Last Thursday at the Vatican, Pope Francis warned the faithful that the devil is no myth. “This generation, and many others, have been led to believe that the devil is a myth, a figure, an idea, the idea of evil,” he said. The pope’s message and warning came against the backdrop of millions of revelers around the world participating in Halloween festivities. Some don costumes to mark the dark world of the occult.
“The devil exists and we must fight against him,” the pope was quoted as saying.
Pope Francis’ words are very much on target. Many people don’t believe the devil is real. To them, what the Bible says about Satan is not to be taken literally. They regard him as no more than an allegory. But neither denial nor ignorance negates the reality of the devil.
Jesus taught that while the Word of God is being preached, the devil is at work. “Then comes the devil, and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). This is what Jesus says happens to some people when the Word of God is being preached. The objective is clear. The devil doesn’t want the lost to receive the gospel and become saved. It is vitally important that we understand that this spiritual opposition exists during the proclamation of the gospel. We must pray and stand against this work of the devil.
Paul the apostle would also agree with the pope that the devil is real. On more than one occasion, Paul wrote and revealed how the devil opposed him during his missionary journeys. To the church at Thessalonica, he wrote, “We would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us” (1 Thess. 2:18).
As I reflect on the words and warning of Pope Francis, I am reminded of Apostle Peter’s words: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Clearly, from the Scriptures, the devil is real. He and his demons relentlessly oppose the work of the Lord.
We have no valid reason to fear our enemy the devil. Through the Scriptures, God has exposed him. Through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, we are more than conquerors. Christ who lives in us is greater than the devil who is at work in this world. Moreover, Jesus has already decreed that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His church.
Copyright © 2014 by Frank King. All rights reserved.