The Devil is a Dope
As a pastor I am fielded questions on a regular basis. Even some of you have written, asking me about what the Scriptures teach, and I pray through that correspondence, as well as these weekly articles, you have been given clarity and perhaps challenged to see a different perspective.
Some of the frequent questions that I often encounter when talking to people are about Satan. “Does he exist?”, “Why does he exist?”, “Is he really someone we should be concerned about?” are a few of the questions that are brought to the surface when Satan is discussed.
First, does Satan exist? Absolutely, Jesus Christ was tempted by him in Luke 4:1-13 and spoke that Satan is a murderer and liar since the beginning (Jn. 8:44). He was present in the Garden of Eden as a serpent to deceive and tempt Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:1) and he now stands to accuse and wear out the saints of God (Job. 1:9-11, Dan. 7:25). Satan exists as not some abstract definition of evil, rather he is a real entity bent on destruction. Satan is the embodiment of evil, yes, but he is not an equal to God. The universe does not have God on one side, and the Devil on the other, and that they are equal in strength and power. No, although Satan may be powerful, he is still a created being and he cannot be compared to Creator God who is infinitely more powerful and sovereign.
If Satan is a created being who is evil and is aimed at destroying people, then why has God allowed him to exist? If God is indeed omnipotent and good, why doesn’t he take out Satan and thus end the struggle that believers have with him? Well, to address the last question, God will take out Satan in the lake of fire eventually (Rev. 20:10), but why hasn’t he already?
The Bible is clear that God is indeed sovereign over all, including Satan. It is also clear that God is a God of Redemption, and that he is most glorified in the saving and sustaining of his people. In allowing Satan to exist, God shows that in and through the suffering that is inflicted by the Devil, God is able to redeem, strengthen and preserve his people from falling amidst the fiery trails of faith, to the glory of Him alone.
It is a difficult concept, but let me try to illustrate with a story I heard many years ago.
One day there was a preacher that was taking an afternoon walk, and as he strolled along the village streets he came across a blacksmith shop. Watching it for a moment, he saw a huge beast of a man, swinging a large hammer and pounding a piece of metal. As the preacher continued to watch this behemoth swing and pound with his massive hammer, the preacher observed this man to be simple minded and far from bearing any sort of intelligence.
As the preacher drew nearer to blacksmith shop, he saw a gentleman in the back pointing and telling the one with the hammer where to hit. Intrigued, he entered the blacksmith shop and approached the gentlemen.
“Good Sir, curiosity begs me to ask you this: Why are you telling this man where to hit? Wouldn’t it be easier for you to pick up a hammer and do it yourself?”
The gentleman responded, “I am the master of this blacksmith shop…” gesturing toward the one pounding on the piece of metal “That man over there believes he is destroying that piece of metal, however, I am telling him where to hit because after it is finished, it will be considered a masterpiece”.
Satan is the biggest fool in the cosmos. In thinking that he is winning the battle, he is actually playing into God’s hands. The crucifixion of Jesus is a prime example. Satan sought to destroy Jesus by putting it in the heart of Judas to betray him (Jn. 13:2), yet when Jesus Christ was delivered and crucified, the cross was a public display of Satan’s defeat. That act of Satan was a suicidal one.
Is Satan real? Yes, however Jesus has won over him, the cross assures us of that. The suffering caused by Satan is unknowingly served for God’s redemptive process for followers of Christ. Christian, be strong in the battle, know that Satan has been overcome and that God works all things for your good (Rom. 8:28).