Friday, November 11, 2016
The Purpose of the Devil
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
People get the idea that God and Satan are the opposites of each other and are nearly equivalent in power. The Bible makes it clear that this is not the case. Although the devil is very powerful, he is nowhere near on par with God. He is a creation of God who only continues to exist because God allows it. Obviously Satan is wicked but having him around fulfills a purpose.
Because Satan is a created being, he ultimately fulfills God’s will. Part of why the devil exists is because God wants us to have a free will. Starting in the Garden of Eden, God gave man free will to make his own choices. God did not create man to be a robot, which is why Calvinism is such a joke. Anyone with common sense knows that we all make our own choices in life. The devil made his choice too when he rebelled against God:
Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Ezekiel 28:15
Another purpose of the devil is to either punish or strengthen us. There is a lot of scripture on people being punished or tried through the devil. God is the one we need to fear, though, because we learn in the book of Job that the devil can only do what the Lord allows:
“And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.” Job 1:12
"To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 5:5
In the above verse, the church was praying that bad things would happen to this guy physically, so that he would be shaken up enough to get right with God. God often allows the devil to buffet us for our own good:
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10
Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” was probably some kind of physical ailment that helped to keep him humble and therefore strong spiritually. Satan has his own sinister agenda, but God causes even the devil's attacks attacks to work together for good.
God cannot lie, but he allows the devil to deceive people as a curse or punishment. Satan is behind all false religions and does not want you to be saved. False religion can seem very positive, because the devil is good at what he does. For example, the devil might be tempting you with a beautiful, decked-out cathedral filled with spiritual-sounding chants and beautiful music. That feeling you have in that atmosphere is not God’s presence, but Satan’s. God wants people to seek the truth and believe on him for salvation rather than falling for one of the devil’s false religions out of shallowness or laziness.
For those of us who are saved, God wants us to use our free will to avoid sin in the Christian life. The devil is our adversary. He’s our enemy—our opponent. God doesn’t eliminate the devil or tell us to live a secluded life because he wants us to resist the devil. The Bible says “we are not ignorant of his devices,” so we are expected to learn from the scriptures about how the devil works.
Here is the sermon where I go into this subject in more detail.