Category: Sin, Word: THE DEVIL
October 2, 2015 | by: Kendell Easley, prepared by Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: 52 Words
23. THE DEVIL
Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your brothers in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
DEFINITION: The Devil is a supernatural spirit creature hostile to God. He leads a host of other spirit beings in opposing God by tempting, accusing, leading astray, and other means. He is not equal to God and does not threaten God’s sovereignty or power.
The popular image of the Devil as a horned, fork-tailed, red-clad grinning imp ruling from hell owes nothing to Scripture and everything to fiction. The Devil (meaning “accuser”) existed as an evil spirit before mankind was created, and Genesis 3:1-5 presents him as the serpent tempter (Rev. 12:9). While it is possible that Isaiah 14 refers to his origin, what is certain is that he was created righteous and holy by God but fell into the sin of pride (1 Tim 3:6). He led other spirit beings into revolt against God, and God has been pleased to allow this opposition because it serves His glory and His purposes.
Human beings make two kinds of mistakes when thinking about the Devil. Some credit him with too much ability. As a creature he is finite in all ways, including knowledge and power. Others make too little of him, supposing that “Devil” is just a biblical way of referring to the impersonal effect of evil. (“The Devil made me do it” is a line that illustrates such a trivializing of the Enemy.) The most powerful twentieth-century treatment of the Devil was no doubt C.S. Lewis’s brilliant parody, The Screwtape Letters.
In the Old Testament, the term “Satan” (meaning “adversary”) is used to refer to this powerful wicked spirit. The most extensive passage is Job 1-2, in which he opposed Job before God and was permitted to attack Job within limits. In Genesis 3 and 1 Chronicles 21, Satan is a tempter urging humans to disobey God’s word. By New Testament times, the doctrine of the Devil was more fully developed. Among other things, he is called the following:
(Matt. 4:3) (Mk 3:22)
Ruler of the demons Father of liars
(Lk 11:15) (Jn 8:44)
Ruler of the world God of this age
(Jn 16:11) (2 Cor. 4:4)
Angel of light Ruler of the atmospheric domain
(2 Cor. 11:14) (Eph. 2:2)
The evil one Dragon
(1 Jn 5:19) (Rev. 13:2)
In the Epistles the death and resurrection of Jesus are revealed as the means by which the Devil and his forces have been dealt a decisive blow (Col. 1:15). Although the Devil has been defeated, he still tempts and is the adversary of believers, as the opening citation from 1 Peter 5:8-9 shows. Yet all believers can prevail against the Devil’s tactics through the spiritual armor God has supplied (Eph. 6:10-20). Revelation prophesies the utter demise of Satan: “The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur…tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10).
REFLECTION: Are you more prone to give the Devil too much credit or too little? Why? What difference does it make whether Christians believe in a literal, personal Devil?
PRAYER: Holy Creator, I praise You that Your plans cannot be thwarted by the wickedness of the Devil. Help me this day to take the full armor of God so that I may stand against the Devil’s schemes, not in my strength but in the strength of Christ my Lord. Amen.
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. Government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.