Recently, the devil visited the Grammys. From the amount of press coverage, it seems he won an award. If you haven’t seen Sam Smith and Kim Petras’s controversial live performance of the song “Unholy,” don’t bother. It’s not worth your time. However, the celebration of this performance does bring up two points that are worth our attention.
First, the devil is real.
In popular culture, there are a wide variety of depictions of the devil. These depictions range from the comical to the abstract. Sometimes, the devil is a little red man with horns, a tail, and a pitchfork, urging people towards sin. Other times, the devil is merely a personification meant to put a face to evil. But his actual existence and attributes don’t depend on any individual’s belief about him. He objectively exists, and the Bible gives us the accurate picture of who Satan is and how he interacts with reality.
Satan is not just an idea or symbol for evil. He is a real, created, and finite being. Having been created, he is not equal to God. In fact, when he led a rebellion against God, he lost (Rev. 12). Having lost that rebellion, he was cast out of Heaven into Hell. The devil does not rule Hell, either. Hell is a place created as a punishment for him (Matt. 25:41).
The devil now oversees a host of demons, referred to in the Bible as “the world forces of this darkness” and “the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). With his horde of demons, the devil seeks to influence the world against God through lies, accusations, and deceptions. These are Satan’s weapons. Jesus says Satan “was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand with the truth because there is no truth in him.” He also says Satan is “the father of lies” (Jn. 8:44).
Throughout Scripture, we see examples of Satan using lies and deceptions in the hopes of nullifying the effects of the Word of God in the lives of people (Matt. 13:19). He pressed Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1). He tempted Jesus in the desert by misrepresenting Scripture’s words about the Messiah (Matt. 4:1–11).
The devil is real, and he will lie to you about your identity. He will lie to you to destroy your life (John 10:10). Peter said, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). The devil is not all-powerful, though. James says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7).
So, as Christ’s ambassadors, how do we resist the devil and respond to a world that seems so enamored with evil? This is our second discussion point.
In his Pensées, Blaise Pascal says,
When all tend to debauchery, none appears to do so. He who stops draws attention to the excess of others, like a fixed point. The licentious tell men of orderly lives that they stray from nature’s path, while they themselves follow it; as people in a ship think those move who are on the shore. On all sides, the language is similar. We must have a fixed point in order to judge. The harbour decides for those who are in a ship; but where shall we find a harbour in morality?
As the culture is carried away into more confusion, we are that fixed point. God commands, “You shall not follow the masses in doing evil” (Ex. 23:2). Paul, in Ephesians, says, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them” (Eph. 5:11). We expose evil by outwardly rejecting it. The devil is going to try to convince people that evil is good and good is evil. When we stand firm on the truth of what’s right and wrong according to God’s moral standard, we remain that fixed point.
This next point is the most important. Remember, all the devil has are lies. How do we combat lies? With truth. As the devil lies to us and those around us, we respond with the truth about who we are.
Christ has already conquered the devil and made a spectacle of him (Col. 2:15). While the devil hasn’t been completely destroyed, he can’t hurt you or me spiritually because any charge he brings against us is smashed by the cross (Rom. 8:33).
Satan will say you’re only as good as your most recent sin. That’s not true. Paul says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). As Christians, we have been brought from death to life. “When you were dead in your transgressions…He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions” (Col. 2:13). When Satan lies to you, remind him of your identity according to the true story of reality. You are a child of God. Forgiven. God has “canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us…and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Col. 2:14).
Satan may have won a Grammy Award, but we can be sure he’s lost something much more. He has no hold over you and me. While the culture may be lifting up evil, we can be sure ultimate goodness is coming. In the meantime, be a fixed point, strengthened by the knowledge of who you really are: a conqueror in Christ.