Is Satan powerful? We place a lot of blame on him for the problems in this life, and deservedly so. He is responsible for the entrance of sin into the world, and since sin is the reason for all our problems, Satan bears much of the responsibility for the fallen condition of humanity.
But just how powerful is the devil? The Bible identifies him as the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), and the god or ruler of this world (John 12:31). He certainly is strong, and to underestimate his power is a grave mistake. Some people choose to play around with occultic activities, and I believe this only gives Satan an even greater opening to temp us.
Paul gives us a glimpse into the devil’s power in II Corinthians 4:4 when he wrote, “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” According to that verse, our adversary has the ability to blind people to the truth of God. Unbelievers remain right where he wants them—clueless as to their need for saving from their sin. That seems to indicate that he is quite powerful.
What chance do we have if the enemy wields so much power? There is good news. Just two verses later Paul would write, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (v.6).” Did you see that? Satan may have the power to blind people and keep them in darkness, but God has the power to shine the light of truth out of the darkness and reveal Himself to any skeptic.
So who is stronger, God or the devil? In his book Spectacular Sins and their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ, John Piper said of this passage, “the blinding effect of Satan gives way to God’s light when he says, ‘Let there be light.’” When God speaks, the power of Satan ceases.
To quote John the Apostle, “He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world (I John 4:4).” Satan has been permitted by God to exercise some authority, and this is because God wants us to freely choose Him; if there were not a choice, we are not really choosing God. Our Lord has loaned power to the enemy so that we can make a choice in our free will, but ultimately God is stronger. In fact, Satan has no power within himself, only that which has been temporarily granted him from heaven. It is similar to Jesus’ statement to Pontius Pilate, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above (John 19:11).”
So never underestimate the power of the devil, but understand that he has only brought a knife to a gunfight. God’s Holy Spirit residing in the life of a believer gives us the power we need to resist the enemy’s attacks, so we can walk in confidence knowing that Satan is strong, but God is stronger.