Text Size: Zoom In

Authority Over the Devil?

Can a child of God “take authority” over the devil? Can we, by our prayers and appeals to the blood of Christ, “bind” the evil one? Or are such thoughts echoes of what the New Testament author Jude referred to when he said that even Michael the archangel didn’t dare to rebuke Satan but said, “The Lord rebuke you”? (Jude 8-10).

What the Scriptures are clear about is that our identification with Christ enables us to draw near to God, and to resist the devil– so as to cause him to flee from us (James 4:7).

I’m asking you to consider this with me on the heels of my last post because I believe that spiritual warfare is real and that we can’t afford to try to fight that battle with wrong assumptions or ill conceived strategies. I’m also convinced that all authority has been given to Christ, not to us–at least not in the way some think.

But didn’t Jesus give his disciples authority to cast out demons? Yes, He did. Matthew tells us that, “When He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease” (Matt10:1). Then he quotes Jesus as saying to the same disciples, “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt 10:5-8).

It’s at this point, though, that we need to stay with the unfolding story of what Jesus was doing. As we do, we learn that our Lord later gave his disciples different instructions. (compare Matthew 10:1-15 with Luke 22:31-38).

Still later, when Paul gave the Christians at Ephesus directions for spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18), he gave them a truth-based strategy, rather than an authority-based one. While showing them how to resist Satan, he didn’t give them reason to think that they could “bind” their enemy– as if they could forbid him access to a prayed over person, home, church or city.

Does this then make us vulnerable to the Devil? No more than our Lord chooses in his wisdom to permit. God gives us all the defense we need to resist our enemy in a way that shows our trust in Him. He has given us a plan for spiritual warfare. He has given us the right to come at any time to His throne of grace. Most important, our God gives our enemy only as much freedom as He wants him to have, so as to test and deepen our faith in the Lord.

Although no one would choose to be tested by Satan, as the patriarch Job was, who can deny that Job ended up with a far deeper trust in God than he had before? (Job 42:1-6). And while no one would ask for Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (clearly identified as a messenger of Satan), who does not long to live with Paul’s resulting conclusion that God’s grace is sufficient?
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Now I realize that this is a bit to work through. But I believe it is worth considering together. If you don’t agree I hope you will let us know and give us your reasons so that we can work through this together.

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+52 rating, 52 votes)

13 Responses to “Authority Over the Devil?”

  1. poohpity says:

    I believe we are under spiritual warfare the closer we get to God. He has given us His Word as our sword but at times in my life I loose the strength to use the sword. At those times the Lord has directed me just to call on His name, to look up to Him and stand firm in the knowing that He is my protector.

    Satan has dominion over this world but Jesus over came the world and I choose to trust in Him to be my deliverer.

  2. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    Good Morning everyone, Mart, I thank the Lord, and you Mart for giving you the insight, and you coming up, or what ever it was that caused you to create this blog, because many of the subjects you bring up are things that many stumble at, and have no one to help them get on track as to what their problem, or problems are, and
    many are never addressed from the pulpit.
    Satan being one of those subjects, i know i do not know every way that a person can control satan, but we can all express our opinions of how the Holy Spirit has helped us in at least one way, and then all of us can learn a little more, not only about satan, but his ways, and with the Holy Spirits help,and i absolutely believe is the only one that can control satan, according to His will, and purpose.
    The Holy Spirit has helped me with a problem i have had over the years with being critical of others, as individuals, and as organizations, and events, not that being critical at times is wrong, but when i found myself being critical when i knew i did not need to be, commanding satan to get out of me in the name of Jesus, desiring to not be critical, and resisting satan and any of satans critical spirits, my mind was able to get onto consturctive things that i needed to be doing.
    Thereby i believe we have been given the power, which is the Holy Spirit to remove satan from our minds in which i believe our evil action start from, and the Holy Spirit is the one removing satan, absolutely not me, i believe satan can only be controled by the Holy Spirit, and our requests, if it is according to God’s will, and at God’s appointed time.
    I believe lack of a desire for temptation to be removed from us is the problem much of the time, God knows our heart, and i believe God will not remove satan if it is not our desire.

