the limit of Satan

March 15, 2015

the bible

The book of Job is considered by many Bible scholars to have been the first book of the Bible given to man from God. At the beginning of the story, when all of the angels (both the holy and the unholy) came to present themselves before the Lord, He said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it” (Job 1:7). Why was Satan “cruising” the earth? A similar expression is found in 1 Peter 5:8, where Peter says that “your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The answer is clear: Satan roams and walks around the earth to find someone whom he can devour. However, as we continue to follow the development of Satan’s dialogue with the Lord, we find that even though the evil one is capable of attacking human beings, this does not mean that he is permitted to.

A major emphasis in the book of Job is the sovereignty of God. We need to recognize that nothing happens in God’s creation without God’s permission, including evil. God is not the author of sin, but His plan for His creation allowed for man’s choice and the presence of evil. Satan and mankind are responsible for introducing and maintaining sin in God’s world. Despite this, God is still sovereign over the evil that happened to Job.

First, God appears to have had a regular time in which all of the angels, both the elect and the evil, had to report to Him (Job 1:6; 2:1). This indicates His authority over both domains. Second, the Lord initiated the conversation with Satan by asking him if he had “considered My servant Job.” Third, Satan then sought permission from the Lord to harm Job. Surely Satan would not be seeking permission on such a matter if it were not necessary! Fourth, Satan recognized that the Lord had put a hedge (fence) around Job and his house that prevented Satan from stalking Job without divine permission. Fifth, after granting Satan permission, God limited the extent of suffering that Satan would be permitted to inflict (Job 1:12; 2:6).

God’s sovereignty over His creation means that Satan does not have a free hand to run roughshod over God’s creatures, especially His children, without the Lord’s permission. The psalmist says, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain” (Ps. 76:10 kjv).

This also means we have to take responsibility for all of our actions, we cannot blame the devil for our character faults, nor can we (the Christian) blame our moral failures on demons. We are divinely protected by our Loving Father God.

We must keep in mind God’s sovereignty over all of His creation if we are to avoid two common errors. First, when some people learn about the things that Satan can do, they might respond as if God does not restrain Satan’s activity. Another people might claim to know that God is sovereign but then fail to apply that aspect of His character to their thinking by acting as if protection from Satanic or demonic attack depended on their own actions. Once again, they admit in theory that God is sovereign, but they behave in a way that actually denies His sovereignty. Those who are especially vulnerable to this incorrect perception worry constantly about whether they might have some unknown sin, curse, or family heritage with which they have not specifically dealt and that could be the basis for a “satanic stronghold.” This error fails to realize that God sovereignly applied all aspects of His salvation to our lives when we became His children.

One of things we are promised as believers is a rest, a peace, the knowledge that the battle is already won, that we rest in the gift of salvation God gave through His Son.

Yes we still struggle with sin, but trust me we don’t need a devil for that problem we do so nicely on our own to be sinful.

The biblically oriented believer should respond with an active trust in God characterized by a quiet confidence in God’s protection.

God’s sovereignty is like a filter that protects us from anything that He has not planned to bring into our lives to mold us into the image of our model—Jesus Christ.

Yes there is a battle, we will look at what that really looks like next.

God bless from

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