It would appear that there is a stream of thought in certain Christian circles which claims that Satan (or the devil) does not have any strength or power to harm or otherwise torment humanity. The argument is that the suffering and death of Christ on the cross has disarmed the enemy and, in essence, made him impotent. While it is true that Christ defeated Satan on the cross, theologically speaking, that sentence has not yet been carried out, practically speaking; and while it is also true that we now (“in Christ”) have the right to say “no” to Satan, it does not necessarily follow that he is neither powerless nor a non-threat. I would argue, in fact, that it is precisely the might of the enemy which makes this certain Christian thought possible! He has lulled some of us to sleep and caused us to believe the lie.
Reason dictates that, since Satan is not in “Hell” (for there is no biblical principle for thinking he is) – in fact, he is the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2) and “the ruler and authority in heavenly places” (Eph. 3:10) – he is still very much able to do harm.
Experience speaks to the fact that the enemy is still a very real power that works against humanity in our expression of Jesus Christ on earth. While many things are produced by our own darkened hearts, the enemy is at war against us as “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). This invisible entity is made visible through the workings of the depravity of humanity.
The traditions of the Universal Church – from the Apostles, through the Ancient Church Fathers, the Medieval Church, the Reformation, and to the present era – state that Satan (and his angelic warriors) are the enemy of the human being and the human soul; whose single purpose is to kill, steal, and destroy anything and everything which is of humanity.
The Scriptures demand that we know and understand that these things are true:
Peter makes us aware of the fact that “Satan is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1Pet. 5:8). Paul say for us “not to be ignorant of the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). How are we “tempted by Satan” if he is without power (1Cor. 7:5)? How does he get “an advantage” over us (2Cor.2:11)? How does he “transform himself into an angel of light” (2Cor.11:14)? How did Satan have “messengers to buffet” Paul (2Cor. 12:7)? How is it possible Satan “hinders us” if he is without power (1Thes.2:18)? And what, then, does Paul mean when he says that antichrist is according to “the working of Satan with all power…” (2Thes. 2:9)? Not to mention that we can be caught in the “snare of the devil” (1Tim.3:6-7), that he has the “power of death” (Heb. 2:14), and how the “works of the devil” are yet to be “destroyed” (1Jn. 3:8).
It is a truth statement: “He who is in you is greater than he who is on the world” (1John 4:4), but does that not necessitate that there is one in the world who is great?