Why Does God Allow Satan to Live?
The following is a transcript of the audio.
If God is sovereign then it is clear that he could destroy Satan at any time. Why does God allow Satan to live? Let’s make sure that we agree that it is true that God could take him out any time he chose, because I think there are some who would say he really can’t, because of rights or authority or independence or free will that Satan has. But the reason I know he can take him out without turning me into an automaton or breaking any rules is because he is going to take him out. He is going to throw him into the lake of fire. And the question is: Why didn’t he do it yesterday? If he had done it yesterday, I wouldn’t be tempted the way I am today. And the Bible says: Lead me not into temptation. Well, the best way not to be led into temptation is to take the tempter away. Isn’t it? Take him out. I have got sin in my life of plenty to get me to have a struggle. I don’t need Satan on top of this sin that I have to make my life miserable. So, God, take him out because you have a right to take him out. You have the power to take him out. You are doing nobody wrong when you take him out. Take him out. And he doesn’t do it. Why?
Now the Bible doesn’t answer why directly and so it is kind of inferences that we go on, but here is my best shot. God has ordained that Satan have a long leash with God holding on to the leash, because he knows that when we walk in and out of those temptations struggling both with the physical effects that they bring and the moral effects that they bring more of God’s glory will shine in that battle than if he took him out yesterday. There will be evidences of God’s patience with us as we struggle with sin, evidences of his mercy to us as we struggle with sin, evidences of his sustaining grace through horrific physical suffering that Satan was the immediate cause of. It says that in the Bible. Satan is... this woman was struck by Satan for, what, 18 years she had this bent over back. And Satan was doing it and God was ordaining that he be allowed to do it. And all of that that the glory of God, his mercy, his justice, his grace, his wisdom would shine more brightly.
And we can argue with that. We can say: I don’t agree. I don’t think God should run the world this way. And if we ultimately disagree then we will reject God. We will reject the biblical testimony and we will perish forever in hell. And I choose to trust him that his way of managing the devil and managing evil that comes at me is wiser than the way I might choose to manage it. And perhaps the other thing I should say is that he sent his Son right into the middle of this satanic warfare. And it was Satan that put it in the heart of Judas to betray him. So Jesus exposes himself to the horrors of Satan’s deceit and lie and murder. He is a murderer from the beginning and a liar. And dies in order, it says in Colossians 2:15, to make a public display of the principalities and powers in his defeat of them. There is more glory that will come to Jesus Christ because of suffering to destroy Satan than powerfully shooting Satan in the heads. And there is more glory that will come to Jesus Christ by our sharing in the sufferings of Christ, holding on to his supreme value than if we had been able to say: Satan, depart! And never have another problem. And I think the reason of that—this is my ultimate, final answer—I think the reason for that is the glory of God shines most brightly, the glory of Christ shines most brightly when we are seen to be supremely satisfied in Christ in spite of Satan’s torments, which exist, rather than having those torments removed and liking Jesus because of it. It is when you love Jesus in spite of it and through it that his glory shines the most brightly, rather than when we have life made easier for us by his removal and we like Jesus because of it.
I’m your host Tony Reinke, have a great weekend!