Today we will discuss a subject that is not very popular in the Western world. In fact, many people in our society, even other believers, deny the existence of our subject today. We will consider what the Bible affirms about Satan and demons. The Bible is clear that demonic forces are at work in the world today, but that Christians should have no fear if they are truly “in Christ Jesus.” The Bible does not give major sections on the subject, but there is a substantial amount of teaching scattered throughout the New Testament.
Who is Satan, the Devil?
He is the head of the demons. Satan becomes his personal name in Scripture which literally means “adversary.” He also has several other names in the Bible: the devil (slanderer), Beelzebul, the ruler of this world, the prince of the power of the air, and the evil one. All of these names point to Satan’s rebellious nature. He was an angel of God, created good, but rebelled against Him. He wanted to assume the position of God and not keep his own position. Satan, along with the angels who rebelled with him, was cast down from heaven, and now they work evil continually in the world.
He was the originator of sin. In Genesis 3, Satan embodied the serpent and tempted Eve. In John 8:44 we are told that Satan was a murderer from the beginning and the father of lies. 1 John 3:8 says that the devil has sinned from the beginning. He was the originator of sin, and it has been his goal to continue it as he tempts people to sin.
What is the strategy of Satan and the demons?
Satan and his bunch are constantly opposing God and His people. They make it their mission to destroy His good works and devastate His reputation. He tempts mankind to sin against their Creator. His tactics include: lies (John 8:44), deception (Rev 12:9), murder (John 8:44), blinding minds (2 Cor 4:4), veiling the Gospel (Ibid.), and other kinds of destructive activities.
I think the remark that Jesus made about thieves in John 10:10 is a great description of Satan. He says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” In a very practical way it can be said, “They will also try to use temptation, doubt, guilt, fear, confusion, sickness, envy, pride, slander, or any other means possible to hinder a Christian’s witness and usefulness” (Grudem, 415).
Satan and the demons are limited
The power of demons is limited. Satan is not some kind of god as if he were on the same level of authority as God the Father. There is no reason to think that Satan or the demons can know the future, read our minds, or be ever present. Let us consider these things for just a moment. The Bible affirms that God alone knows the future; there is none like Him who declares the end from the beginning. The Bible affirms that God knows are hearts and that Christ knew what was in man, but we are never told that Satan can read our minds. What we must admit is that the demons are very observant of the things in this world. Another misconception is that Satan is everywhere. The Bible never affirms that Satan is omnipresent like God. Yet, we must admit that there are scores of demons who carry on their leaders work.
Job’s story makes clear that Satan can only do what God allows. We are people who believe that God is sovereign. There is nothing that is outside His jurisdiction. Even Satan can only do what God allows him to do, and I would argue that he is even forced to do things according to God’s will on several occasions. We should have no fear because our God is in control. We are His and are safe in His hands. He has not given us a spirit of bondage, fear, or timidity, but He has given us a Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Satan and the demons will be crushed
Let us claim what James says in 4:7 right up front: “Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” By the accomplishments of Christ, the people of God (you and I) have authority over the demons.
Christ came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Ultimately, he will be cast into the Lake of Fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels, to be tormented forever (Matt 25:41; Rev 20:10).
What does all of this mean to us today?
1) We must take seriously that the Bible affirms the existence of Satan and demons
2) There is no reason to believe that there is any less demonic activity today than ever before
3) Sin can open the door to demonic activity in our lives
4) When we venture outside of God’s will, we venture into Satan’s territory
5) Philippians 4:6-7 teach that we should stay in prayer and the peace of God will guard us
6) Christians should be aware of demons and should consider their traps, but we should not fear them if we are “in Christ Jesus.” He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.