A provocative title wouldn’t you say? But it is very true. Christians often respond with shock and surprise at the wickedness that runs rampant in our world. We shouldn’t be. It is expected that any environment under the influence of evil will, itself, be evil. Our world, our society, our culture, and sometimes even our homes and churches, are in the grip of the evil one.
It’s time we revolt.
When Adam and Eve committed the very first sin (Genesis 3:6) God brought punishments immediately (Genesis 3:8-19). Mankind died that day. He became separated, by his own sin, from God. Hard physical labor and the pain of childbirth are evident too. But the immediate impact of sin was seen in the very next generation when the first child Cain killed the second child, Abel. The murder was in response to Cain’s faithless worship.
The world has been going downhill ever since.
Today, sin has spread like a stain throughout our world. Not one person has remained unscathed by its relentless march against righteousness. The beauty and calm of the Garden of Eden has been replaced by ugly chaos and sin. It is all around us.
Paul speaks of the “power of the prince of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) which is surely Satan, and notes that he works in and through the unrighteous. There is no doubt that Satan has control of the wicked. Later, Paul speaks of our warfare against the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Three times John speaks of the ruler of this world (John 12:31, 14:30; 16:11) who is clearly a reference to the devil. There is also the third temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4:9-11 when Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for Jesus bowing down and worshipping him. Many argue that Satan did not have the power to deliver on this temptation. They say Satan was bluffing. I disagree. If Satan were lying would it not be evident that Jesus would know he was lying? Such a transparent lie would be no temptation at all to Jesus. It is clear from the John passages above that Jesus viewed Satan as the ruler of the world. Satan’s power was extreme. His influence over the world was so great that he could have delivered entire kingdoms to anyone he wished.
But we are immeasurably blessed that the prince of the power of the air was stopped by the Prince of Peace. Consider the Father’s work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and placed him “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and above every name that is named” (Ephesians 1:21). In Revelation 20:1-3 Satan is seen as bound and cast into a pit for a thousand years. He is not destroyed but imprisoned. His eternal punishment comes later (Revelation 20:7-10).(1) Satan is now bound but still wields great influence in our world. While Jesus has triumphed over evil (Colossians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15:56-57) there are multitudes that reject Him and are still governed by the evil one.
But for the Christian, there is victory and there is protection from Satan. We are not ignorant of his work (2 Corinthians 2:11) and have been well warned (1 Peter 5:8). God protects us from Satan’s power (1 Corinthians 10:13). We are children of the King and look forward to a home where nothing evil can approach (Revelation 21:27). The devil may be in charge for some people – but not us!
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.
- I do not pretend to understand every scintilla of the record here but the passage is clearly symbolic, not literal and shows the ultimate end of evil.(↩)