  3. sallyapatterson says:

    Yes I do bind Satan in the name of Jesus. Yes I do plead the blood of Christ when evil events or people are trying to attach whoever I need to pray for. For ewxample, The L.A. freeways need my prayers everyday.
    I am responsible to know The Holy Scriptures individually. I learned many years ago at Christian Heritage College in San Diego that I was individually responsible to know The Holy Bible. I am individually accountable to God. Therefore, I am not afraid of Satan because I use the Scriptures and the name of Jesus against him and his evil angels.
    I am so tired of people attaching the Assemble of God and other churches that believe differently than most “Baptist” churches. This is what Satan loves to hear and to see the arguments of Christians.
    Out here in L.A. County we have pastors teaching people doing everything that TBN and assemble of God churches teach. It is so evil, and Satan is eating this up.

    I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church, and I was taught to only believe in and teach The Holy Scriptures. Therefore, I do not put down other believers if they think they have to speak in tongues, or whatever is dividing churches. I just tell them what I have learned from The Holy Spiritures and I do not argue with them. For example, a young mother that I discipled for one year started into tongues, and we had to stop because I told her it was dividing us. She respected my position, and we have been long distance (by email) talking. She knows that the Holy Spirit brought us together, and she does not want to divide our relationship.
    The Holy Spirit is my comforter, and He has taught me to listen to The Holy Bible and to speak the name of Jesus because the Scriptures and the name of Jesus are the power. I do not have any power over Satan. Only the Scriptures and the name of Jesus have that power.
    With a breath of fresh air, I gladly say, “Satan get in the name of Jesus, and your evil spirits get in the name of Jesus.”
    II Timothy 1:7, “For I am not made of the spirit of fear, but of power(The Holy Spirit), love, and a sound mind.”

  4. alexdizon says:

    All I know is we need to wear the full armour of God
    at all curcumstances. YeS, Satan is defeated but we
    are still in the mission of trying to recover all that he has stolen & imprisoned. unfortUnately, a lot of them are willing prisoners. Or some Of them are not even aware that the war is over & that anyone who chooses can freely walk out of Satan’s lair. We have the wounded, the ‘institutionalized’, the dying, those who are still chained, and those who have willingly given up their souls in exchange for temporal rewards. These are all Satan’s POWs.
    While we are living in this world, which is still very much Satan’s playground, we have no hold of the spiritual realm & Satan’s schemes. Hence, better not go on a mission alone assuming that because we know Christ, the victorious King, we have immunity in the enemy’s territory. However, we do have control over our thoughts, feelings, words & actions. By committing ourselves to Christ & by letting Christ’s light shine through us, the enemy can soon find his lair empty and we shall march out unscathed, incorrigible & rejoicing in Christ’s victory.
    It is not by our own power & might that we can fight the good fight of faith. It is ONLY through Christ, & the will of the Father that we can overcome.

  5. hal.fshr says:

    What Mart says seems to make sense. It is interesting to note that the central idea in Paul’s instructions for spiritual warefare is to stand. The only offensive weapon is the Sword the Spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). Jesus illustrated how God’s Word can stand against the wiles of the devil in Matthew 4.

  6. drkennyg says:

    Mart, this was a good one to talk about. I remember that Martin Luther said that Satan hates to be rebuked especially out loud. So I do verbally renounce him when he is trying to control me daily. It’s not that I have any power over him it is that my belief in Christ who defeated Satan once and for all (thus Satan’s days on earth are numbered by God) and we can be ultimately free from Satan’s power. We are right that drawing closer to Christ is the weapon of choice in our daily battle with evil and sin.

