While Satan has “tremendous power” in this world, all of his power is subordinate to the authority that is vested in Christ. And he has no authority to do anything God does not permit for infinitely wise purposes, John Piper explains.
In an episode of “Ask Pastor John” posted to Desiring God on Wednesday, a listener inquired about just how much authority Satan has in this world and how it relates to God’s complete sovereignty over all things.
Piper first explained that God, and not Satan, is the ultimate authority in the world. Yet, God considered it wise, as part of His curse on the world after the fall of Adam and Eve, to give Satan “a huge power” in this world.
“But he doesn’t have ultimate power,” he said. “We’re not dualists. We don’t think there’s God and Satan duking it out for power in the universe. God is God, not Satan. Satan’s not God. All Satan’s power is by permission. He has no autonomy to do anything God does not permit for infinitely wise purposes.”
The pastor further explained that God gave Satan permission to afflict Job: “All his acts of opposition to God and God’s people are part of God’s plan as he gives Satan permission to exercise tremendous power in this world,” he said.
Still, Satan’s sway over the world is “terrible and vast,” Piper admitted, citing 1 John 5:19, which reads: “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
Yet, in Christ’s death and resurrection, the decisive blow against Satan has been struck, Piper said, referencing Luke 22:53, where Jesus tells Satan: “This is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
“Jesus basically says, ‘You know, you get an hour. You get one hour. I know when it starts. I know when it ends. That’s your hour. It’s all by sovereign permission that you can do your dastardly deed in Judas and in me tomorrow morning,’” Piper said.
In dying on the cross for the sins of humanity and “nailing your record of debt to the cross,” Jesus effectively defeated the “great accuser,” Piper contended.
“Satan’s power is that he’s a great accuser,” he said. “If he has nothing in his court folder as he stands before the bar to accuse us, what’s he going to do? He becomes powerless in this courtroom because our record of debts has been canceled.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett