Resisting the Devil
1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
One of the reason we are suffering here is Satan. The Word of God is very clear about the sufferings of Job, the woman that was bound by Satan for 18 years in Lk. 13:16, and those that were oppressed by the Devil in Acts 10:38. We all know also that even in the midst of sufferings, God is with us, He never leaves us, He is working in our lives that sufferings may produce holiness in us, prove our sonship and faithfulness, and to draw us closer to Him. Satan however, uses suffering to destroy us and to draw us away from the Lord. Peter therefore is giving us pointers on how to resist our enemy.
I. The adversary the devil (1 Pet. 5:8)
A. His titles:
1. The devil (Rev. 12:9), meaning “slanderer.”
2. Prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2).
3. Prince of this world (Jn. 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).
4. God of this world (2 Cor. 4:4). Satan is called this because unsaved men have rebelled against the true God and serve Satan, some knowingly and some unknowingly.
5. The dragon (Rev. 12:9).
6. That old serpent (Rev. 12:9).
7. Roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8).
8. Ruler of darkness (Eph. 6:12).
9. Beelzebub (Mt. 12:24), meaning “dung-god.”
10. Apollyon (Rev. 9:11), meaning “destroyer.”
11. The wicked one (Mt. 13:19).
12. Belial (2 Cor. 6:15), meaning “worthless.”
13. The enemy (Mt. 13:39; Lk. 10:19).
14. The tempter (1 Th. 3:5). (WOLE by D. Cloud)
II. His Works
A. Opposing God’s people (1 Pet. 5:8; Zech. 3:1; 1 Chr. 21:1). One of the reasons why the service of God is so difficult at times is that Satan is aggressively opposing God’s people. He especially targets those who are leaders and who are zealous in the work of God.
B. Sowing tares and evil doctrines. Mt. 13:25, 30. One of the Devil’s biggest works is false religion. Why do multitudes of otherwise rational people worship foolish idols and follow after strange false religions such as Islam? Because there is a spiritual power behind those religions, a drawing power, and it is the Devil.
C. Accusing Christians (Rev. 12:10). Satan is the accuser of the brethren, and he does this continually. Praise God, though, he cannot succeed at this because our sins were carried away by the cross of Calvary.
D. Promoting false teachings (1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Cor. 11:1-4, 12-15; 2 Tim. 2:25-26). Satan is the mastermind and power behind false teaching. That is why multitudes follow things such as Mormonism and Romanism. There is a spiritual power there that draws and holds them.
E. Working miracles (Mt. 24:24; 2 Th. 2:9; Rev. 13:11-15; 16:14). We see this also in the Old Testament. The magicians who opposed Moses could do some miracles (Ex. 7:14). Many people are deceived by thinking that miracles must be of God, but the Bible warns that the Devil can do some miracles and he uses them to deceive people. Modern day Charismatic movements’ miracles are questionable.
F. Tempting men to sin (Eve-Gen. 3:1-5; Jesus-Mt. 4:1-11 Judas-Jn. 13:2; Ananias and Sapphira-Acts 5:3; married couples-1 Cor. 7:5; young widows-1 Tim. 5:15). Satan tempts men, but he cannot make them sin. Jas 1:13-14 says men are tempted when they are drawn by their own lusts.
Illustration: Stragies of Satan with Unbelievers
1. Blinding the minds of the unregenerate (2 Cor. 4:4).
2. Snatching away the good seed of the word (Matthew 13:19).
3. Lulling the unbeliever into a false sense of security (Luke 11:21).
4. Laying snares for the unwary (2 Timothy 2:25-26).
5. Masquerading as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:13-14).
6. Deceiving those whose minds are not subject to the Word of truth (Rev. 12:9).
7. Mixing truth with error (Matthew 13:25-28). (Satan is No Myth, J. O. Sanders, Moody, 1975, pp. 72).
III. Resisting the Enemy
A. Be Sober – literally means abstain from wine. The NT uses “sober” metaphorically for spiritual alertness or watchfulness (1 Thess. 5:6, 8; 2 Tim. 4:5, 1 Pet. 1:13).
B. Be vigilant – to keep awake, to watch, to be spiritually alert. Just like a soldier on guard, a Christian should watch and ready for the coming attack of our enemy the devil.
C. Resist – means to stand against, that is oppose:—resist, withstand. We are to stand against the attack of the devil. Resisting the devil includes:
1. Put on the whole armour of God (Eph. 6:10-18).
2. The blood of Christ (Rev. 12:11). Satan can be overcomed by the Blood of the Lamb.
3. Use the Word of God (Mt. 4:4). Christ when tempted quoted the Scriptures to Satan.
4. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. (1 Jn. 4:4). The Holy Spirit in us is more powerful than Satan.
5. Be prayerful. (Eph. 6:18, Mat. 17:21).
6. The last but not the least, “be steadfast in faith”, meaning we must rely in Him and in Him alone. Our strength is insufficient to fend him off, but when we put our faith in Christ we can really stand against him. As the last part of verse 9 says, “knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
Illustration: Satan’s Power is Permitted
Lest we be “terrified by our adversaries,” it is well to remember that Satan’s power is not inherent but permitted (Rom. 13:1). It is not unlimited, but controlled (Job 1:12; 2:6). It is not invincible, but broken (Luke 11:21-11). It is not assured of success, but is surely doomed (Rev. 20:2-3). Satan knows well that there is no ultimate victory for him. The pronounced sentence has only been postponed. But he works to hinder and postpone Christ’s final triumph. We can rejoice in the certainty of John’s assurance: “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4).
Satan is still very strong and powerful but we Christians can stand against him, we can resist him. He is a defeated foe and in due time he will be punished forever and ever. Will you be on Christ’s side? Will you put your faith in Christ so you too can resist the devil?