This post is the second part of what is essentially my teaching notes from a book by Wayne Grudem, “Christian Beliefs.” This book condenses what Grudem teaches on a panoply of topics found in his seminal work, “Systematic Theology.”
Just as there is a great deal of confusion surrounding angels, unsurprisingly, many are confused about demons and Satan. Hopefully, this post will clarify what the Bible teaches on Satan and demons.
All quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from Grudem’s “Christian Beliefs.” Anything italicized is a supplement not found in the book – but likely found in another book, either the Bible or Grudem’s “Systematic Theology.”
“Demons are evil angels who sinned against God and who now continually work evil in the world” (54).
- Originally declared “good” as a part of God’s good creation – Genesis 1:31
- Cast from Heaven to Hell due to sin – 2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6
- No idea when – after creation and before Adam & Eve’s temptation
- Head of the demons – 1 Chronicles 21:1, Matthew 4:10, Luke 10:18
- Names in scripture:
- Satan – Job 1:7-2:7
- The devil – Matthew 4:1
- The serpent – Genesis 3:1
- Beelzebul – Matthew 10:25
- The ruler of this world – John 12:31
- The prince of the power of the air – Ephesians 2:2
- The evil one – Matthew 13:19
- Lucifer is a translation in the KJV of Isaiah 14:12 of the morning star as the name, Lucifer. At least according to Wikipedia.
- Father of lies – John 8:44
- Originator of sin – 2 Cor. 11:3
“(Satan and his demons) will also use similar destructive tactics – such as temptation, doubt, lies, murder, guilt, fear, confusion, sickness, envy, pride, and slander – to hinder a Christian’s witness and usefulness” (55).
Contrary to popular depiction, Satan is not and will not be the ruler of Hell. He will be cast into Hell, along with the demons, at God’s command in the final judgment. Instead of being the ruler of Hell, Satan will experience punishment for his rebellion against God.
Limits of Satan and the demons:
- Limited by God’s power and control – Job 1:12
- “Can be resisted through the authority of Christ” (55). – James 4:7
- “Cannot know the future” – but may be able to “draw conclusions about our thoughts or our future” (55). – Isaiah 46:10, Daniel 2:27-28
“Like God’s angels, Satan and his demons are active in the world today, and they work much evil. But they are not solely responsible for all the evil in the world. Much of the sin mentioned in the Bible is not the result of Satan or his demons but instead the result of an individual person’s own actions (James 1:14)” (56).
We must remember 1 Peter 5:8-9a, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith…”
Demonic Possession (According to Grudem’s Systematic Theology, 423-427)
- Grudem warns caution about the term “demonic possession” – scripture speaks of people who “have a demon” (Matthew 11:18. Luke 7:33, 8:27, John 7:20, 8:48-52, 10:20) versus a demoniac (Mark 5:1-20).
- According to Grudem, the problem lies with the sense that those demon possessed have no will or ability to fight the demon – in the case of the Gerasene demoniac of Mark 5, he may not have been able to combat the demons, but in the other passages there is a sense that they could have fought.
- Can a Christian be demon possessed?
- According to Romans 6:14, “sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace,” a demon can’t force a Christian to sin against the Christian’s will.
- If Jesus can be under attack by Satan, such as in Luke 4:2 (the wilderness), Christians can be attacked by demons.
Victory in Jesus:
- “Jesus nullified the power of ‘the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil’ (Heb. 2:14)” (56).
- “At the cross God ‘disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them’ in Christ (Col. 2:15)” (56).
- When under attack, “take confidence in Christ’s victory and use ‘the weapons of our warfare’ that ‘ have divine power to destroy strongholds’ (2 Cor. 10:4)” (56).
- What are our weapons of warfare? The Armor of God as described in Ephesians 6:10-20.
- Using the name of Jesus, Christians can command an evil spirit to leave – Luke 9:1; 10:17; James 4:7
- In the case of when non-Christians become Christians, the gospel is a weapon against Satan and his influence.
- Jesus will one day “completely remove the influence of Satan and demons from this world” (56). – And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:8