The Adversary

be self-controlled and alert….

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Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Satan, also known as the devil, the serpent, the dragon, occupies a small space in the story the Bible tells. This is as it should be because the Bible is not his story, but the accounts we have gives us insight and information about our enemy. In 1 Peter 5:8 he is called our adversary. An enemy or opponent. He is known by other names throughout the Bible, it is this name that most clearly defines his role

‏The name שָׂטָן ‎ śāṭān—is mentioned 19 times in the Old Testament, 14 times in the book of Job, the oldest book in the Bible. In this book we see satan, as an adversary of Job, attempting to discredit God’s assessment of Job’s character.

The name Σατάν Satan or Σατανᾶς Satanas—is mentioned 37 times in the New Testament. The most notable occurrences are when he attempts to persuade Jesus to follow in the steps of the first Adam in Matthew 4 and Mark 1, when he uses Peter, to try to persuade Jesus to avoid the cross in Matthew 16, and when he enters Judas in John 13:22-17 at the last supper, resulting in the betrayal of Jesus. In all of these accounts satan is clearly an enemy and opponent.

In the Hebrew and Greek definitions of his name, his adversarial nature is further revealed.

Hebrew: an opponent; especially (with the article prefixed) Satan, the arch-enemy of good :- adversary, Satan, one who withstands.—

Greek: the accuser, i.e. the devil —

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As I was driving to work this morning I was thinking about situations in my life, the lives of my family and my friends, and in our world where it is obvious the enemy is at work, opposing all that is good and the victories over him seem few and far between. In times like these he seems all to powerful. A fearsome adversary

But what power does he have in the world and over us? Scripture identifies two groups of people in the world. Those who are believers and for God and those who are unbelievers and against God. Satan’s power is contingent on which group people belong to.

Unbelievers

2 Corinthians 4:4 Satan is present in this world and has a major influence on the ideals, opinions, goals, hopes and views of the majority of people. He influences the world’s philosophies, education, and commerce. The thoughts, ideas, speculations and false religions of the world are under his control and have sprung from his lies and deceptions*
C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity “This is a civil war, a rebellion, and we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel. Enemy-occupied territory-that is what this world is”.**

Believers

It is important to note that Satan is a formidable enemy, to be sure, but in a personal sense, not as directly dangerous to us as the world and its temptations and our own human nature. Rarely does anyone encounter him directly, as he is very good at concealing himself, carrying out his work through humans and demons* Ephesians 6:12

Colossians 1:13 As believers we are no longer under the rule of Satan but we are vulnerable to the temptation of sin. This relegates his power over us to that which we give him when we choose to do so. Most of the enemies attacks against believers comes in the from of trials and trouble God allows. It is in these times we are most vulnerable to temptation.
Again in Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis follows up on the idea that a rebellion is in progress with this thought “Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign sabotage”.
Our calling is to undermine the work of the enemy and Jesus Christ himself has given us the authority to do so Luke 10:19

God is Sovereign and in His infinite wisdom, has allowed Satan to operate in this world within the boundaries God has set for him. This is a temporary arrangement with a definite end. In these last days as we see an increase in the work of the enemy, we must also understand that God is delaying judgement, because of His grace so everyone would have the opportunity to turn away from sin and turn to Him. 2 Peter 3:9

So we finish where we started taking note of the warning issued by the apostle Peter. 1 Peter 5:8

Be self-controlled : To be self controlled is to follow after the Spirit and not after our carnal appetites. This is the beginning work of the Spirit in every believer. It is also an ongoing battle. As we allow the Holy Spirit to produce this fruit in our lives Galatians 5:22 we are able to resist the attacks and temptations of the enemy

Be alert: Being spiritually alert and aware that”things are not what they seem”. Many believers are caught off-guard because they are spiritually lazy, neglecting prayer and studying the Word. We should especially be alert for false teachers that seek to present a false Gospel. The book of Jude 1 has a lot to say about this.

Resist him: Standing firm in the faith 1 Corinthians 16:13; 1Peter 5:9 even when it is not popular, even when it is counter-cultural. The popularity, tolerance, and acceptance that Christianity has enjoyed is fading fast in our post-modern world.
We face an enemy who is dangerous, and cunning, but he has been defeated!
God is Sovereign and will have the last word in everything!
*Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/Satan-god-world.html#ixzz3UbKwuM9D

** http://www.truthaccordingtoscripture.com/documents/apologetics/mere-christianity/Book2/cs-lewis-mere-christianitybook2.php#.VQNRZI4oHeIalert 1

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