To Happen To The Devil?
Evidently, Satan still has access to heaven (Job 1-2; Zechariah 3) but one day will be thrown out (Revelation 12:7-12). He works feverishly since he knows his time is short (12:12). When Jesus returns, he will cast Satan into hell, the lake of fire, where he will be tormented forever (Revelation 19:11¾20:3).
Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, but people who reject Christ and believe Satan’s lies will suffer in hell with him (Matthew 25:4; Revelation 20:11-15). Do you need to make preparation to avoid spending eternity with the devil? Faith, repentance, confession and baptism are required (Acts 8:35-40). One must remain faithful to Christ in order to avoid returning back to the devil’s ways (Revelation 2:10).