Martin Luther Collection: Luther, Martin - A Mighty Fortress Is Our God: CHAPTER IV: SATANâ€OS POWER

Online Resource Library

Return to | Commentary Index | Bible Index | Search | Prayer Request | Download

Martin Luther Collection: Luther, Martin - A Mighty Fortress Is Our God: CHAPTER IV: SATANâ€OS POWER

TOPIC: Luther, Martin - A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Other Topics in this Collection)

Other Subjects in this Topic:



Satan was created as the highest of the angelic order. As such, he is the most powerful being of the creation of God. Even Michael, the archangel (Jud_1:9) seems to be of lesser power than Satan. But what kind of power does the Devil possess? Surely it is not merely physical strength, nor is it simply the ability to perform signs and wonders. In consideration of Satan’s power, we must understand three important truths: (1) His power is exceedingly great. (2) His power is not unlimited. (3) His power over the Christian has been eliminated.

His Power Is Exceedingly Great

The popular notion that the Christian has some sort of power over the Devil and that he is afraid of the spiritual believer is not only wrong, it is part of the satanic deception. The evidences of Satan’s power are seen in the following Scriptures.

He Lies and Murders

Adam and Eve were innocent until the Serpent (Gen_3:1) deceived Eve (2Co_11:3; 1Ti_2:14) and Adam fell into sin (Rom_5:12). Concerning this Jesus said that Satan “was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (Joh_8:44 b) The power of Satan is characterized first by his lying and murdering. His deceitful and murderous plan is unchanged from the beginning. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1Pe_5:8)

He Hurts and Destroys

Satan hates God and the people of God. If the Evil One had his way, he would kill us all. Job is an example of the man of God who suffers at the hand of the Devil for no other reason than that he is one of God’s people and is living a holy and a righteous life (Job_1:1-22; Job_2:1-13). When God said to Satan, “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power,” the awful force and hellish fury of Satan was unleashed on Job and his family. In the extended passage of Job_1:1-22; Job_2:1-13, we find that Satan has the power to manipulate some people (Job_1:15, Job_1:17), he can cause fire to fall from the sky (Job_1:16), he can control the weather and cause storms (Job_1:19), he can cause sickness and disease (Job_2:7), and he can influence even God’s people as we see in Job’s wife (Job_2:9). The great power of Satan to hurt and destroy is limited only by the omnipotence of God.

He Opposes and Tempts

One if the ways the Wicked One opposes the purposes of God is by tempting godly people to sin. King David was tempted (1Ch_21:1) by Satan to sin. The end result of his sin was that 70,000 people of Israel were killed in a pestilence that God sent as punishment. The temptation of Jesus by the Devil mirrors his temptation of Eve. Both were offered “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” (1Jn_2:16) Eve sinned, Jesus did not. Satan has the power to oppose and tempt, but he cannot force a child of God to sin. Sin is always a choice for the believer.

He Blinds and Binds

The unregenerate are both blinded to the truth of God and bound or held captive in sin. The power to blind and bind is seen in the following passages. “He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” (Joh_12:40) “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” (Rom_11:7) “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.” (2Co_3:14) “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2Co_4:4) “But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” (1Jn_2:11) “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” (Joh_8:34) “And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2Ti_2:26) “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” (2Pe_2:19) “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” (Rom_6:16-22)

He Influences

The Devil’s power over the Christian is restricted to his influencing and tempting activities. However, Satan’s influence is different than his temptation. Satanic influence is only possible after the child of God has yielded to temptation, is not yielding to the Holy Spirit, and is living “after the flesh.” Satan has no power to force a Christian to sin or to control a Christian against his will, but the carnal Christian (Rom_8:5-13) who is yielding to the influence of the Devil is not only a slave to sin (willingly), but is in danger of the “sin unto death” (1Jn_5:16).

His Power Is Not Unlimited

Satan’s power is great, but he is not all-powerful like God. All that Satan does is by Divine permission. The main Old Testament text that illustrates this truth is God’s restriction of Satan in the matter of Job (discussed previously). The central New Testament passage that details the limiting of satanic power is 2Th_2:7, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” The One who “letteth” or is restraining is the Holy Spirit who is resident in the Body of Christ. He is restraining or holding back the tide of evil until the day He is taken out of the way at the Rapture of the Church. Satan can do nothing but what God allows him to do.

His Power Over the Christian Has Been Eliminated

As before mentioned, Satan has no actual power over the Christian. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we have been made free from the law of sin and death (Rom_8:1-4). He has enabled us to turn “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.” (Act_26:18) God has “delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Col_1:13) Christ has defeated Satan and destroyed his works. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1Jn_3:8) More will be said on this important subject in Chapter Seven, Satan and the People of God.