Understanding Satan’s role (1)
Satan is a fallen angel who wasn’t satisfied to worship God; he wanted to occupy His throne. Angels, like humans, were made to serve and worship God. And they were given free will; otherwise, how could they worship?
But Satan said, ‘I will make myself like the Most High’ (Isaiah 14:14 NIV 2011 Edition). That got him evicted from heaven: ‘You are brought down…to the depths of the pit’ (Isaiah 14:15 NIV 2011 Edition). And Satan hasn’t changed. He’s as self-centered now as he was then, and he’s just as limited now as he was then. Even when his heart was good, he was inferior to God. God knows everything; angels only know what He reveals.
God is everywhere; angels can only be in one place. God is all-powerful; angels are only as powerful as God allows them to be. So, Satan is still subservient to God. And every time he tries to advance his cause, he ends up advancing God’s cause.
In The Serpent of Paradise, pastor and author Erwin Lutzer writes: ‘Satan has different roles to play, depending on God’s counsel and purposes…We must bear in mind that he does have frightful powers, but knowing that those can only be exercised under God’s discretion and pleasure, gives us hope. Satan is simply not free to wreak havoc on people at will.’
Satan doesn’t want you to know that; he’d rather you be deceived into thinking of him as an independent force with unlimited power. But he’s not. And he’d rather you’d never read these words: ‘God’s Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil.’
‘God’s Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world.’ 1 John 4:4 NCV