Biblical Theology of Suffering In conjunction With Satan
We know from scripture that God grieves and suffers when his beloved are in pain. Satan on the other hand, revels in suffering. He is constantly looking for an opportunity to afflict God’s people with evil and destruction – a maliciousness he delighted in since his fall from grace. So, where does Satan fit in the story of God’s plan of redemption?
The Bible acknowledges Satan as a real and distinct person – a fallen angel with supernatural evil powers. He is described as ‘the ruler of this world’ (John 12:31), ‘the prince of the power of the air’ (Ephesians 2:2), and the ‘god of this age’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). Brought before God in the Council of Heaven, God declared that a way of redemption and reconciliation must be opened. Satan was inflicted with foreknowledge of a suffering Savior who was to come.
The Hebrew word “satan” means “accuser” or “opponent.” It’s first use in scripture is when God appoints the angel Satan as a prosecutor over Job, in order to test his faith (Job 1:6-7). In the following chapters, it becomes clear that the strategic use of evil, suffering and temptation are ultimately to the praise and glory of God (Job 1:8-19).
The New Testament, however, contains three explicit mentions of Satan – in Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13 and Luke 10:18. Through his temptations, he is working hard to divert us from the plan of redemption promised in scripture. Jesus knows that Satan is actively seeking to destroy God’s people and thwart his plan (John 10:10). Therefore, throughout his ministry, Jesus stands ready to protect us from the enemy.
In addition to these specific mentions, there are other passages in the Bible which speak to the influence of Satan and his role in suffering. Revelation 12 reports a war in heaven between Michael the archangel and Satan the dragon, who eventually lost and was cast down to earth. Matthew 12:26 says that Satan is capable of “casting out demons” and that he still has limited power on earth. This same passage also reveals that he holds the keys of death and Hades.
In Mark 3:27, Jesus depicts Satan as “the strong man” – the arch enemy who threatens God’s authority and people. He adds that if anyone is to overthrow him, they must first bind him – setting free those who have been held captive by his schemes. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 gives insight into Satan’s ability to blind us to spiritual truths and deceive us into believing a lie. The Apostle Paul also warns us in Ephesians 6:11-13 to take up our spiritual weapons and be vigilant against the schemes of the devil, who “roams around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour”.
Satanic Attack Strategies and Spiritual Warfare Prayers
Satan does not generally attack us by force. He is far too crafty for that. Instead, he employs tactics like deception, distraction, discouragement, and division in order to destroy us from within. He takes advantage of our natural tendency to succumb to temptation and doubts.
The bible gives us plenty of advice on how to fight and protect ourselves against Satan. We must be alert and prepared to resist him. James 4:7 commands us to “resist the devil, and he will flee from you”. 1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us to “be on our guard, be alert and sober-minded, so we can resist the devil’s schemes”.
Other passages instruct us to use spiritual warfare prayer. Jesus himself prayed to protect his disciples from evil (Matthew 26:41). We should also pray for strength and discernment in order to recognize when Satan is at work. In addition, we should renew our commitment to God daily, meditate on the scriptures, and practice fasting for spiritual strength and protection.
Protecting ourselves from Satan
In order to protect ourselves from Satan, we must be alert to his scheming and understand his tactics. We must stand firm in our faith and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and his promises. The Apostle Paul encourages us in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” – to reject any destructive lies with the truth of God’s word.
It is important to remember that, despite the power Satan holds here on earth, his fate has already been determined. We know that Jesus has already won the victory over him. We must take heart, knowing that Satan is already defeated, and that he can only reign here in limited power as long as God allows it.
Satan’s last Weapon
Satan’s last weapon is death, which according to Hebrews 2:14, he has tried to use to destroy Jesus. But his plan was thwarted and Jesus defeated death itself, rising from the grave and revealing once and for all the power of God over evil.
Though we may still suffer from sickness, pain and loss in this life, we know that our Savior will ultimately bring us into the freedom of eternal life. That ultimate victory eliminates all the suffering, pain and sorrow perpetrated by Satan here in this world.
Satan’s Earliest Deception
Satan’s earliest deception has been to lead us astray from God’s truth and plans for our lives. His first temptation was to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Here he sought to deceive them by making them desire something God had forbidden – knowledge that was not theirs to possess. This is still his mission today – to get us to indulge in desires, appetites and passions that take us away from God and his promises.
In the Bible, Proverbs 4:25 warns us not to turn aside to the right hand or the left and to ‘keep our feet from evil’ by walking in God’s path and focusing on his word. We must learn to recognize and reject Satan’s lies and temptations as they are presented to us.
Satan’s Punishment and Downfall
Though we may struggle against Satan in this life, his punishment and downfall has already been predestined. Isaiah 14:12-15 speaks of Satan’s inevitable fall from heaven and his demise in the flames of the lake of fire. Revelation 20:10 speaks of Satan’s ultimate destiny – an eternity spent in the pit of utter misery and darkness where he can never harm God’s people again.
The Victory of Christ Over Satan
The victory of Christ over Satan was secured when he was crucified and rose from the grave. As Romans 16:20 says, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” We have the victory over Satan through Christ’s victory and his offer of salvation, forgiveness and eternal life.
At the cross, Jesus took the full force of evil, suffering, and death on our behalf. As Colossians 2:15 says, “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” This is the ultimate display of God’s power and mercy.
The Hope of Redemption
God’s redemption story—from the Garden of Eden to today—is so much bigger than Satan and his work. Satan is only a temporary tenant of this world, and a defeated one at that. His time is up, and he has been replaced by One far greater whose name is Jesus, who offers us hope and a way out of our broken world.
The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 8:38-39 that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons (nor Satan), neither our present circumstances nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor any other created thing, can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Satan’s Power and Authority Within the Bible
Satan is referred to as the “prince of this world” in John 12:31, and in Ephesians 2:2 as the “prince of the power of the air.” However, Satan does not possess power or authority over all mankind according to the Bible. Hebrews 2:14 explains that Jesus has been given authority to judge the living and the dead and to ensure that all who reject or reject him will face eternal judgement.
Satan works to deceive and lead people away from God, and he has been successful in doing so since the fall of man. While worldly powers can be used to influence lives, the full authority to save or damn lies with God alone. As Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
God’s Love Is Stronger Than Satan’s Power
While Satan will do everything he can to draw us away from God, his power is ultimately limited and temporary. Through faith in Jesus, we are freed from the enemy’s power permanently, and Satan is thrown down eternally.
No matter how powerful the enemy may seem, God’s love will always be stronger. For every lie Satan speaks, Jesus speaks a stronger truth. For every temptation, a stronger grace. For every despair, a deeper hope. For every fear, a greater courage.
God has overcome Satan and his schemes and promises that our lives will be victorious. The Bible says in Romans 8:37 that “We are more than conquerors through him who loves us”. This victorious life is ours because of Jesus and his ultimate victory.