Have you ever wondered what Satan is doing? Or how that impacts our lives? That question was raised to me last week and I was very unsatisfied with my answer. So I did some homework and, in the process, thought that it might be helpful and interesting to others. This is certainly not a complete answer, nevertheless, I hope it is a good starting point: 

Before Christ’s ascension, all the nations of the world had been apportioned to various gods, Satan being chief among them (Deut. 32:8-9; Job 1:6-7; 2 Cor. 4:4). Israel was Yahweh’s possession (Ps. 147:19-20). The plagues upon Egypt were Yahweh’s power over the actual gods in Egypt. When King Ahab leads God’s people to worship Baal, Elijah’s miracles out perform Baal in the ways Baal was said to have power. This is how Satan was able to offer Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth (Lk 4:5-6) during Jesus’ temptation. But that was not part of God’s plan.

Jesus’ earthly ministry revealed Jesus’ power over these evil forces. It resulted in the mortal wounding and binding of Satan to ruin Satan’s kingdom and set up Christ’s kingdom (Gen. 3:15; Jn 12:28-29; Mt. 12:28; Heb. 2:14-15; Rev. 20:2). Satan’s binding means that he can no longer deceive the nations (Rev. 20:3). The covering that veiled the nations from the gospel has been swallowed up in Christ’s death (Isa. 25:7; Isa. 42:6-7). With Satan cast out, Jesus is now drawing all people to himself (John 12:31-32). Satan can’t stop Jesus’ salvation from reaching the ends of the earth (Isa. 49:6). The nations are no longer without hope (Eph 2:12).

At Jesus’ ascension, all the kingdoms of the world were legally taken from Satan and given to Jesus instead (Dan.10:13-14; Mt. 28:18; 1 Cor. 15:27). After the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Babel was reversed and the nations were no longer permitted to go their own ways (Acts 14:15). The old spiritual system, in which Satan was the ruler of the world, is ended. Satan still has some power but he does not possess the same position. In other words, Satan cannot ultimately stop the spread of the gospel. This age is characterized by the power of the gospel over the power of Satan (1 Jn 3:8). 

Satan can no longer accuse Christians before God (Rev. 12:10) and cannot separate us from Christ (Rom. 8:38-39) but Christ sits as Mediator, our Great High Priest, before God at all times (Heb. 9:24). Since Christ has been enthroned, He sent His Spirit to empower His followers to continue to spread that gospel (Acts 1:6). Satan is being crushed under the feet of Jesus’ followers (Rom. 16:10) as their feet bring the gospel to the nations (Mt. 28:19-20; Rom. 10:14-15) and as they do battle against Satan and evil powers with spiritual weapons (2 Cor. 10:3-6; Eph 6:10ff). Worship is warfare. Everywhere Christians are conquering Satan by the declaration of their faith in Christ’s work on the cross (Rev. 12:11). 

The light of the gospel far surpasses the old covenant (2 Cor. 3:14), yet it seems folly to those who are perishing while being the power of God to those who are being saved (1 Cor. 1:18). When they turn to Christ, the veil is lifted (2 Cor. 3:16), enabling them to see the beauty and power of all of God’s Word. As Christians see the glory of God in Christ, they are gradually transformed (2 Cor. 3:18) while those who refuse to turn to Christ continue to have their minds blinded by Satan (2 Cor. 4:4). 

Although Satan is mortally wounded, he can still cause problems for Christians, yet there is no room to excuse our sin based on Satan’s activity. One of Satan’s chief schemes against Christians is to convince them to deny, disregard or confuse some part of God’s Word which is our chief offensive weapon for spreading the gospel, resisting temptation, and crushing Satan (Gen. 3:1; 2 Cor. 2:17, 10:5; Eph. 6:17). We are not to give Satan an opportunity (Eph. 4:27) but to resist him and we are promised that he will flee (Jam. 4:7). We are instructed to put on spiritual armor which enables us to stand against his schemes (Eph. 6:11). And to pray for deliverance from Satan, just as Christ has prayed for us (Mt. 6:13; Jn 17:15)

Though there are some differing views among Christians on the extent, the Bible says that all will come to serve Jesus and Jesus will rule over the nations (Ps. 2:8, 22:27-28, 86:9; Zech. 9:10; Rev. 12:5). Some understand this to be all people, not in a universal sense of every individual person on earth but generally all, and others believe it points to some of every tribe, tongue, and nation. That Christ has not yet subdued the hearts of people is not a sign of Christ’s inability but of his loving patience (Isaiah 42:3-4; 2 Peter 3:15). Eventually, after subduing all others, Jesus will conquer death (1 Cor. 15).

Until the Lord returns and judges Satan, believers must, on the one hand, avoid ignoring the reality of Satan’s activity so that we can better resist and stand against him. Yet, on the other hand, we neither excuse our sin as Satan’s fault nor believe he has the upper hand when we, through the Spirit, share the gospel.