For the last two weeks we have seen that sin results in rejection from God and makes people objects of God’s wrath. This week I want to look at how sin results in slavery to Satan.
But firstly, who is Satan? The Bible tells us that Satan is known by a number of names including Abaddon, Apollyon, Beelzebub, Belial, the accuser, the ancient serpent, the angel of the abyss, the devil, the enemy, the evil one, the father of lies, the prince of demons, the prince of this world, the ruler of the kingdom of the air and the tempter. He is the fallen angel who was present in the garden of Eden and is still living and active today in the world: ‘Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). One of the most dangerous things that people can do is to disbelieve in Satan.
Yet the awful truth is that people who sin are slaves to this Satan. Sinful humans are spoken of in 2 Timothy 2:26 as being in ‘the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will’ (2 Timothy 2:26). The word ‘captive’ is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament to refer to those people who are taken alive by soldiers. This is what has happened to those who fall into sin, they are taken alive by Satan and then subject to him. The problem is that Satan is not a righteous and holy angel who treats his slaves well. He is out for their destruction and wants to kill them. Jesus tells us this: ‘He was a murderer from the beginning’ (John 8:44).
So what hope is there for people to stay out of Satan’s control? One possibility would be not to sin. But the problem is that everyone has sinned which means that everyone has fallen into Satan’s trap and is his slave. Another possibility is that Satan would set us free himself, but Jesus says that is not logical and it would mean the end of Satan: ‘If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?’ (Matthew 12:26). The only possibility is that someone comes and sets us free from him. Thankfully Jesus is the one who tied up Satan and sets people free when they believe in him and repent of their sins. Paul tells us this when he instructs Timothy to gently instruct unbelievers ‘in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil’ (2 Timothy 2:25-26).
Are you still enslaved to Satan or have you been set free by Christ through repentance and faith in him?