The Sovereignty of God
In 1 Peter 5:8 the Apostle says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The Bible is clear in many places that Satan is at work in our world today. Yet, the Bible also reveals that even Satan’s work is under God’s sovereign authority. God is not the author of evil. God does not condone sin. Yet, even Satan’s work does not thwart God’s work.
Let me illustrate this by mentioning Job 42:11 — “And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that Yahweh had brought upon him.” Now that is interesting to say the Lord brought these troubles on Job. I thought it was Satan? But the Bible recognizes that the Lord is in ultimate control of all things.
I’m sure I’ve said this before in a blog post, but the 1689 London Baptist Confession describes God’s control so beautifully and biblically:
From all eternity God decreed everything that occurs, without reference to anything outside himself. He did this by the perfectly wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably. Yet God did this in such a way that he is neither the author of sin nor has fellowship with any in their sin. This decree does not violate the will of the creature or take away the free working or contingency of second causes. On the contrary, these are established by God’s decree. In this decree God’s wisdom is displayed in directing all things, and his power and faithfulness are demonstrated in accomplishing his decree.
Now, why does God allow Satan to work as he does? I don’t have the answer. I just know God is sovereign and good and His secret plans and purposes are higher than I am allowed to question.
The Work of Satan
But now we need to focus on this work for a moment. Satan says to God in Job 1:7 that he goes to and fro on the earth and walking up and down on it. And Paul says Satan is “at work in the sons of disobedience” in Ephesians 2:2.
How is our adversary at work? Well, we know in the book of Job he is able to control the weather and armies, and even attack Job’s body. Again, this is all by the Lord’s sovereign permission but it is something to consider. I don’t mean to say that every storm is the Devil’s doing. In fact, you cannot read the Bible rightly and fail to see God’s sovereignty over the wind. God the Son incarnate reveals this when He calms the storm in front of His disciples! So, I don’t mean to say every storm is the Devil’s work like it was in Job. I just mean to highlight that Satan is at work in our world today.
Satan is also a deceiver — Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:4 that he disguises himself as an angel of light. He came to Eve, not as an adversary but pretending to be a friend. And he does so today as well. Again, we are not told the mechanisms of how this works – of how Satan might put a thought in someone’s mind or whatever. But we are told he is at work. He deceives countless numbers of religious people. For example, Jesus tells some of the religious people of his day: “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.” That’s John 8:44.
I think Satan and his legion of demons are very crafty at making people feel comfortable in their rebellion against God. “Oh you are okay. Don’t worry about all of that. God and you are okay. Look how bad other people are. But not you. Deep down you’re a good person.”
Or Satan deceives people into looking to another god or savior. This may be in formalized religions or it may be in secular worship too. For example, the savior many lost people are looking to in the West today is a vaccination. That is, they believe their greatest problem is COVID-19 when in truth, their greatest problem is their sin against a holy God. Satan is active in all these ways and more in the deceptions we see in our world today.
Satan is at work in our world today. He is opposed to all that is good and holy. He hates God and he hates humanity because he hates God. He is a liar and deceiver and introducer of division and controversy. He is at work in the church in the sense that he accuses the brethren, sows discord, and seeks to undermine or distort the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
All this to say we must not underestimate his vile craftiness. He has been at this a long time.