  7. yvetterjh says:

    Wow! It is interesting to hear the intensity of this subject through certain writings. I read this blog early this morning and had to think about it before deciding to comment. I think Jesus Christ is our best example of how to handle the devil during temptation. In Matt 4 Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. If I had to speculate it was so he could show us how to handle it. In this scripture every time Satan suggested something to Jesus, Jesus responded with the Holy word.

    James 4:7 says submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee. Submit to God’s authority, God’s power, God’s will; resist the devil, or oppose; stand in opposition of him; How? With your shield of faith (Eph 6:16), that you got by submitting to God, and your sword of the spirit (His word)(Eph 6:17), and he (Satan) will flee.

    Our spiritually issued weapon for this warfare is God’s holy word. It is under His authority that we stand against- or oppose Satan. Satan is challenging our beliefs, and our security in God. He is desperately trying to shake us from the Father’s will. Therefore we have to become strategic fighters. When Satan tries to get you to doubt your abilities, you oppose him by reminding him (speaking) that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13). Be specific. God gave us His word to, defend, offend, and depend on. The amount of ammo you carry depends on you. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15) What good is a holstered weapon?

  8. charlie64 says:

    It just is more evidence to me as to how faithful our Lord is and how gracious!! For the past week I have been in a battle with Satan and his henchmen!!!! The latest thing is my car was hit on my passanger side earlier and a few more inches and I could of been badly hurt!! Satan has tried everything this past week to bring me down,and at times but for the Lord I’d probably be a raving lunatic,but greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.He has attacked my most vunerable area bringing back old memories and fears,but with the help of christians praying for me and the “evidence” that God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit is throwing the darts back in Satans face I shall withstand the “barrage”.Only something good can come from all this pain and I will b e stronger in the Lord!!!! Tks Mart this blog is one of my encouragesours!!!

  9. Niivam says:

    Well, I do disagree with you becaus if Christ has authority over the devil and I am in Christ and he is in me, then I believe whatever authority he has operates in me. John 15 says Jesus is the vine and without him I can not do anything, that means with him, yes I have authority over the devil. And we must bear in mind that because the devil has already been defeated by Jesus, this authority is only recognise in us through Jesus. Now to experience this authority is to first learn how to be in him. Thus accepting the new birth and renewing your thinking to line up with what his word says you have now become,and growing through this new awareness again by his word and the leading of the holy spirit.

  10. daisymarygoldr says:

    Satan is a ‘spooky character’ who does exercise some power and authority. However he stands defeated by Christ in whom we have also overcome the evil one. In the end he will be bound and cast into hell(Rev 20:10). Meanwhile, God takes pleasure to showcase the proven faith of ransomed mankind by allowing the accuser himself to test them. No matter what, God is always in control and satan’s limited power cannot work and succeed outside the encompassing will of God (JOB 2:3)!

  11. Ted M. Gossard says:

    I tend to share your concern about binding the enemy in prayer. I think the message of Jesus and the gospel, that Jesus is Lord and ascended above all is one the enemy hates to hear, and what by faith can bind the enemy.

    But are to test the spirits and our prayers and faith can surely make a difference. But like you say, Eph 6 is about standing our ground, and not heading over to stomp on satan’s turf, as Ben Witherington in his excellent commentary on Ephesians (and Colossians and Philemon) points out.

  12. Hephzibah610 says:

    There’s much to “chew on” in this arena….
    I am thinking of the scriptures that tells us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty for the pulling down of strongholds, the casting down of imaginations and every lofty thought that raises itself up against the knowledge of God and, we do not war against flesh and blood but powers and principalities and dark forces…

    It appears that we have tools to use for our warring…but we must first know our God and who we are in Christ so that we don’t foolishly go running into the enemy’s camp.

    Thanks for these challenging articles! Good brain-food!

  13. Ika says:

    The blood of Christ is so strong and the evil know it. Sometimes we doubt it, because we do not really understand mor know about the strength, but devil know. That’s why we have to believe that when we are below the blood of Christ , the devil’s sting has no power anymore.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.