The Armor of God – An Introduction

Does Satan really exist? A Barna survey in 2009 yielded these results:

“Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan ‘is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.’ An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they ‘agree somewhat’ with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.” [1]

Of course, Satan is quite happy for us to doubt or deny his existence. C.S. Lewis illustrates this truth quite well in his book The Screwtape Letters. Screwtape, the experienced demon, is speaking to his nephew Wormwood, who is in training:

“I do not think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark. The fact that ‘devils’ are predominately comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you.”[2]

However, the Bible makes it quite clear that Satan does indeed exist. The website says this in an article entitled “Who is Satan in the Bible?”

“Concerning Satan, the Bible gives the following information:

• Satan is a personal being, with a mind, emotions, and a will (Job 1Matthew 4:1–12).
• He is a created being and is not equal to God (Ezekiel 28:15).
• Satan does not rule hell. Hell was created as a punishment for Satan and his demons (Matthew 25:41). Neither does Satan live in hell, as the Bible describes how he can enter heaven and roam the earth (Job 1:6–7).
• The devil can only do what God allows (Job 1:12).
• Satan is not omnipresent. But he does oversee a horde of demons, called ‘the powers of this dark world and . . . the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 6:12). He uses this network to tempt and deceive people.
• He actively works to nullify the effect of the Word of God in people’s hearts (Matthew 13:3–419), and he blinds the intellect of those who do not believe so they cannot understand the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4).”[3]

Now, it would do us well to be wary of Satan and his schemes. Remember that Peter warns us that “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Satan is constantly looking for ways to get Christians to take their eyes off their heavenly Father and thus become overwhelmed by the waves around us (as Peter did when he attempted to walk to Jesus on the water, see Matthew 14:28-30). 

But Satan is not omnipotent. True, he has some powers that are greater than those possessed by humans. But his power is not greater than our heavenly Father’s. This becomes clear when you read the first chapters of Job. Satan could only go as far as God allowed him to in attempting to separate Job from his trust in God. 

We will be faced by temptations on a daily basis as Satan throws his fiery darts at us. But we can stand firm, knowing, as John declares, “Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4, AMP).

Will it be easy? No, of course not. But it is possible to stand firm in the Lord. To that end God has given us spiritual armor, both offensive and defensive weapons we can use in the fight. Over the next few months we will look at each of those pieces of armor and discover how they can help us be victorious in the battle (which, in fact, Christ has already won for us!).“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  (Ephesians 6:10-13).

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  2. C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis Pte. Ltd., 1942.

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