Does a believer have authority over Satan?Question: "Does a believer have authority over Satan?"
Answer: The believer’s authority over Satan and victory over the spiritual forces of evil depend on the power of God, the relative power of Satan, and God’s power within the believer.
First, God’s power is perfect and unlimited. He created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) and holds power over life and death. God clearly has power over Satan and in the end will cast Satan into eternal punishment in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7–10).
Second, Satan’s power, while no match for God’s, is yet strong. Satan can tempt humans, as he did with Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). He is sometimes given permission from God to inflict pain on people as in the case of Job (Job 1–2). He was able to tempt Jesus but was unable to cause Him to stumble or sin (Matthew 4:1–11). God warns us that Satan hunts for human victims in the way that a roaring lion prowls for his prey (1 Peter 5:8). Satan’s power is not only limited in effectiveness today, but it is also limited in time, and evil faces an ultimate defeat in the future (see Revelation 12:12 and 20:10).
This brings us to our power in relation to Satan. Believers in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8–9) have God’s Spirit living within them. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” The same power that created the universe resides within us. As a result, Satan has no true power over believers in Christ. He cannot force us to sin, he cannot possess us, and he knows that we will ultimately have the victory over him.
At the same time, Satan continues to cause problems for believers living in this fallen world. Ephesians 6:10–18 reminds us of the spiritual battle we face and the importance of walking in spiritual armor. In addition, James 4:7 tells us of our responsibility to resist Satan: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
We have no authority over Satan in ourselves, but God has all authority, and He fights on our behalf. Our response to Satan’s attacks should include submitting our lives to God, living in a holy manner, praying for God’s protection, and resisting sin. When we place ourselves under God’s protection, Satan has no authority over us. He will flee. In addition, we can respond to the devil’s temptations as Jesus did. All three times Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, the Lord responded by quoting God’s Word (Matthew 4:1–11). If Jesus defeated temptation through Scripture, we should certainly rely on the Bible to overcome Satan’s temptation in our lives. It’s not called the “sword of the Spirit” for nothing (Ephesians 6:17).
The apostle Paul reminds us that Satan’s power will not last long. Romans 16:20 promises, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Stand firm in the Lord, and you can live in victory over Satan’s schemes.
Recommended Resources: Victory in Spiritual Warfare by Tony Evans
Dig into this topic more with Logos Bible Software—get the free version now.
Spiritual strongholds - what is the biblical view?
Can a Christian today perform an exorcism?
What is the full armor of God?
Why is "the devil made me do it" not a valid excuse?
What does it mean to resist the devil, and why will resistance cause the devil to flee?
Questions about the Christian Life
Does a believer have authority over Satan?