Thus declares the well-known hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” written by the founder of the Protestant movement Martin Luther, about Satan the Devil.
If we look around – as well as inside – ourselves, we cannot but agree! Indeed, as 1 John 5:19 testifies: “The whole world is under the sway of the wicked one [Satan].” Satan is the “god of this age [KJV ‘world’]” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NKJV) and chief of the “rulers of the darkness of this age [‘world,’ KJV] and… spiritual hosts [armies] of wickedness in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12, NKJV).
Thus some may find themselves ensnared in a habit or addiction to something that God forbids in His word — a sin. It could have something to do with lust or some sexual sin that one succumbs to, try as one might to overcome it. As the hymn says about Satan, “For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate.” That’s why there is no earthly or human power equal to him.
The thought of it could become very depressing. Indeed, Luther continued: “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.” But then the good news: “Were not the right Man on our side – the Man of God’s own choosing.” Luther asks and answers: “Dost ask Who that may be? Christ Jesus it is He: Lord Sabaoth His name, from age to age the same. And He must win the battle!”
There is indeed a great battle going on in the heart and mind of people – Christian or not, but especially Christian – between right and wrong, good and evil. The apostle Paul was well aware of this tension. He wrote: “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these two are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:17, NKJV).
In Romans 7:14-25 Paul expounded on this battle —
For we know that the law [of God] is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If. then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do. It is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight n the law of God according to the inward man, But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!
The key to victory for a Christian in this dilemma is nothing or no one else but Jesus Christ – and His Holy Spirit. As “Lord Sabaoth,” Jesus heads hosts of heavenly armies – more, in fact, than the demonic forces Satan has with him. Revelation 12:4 reveals that Satan drew 1/3 of the angels of God to follow him in his failed attempt to overthrow God from His throne |(Isaiah 14:12-15). [See: Where Did the Devil Come From?]. That means that 2/3 – the broad majority– of the angels have remained faithful and loyal to God. Indeed, as Israel’s prophet Elisha assured his servant about this ratio: “…those who are for us [God’s loyal angels] are more than those with them [Satan’s angels or demons]” ( 2 Kings 6:16). 1 John 4:4 further assures: “He who is in you [God] is greater than he who is in the world [Satan].”
Therefore, though on earth Satan has no equal, in the heavenly realm, he is no match to our Supreme God at all – or ever! This should give anyone struggling in the snare of Satan’s temptations great hope and courage to face his challenge, and trustingly look to God to bring forth or pluck his feet out of Satan’s “net” or snare (Psalm 25:15). This is especially relevant in today’s cyber world, where Satan is all over the internet! A multitude of worldwide web (www) sites have been Satan’s agents to proliferate his evil scheme with all humanity!
But before Christ can come to our aid, we must be single-minded and fully committed to follow Him in everything He commands in His word. Jesus said: Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:32).
In this regard, here is a helpful quote from the article by Clayton D. Steep titled “What Satan Doesn’t Want You to Know,” which appeared in the March 1985 Good News Magazine [see: https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, select Good News 1951-1989, then 1980-1989, and scroll down to the March 1985 issue, pages 9-13:
Do you know that, if he must, Satan is even willing to allow you to obey many of God’s laws? As long as there is at least one point of the law – whatever it may be for you – that you refuse to obey!
The reason is that Satan knows God has ordained that to break one point of His law of love is to break all of it (James 2:10-11)! Therefore, to refuse to submit to one point is to rebel against God’s entire code of behavior. Anyone guilty of such an attitude of rebellion obviously is not totally submitted to God.
That is good enough for Satan (Page 12, emphasis mine).
This same issue of the Good News contains Mr. Armstrong’s powerful must-read editorial titled “Let God Fight Your Battles” (page 1).
May the above dire warning help in your overcoming and make you become even more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). To help you further, see: God’s Spirit and Obedience, The Higher Law of the Spirit, and Breaking Down Our “Walls of Jericho”.
God bless you!
Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
P.S. A Great Irony
While Martin Luther protested against the non-Biblical teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church of his time, where he had been a priest, ironically Luther ended up himself straying from the true teachings of the Bible. Except for some specific points [such as confession to priests, granting indulgences, praying to dead saints], Luther followed much of the teachings and practices of the RCC anyway! These are the same teachings and practices which most Protestant or evangelical churches and denominations follow today! [See: What If the Sabbath Is Still Holy? God’s Feasts in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers – or to Be Observed? Did Christ Cleanse All Meats? Moses and Jesus – Are They Contraries? Freed From Bondage, The Law of Christ, Law Added to Law Transgressed, and Saved for Good Works.] This shows just how cunning and crafty Satan is in his purpose to destroy mankind — to keep men from inheriting everlasting life in Christ’s kingdom!
Because of this, Protestants or evangelicals have become, in effect, the “wayward daughters” of the RCC! Unless they repent and change their non-Biblical ways, they will undergo the same punishment that spiritual Babylon will get at Christ’s return (Revelation 18-19).
Tragically, since the death of its founder and pastor-general Herbert W. Armstrong, the Worldwide Church of God – under the leadership of his successor Joseph W. Tkach and then his son Joseph Jr. — has now turned completely Protestant or evangelical in its theology and practice. [See: Where Is God’s Church Today? and a bit of its history since the 1990s in About the Author; The De-liberation of the Worldwide Church of God.]
The good news, however, is that Christ will not allow His church to perish, but will do all in His power to save as many as are willing to submit to Him fully! Hallelujah, Amen!