Vol. 5, No. 9
~ Page 8 ~
(West Virginia Christian, Vol. 9, No. 10, Oct. 2002, p.2)
The devil has been portrayed in popular literature and in the media down through the years anywhere from being a comical character to a being who is almost omnipotent with total control of those whom he affects. The Bible certainly does not suggest Satan is to be laughed at. Even though Satan is very powerful, the Bible does not teach that he is all-powerful. Satan is the enemy of the Christian, and it is imperative to know how Satan works if one hopes to one day live in heaven.
Satan's goal is to take as many souls as possible with him to hell. There are ample biblical stories that illustrate this fact. Throughout divine history, he tried to destroy those who belong to God. In Genesis Chapter Three, he is successful in tempting Adam and Eve and sin enters into the human race. He is described in Job 1:7 as "going to and fro on it." The apostle Peter tells us that Satan "walks about as a lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). He even tried to destroy Jesus (Matthew 4:11; Hebrews 4:15). Everything wicked and evil in this world is ultimately attributed to Satan (James 1:13-17).
There are three basic avenues through which Satan works to accomplish his goal. In 1 John 2:16 the Bible says, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." The devil uses trickery, deceit and half-truths in accomplishing his work. It is Satan's desire that mankind gets caught up in this world by tempting people to live only for the moment and to be concerned only about this life.
Satan also works in the "intellectual" realm or "doctrinal" realm by tempting people to believe ideas that do not originate with God. The apostle Paul talks about such ideas in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 where he says, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." Paul also writes about those who would in latter times teach forbiddance of marriage and abstinence from certain food (Timothy 4:1-5). He refers to such ideas as "deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons."
Satan uses any means available to keep people from obeying God and to tempt those who belong to God. When the seed (Word of God) is sown on the wayside soil, it is the devil who takes the Word out of their hearts "lest they should believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12). In 2 Corinthians 4:3, the apostle Paul writes of those to whom the Gospel is veiled. They are referred to in verse four as those "whose minds the god of this age has blinded." Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 2:11 concerning Satan and states that "we are not ignorant of his devices." In describing the qualifications for bishops, the Bible warns in 1 Timothy 3:7 of those who might fall into "the snare of the devil." The Christian is to put on the whole armor of God so he can stand against the "wiles" of the devil (Ephesians 6:11). Thayer defines "wiles" as "cunning arts, craft, deceit, trickery."
It is vitally important that Christians be knowledgeable about Satan so they can overcome him. It is also important to remember that since Christ is on the Christian's side, he can be victorious over any temptation and difficulty that comes his way. It is fitting to close with 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond which you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."