If we took our cues from Hollywood in regard to how we should respond to satan, we’d all be shaking in our shoes. he’s been painted to be this ominous, undefeatable adversary that people don’t stand a chance of defeating. I’d agree were it not for Christ.
My last post on this subject was pretty ominous, I have to admit – but it was all straight from scripture. But now I’m THRILLED to turn the corner and briefly cover some of the things that the Bible says about God’s supremacy OVER satan.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together!
- Notice that Jesus is in authority over ALL creation – that would include satan and every other spiritual power. Paul specifically makes that point when he refers to “visible and invisible.”
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 written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took 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.
- By dealing with our sin problem through His substitutionary death, Jesus dealt with satan’s only claim on us. He triumphed over them on their own “home turf” so to speak – that of the human soul and the fallen world. As it relates to Christians, Jesus “disarmed” all spiritual powers that may try to come against us.
…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Paul specifically mentions angels and demons and says that they have no power to separate us from the security of God’s love that comes to us through Christ. His attempts at parting us from our loving God will ALWAYS be for nought.
1 John 4:4…
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
- Christ, who is in the one who has placed their faith in Him, is greater than satan who is in the world. We have nothing to fear.
While there are many other passages that can address this issue, it is most helpful to me to look at the encounter between satan and God as recorded in the book of Job. This is the ONLY example where we get the benefit of seeing what was going on BOTH on the spiritual level and on the physical/earthly level. It’s a pretty lengthy passage, so I’ll ask you to read it and then come back to these comments…
- Notice that any power that satan had over Job was only at the permission of God. satan is a lackey, one who has to go and ask for permission to do anything in regard to a believer. This leads me to believe that he does not have the authority to randomly or at will afflict those who trust in Christ/God. If he does so, it is only by God’s permission and for God’s purposes.
- Notice that God is the one who pointed Job out to satan. This is important because it demonstrates that no matter what evils satan brought against Job, God was still the one ultimately in charge – for HIS purpose (which Job knew nothing about).
- Notice that Job did not charge God with wrong, even though God was the one who allowed satan to afflict him and take his possessions, family, etc. Job recognized God’s RIGHT to do or allow whatever He wills.
- As a note of application, I think we are wise, based on this passage, to refrain from being so categorical and certain about what is going on in our lives. From the beginning to the end of the book of Job, Job has no clue what is going on behind the veil of the physical world. He doesn’t know what satan is doing, and perhaps doesn’t really care – because he knew a greater truth… whatever God allows is the will of God, and God can be trusted to carry out His good, pleasing and perfect will. So for me, I’m pretty slow to say, “I’m being attacked by the devil,” or “Satan is really after me this week.” While those statements may be true, and at times such a circumstance may be more obvious than at others, I’m slow to be so dogmatic in my statements. Such comments smack of pride to me and I’d prefer to humble myself under GOD’S mighty hand… That not only enables me to be submissive to the will of God in my life, but also enables me to keep my focus off of satan’s activity and ON my good and all-powerful God, my Lord and Redeemer!