There is a common mentality that holds that this world belongs to Satan. We are merely to rescue a soul here and there, but the rest of the world is literally going to Hell. Working for change is ridiculed as "polishing brass on a sinking ship."
To begin with, it has never been true. The false view is based on a misuse of II Corinthians 4:4: "In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the
unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the
glory of Christ, who is the image of God." While it is true that "god of this world" here refers to Satan, it is not true that he is a god, at all, or that "world" means "everything." Rather, this verse refers to the minds of the unbelieving world of men. Notice that his power is explicitly applied to the minds of unbelievers alone.
Furthermore, this world does not belong, and has never belonged, to Satan, or even to man, but rather to God. "The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers." The earth and everything in it belong to God, because He created it. He has never ceded its rule to anyone else, including especially to Satan. He even tells us, "My glory I will not give to another" (Isaiah 42:8 and 48:11). There are people, such as Jehovah's Witnesses and some dispensationalists, who would have us turn the glory of God over to Satan, but He allows no such sacrilege.
We do know that Satan is a dangerous threat. The Apostle Peter warned us, "Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (I Peter 5:8). That is clearly intended to indicate that he is powerful. However, it is a far cry from all-powerful.
While a believer cannot afford complacency, it is not a call to terror, as if we may be consumed by the power of the devil at any moment. Why? Because Jesus has defeated Satan. Jesus told us (John 16:33), "I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the
world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the
world." This is where these dispensationalists truly fall short. As bad as it is that they exaggerate the power of the enemy, it is a magnitude worse that they undervalue the redemptive work of Christ. Jesus hasn't merely saved a person here and a person there, while Satan wins everything else. Instead, Jesus won the victory over all the power of the devil: "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He himself
likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy
the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14).
When anyone acts as if he thinks that Satan is hiding behind every bush, remember the words of Jesus: "Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out" (John 12:31).
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