LIFE OF VICTORY – 2
If we have enemies, we should know who they are, where they are and what they intend to do. As Christians, we do have a terrible enemy—Satan. Since he is an enemy, we need to learn as much as we can about him and the tactics he uses against us as well as the demons that work for him.
We know that Satan first appeared as a serpent in the Garden to tempt Eve. From the beginning Satan has wanted to thwart the plans of God. As we think of the origin of Satan remember the Scripture in Deut.29:29. There are several suppositions but the fact is, we do not know. Two of the major ideas that have a lot of Scriptural backing are given by Victor Knowles and Jack Cottrell. Generally speaking, Cottrell believes that Satan and his “angels” are fallen angels that rebelled against God and were removed from God’s presence. This belief is set forth in his book, What the Bible Says about God the Creator. Another belief set forth by Knowles in his book, Angels and Demons, is that demons are spirits of the wicked dead. Both set forth their beliefs in a convincing manner with Biblical references and quotes from theologians of the past. We know Satan is evil and continues to this day to cause mankind to fall from faithfulness to God. God is over all and confines Satan within His power. The importance of this study lies in the fact that Satan is real and can destroy our lives. Illustrations of these things will be given in the following discussion.
2 Pet.2:4 Even though Satan works against God, the final power rests with God. Some of the angels sinned so God cast them into hell. Matt.25:41 The abandonment of the angels’ abode is also mentioned in Jude 6. God has the final authority over them.
God’s final authority is apparent in the life of Job. Job was a godly man. Satan appeared before God with the sons of God. God asked him from where he had come. Satan’s answer is recorded in Job 1:7. He was roaming the earth to defeat God and still is to this day. 1 Pet.5:8 Satan requested permission to harm Job in several ways. Note that Satan had to ask permission and each time God gave him limits within which he could act. Job 1:12
Satan is given several titles of description in the Bible. He is a liar and murderer. Jhn.8:44 Satan is also a tempter. Lk.4:1,2 Satan proved to be a betrayer in the life of Judas. Lk.22:3,4 He is a perpetual sinner from the beginning. 1 Jhn.3:8 Satan accuses Christians so is called the Accuser. Rev.12:10 John tells us that the children of the devil are obvious because they are void of love. 1 Jhn.3:10 The devil is conceited. 1 Tim.3:6,7 We can fall into his snares.
False doctrine is a trap that is used by Satan. 2 Cor.11:13-15 This becomes a dangerous disguise for us to confront. With all of the above characteristics, it is no wonder that he is called the evil one. Matt.5:37 (NIV) Satan has been given the name, Beelzebub and the prince of demons. Matt.12:24 Revelation speaks of the dragon and the ancient serpent along with Satan, the devil and his angels. Rev.12:9 Next come two terms used fairly often in Scriptures: ruler of this world – Jhn.12:31 and prince of the power of the air – Eph.2:2.
Since Satan is so full of evil, let us make ourselves aware of some of his works. His main goal to defeat God’s plan and purpose. He attempts to do this in many ways. Satan longs to bring suffering on anyone, especially believers of God. Lk.13:16 This does not mean that all suffering was wrought by Satan nor because of sin. Think of Job who had faith in his Redeemer. Job 19:25 Yet God allowed Satan to bring suffering upon him.
Satan is a schemer and is behind the scenes to take advantage. 2 Cor.2:11 Paul was warning the Corinthians that in a lack of forgiveness, Satan could use to cause sin in their lives. Satan can look so godly that we might fall for his schemes. 2 Cor.11:13,14 Someone might begin to believe God’s Word but Satan in his deceit comes along and snatches that belief away from them. Teaching a new Christian becomes so very important for this reason. Mk.4:15
Our attitudes, words, and deeds come from our heart and Satan loves to cast the thought of sin into our heart. His desire is to take out any good and replace it with evil. He can do that in so many ways. We listen to the wrong person. We make excuses for ourselves and justify what we are doing. We may even put off changing something we know to be wrong. Acts 5:3 Desire of praise and approval may have caused them to do this. For whatever reason, Satan put it into their hearts. Satan also put into the heart of Judas to betray his Lord. Jhn.13:2
Examples are given throughout the O.T. as well as the N.T. of Satan working in various ways to defeat God’s purpose. He has many demons working for him to instill sin in our lives. Popularity of the occult today is not new. The practices extend far back into the O.T. The occult is defined in 3 ways: consulting the dead, foretelling the future, and the practice of magic. Are these things practices of today? Definitely. Can you find your horoscope easily? It is available everywhere. Does your horoscope reveal God’s plans for you? No! Rather it puts trust in the occult (supernatural, magical).
Other tricks of the occult are automatic writing, table lifting, fortune telling (Deut.18:10), witchcraft (Gal.5:19,20), Ouija Board, palm readers, Tarot cards, spiritists (Lev.19:31), and many others not of God. Satanists employ many of these and others. It is dangerous to think of these things as “just a game.”
This has been such a negative lesson but Christians must beware of these forces surrounding us. Satan is active now but his end is sure. Rev.20:10; Rom.16:20 Meanwhile, we can have victory through Christ Jesus, our Lord, who has given within us power far greater than he who is in the world. 1 Jhn.4:4