By Donna Hughey

More often than not, the existence of Satan is met with skepticism and unbelief. The idea of an evil power at work within the universe is considered, by some, as an outdated and superstitious belief, especially by those who don’t identify with any sort of faith based religion. Sadly, this way of thinking isn’t reserved only for unbelievers; there are also some Christians who doubt there’s a real and personal devil.

But belief in the existence of Satan is as much a part of basic Christian belief as belief in God, Jesus Christ, and the resurrection. And for those of us who accept the reliability and authority of Scripture, the existence of Satan is quite clear. Not as an idea, a vague force, or as a figment of the imagination — but as a real person with a real personality.

In fact, Satan is referred to as “he” in 2 Corinthians 2:11, 2 Timothy 2:26, Hebrews 2:14, and Revelation 12:9. Even Jesus mentioned Satan as a person in Matthew 4:10, Mark 1:13, and Luke 11:18. In fact, Satan has the ability to plan (Job 1, 2; 2 Corinthians 11:3), to communicate (Genesis 3:1-6; Matthew 4:1-11), and to make choices (Matthew 4:8-9).

Although he’s commonly referred to as Lucifer, Satan or the devil, there are 22 other names used to describe Satan throughout the Bible. Some of these include: Beelzebub (Matthew 10:25, 12:24; Mark 3:22), the evil one (Matthew 13:38), the tempter (Matthew 4:3), the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30), Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15), the ancient serpent (2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 12:9, 14; 20:2), and the great dragon (Revelation 12:9).

Scripture also teaches about Satan’s background, his personality, and character. For example, Luke 10:18 tells us that Satan fell from heaven like lightning; 1 Timothy 3:6 tells us that Satan is conceited and under judgment; Genesis 3:1 tells us Satan is deceptive and crafty; Job 1:6-12 tells us Satan is an accuser; and 1 Peter 5:8 tells us Satan is an enemy prowling around like a lion looking for someone to devour.

But the most telling picture of Satan comes directly from Jesus. Listen to his description of Satan in John 8:44,

“He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Aside from being a liar, Satan is also a deceiver, an imitator, and an accuser. As a deceiver, he does whatever it takes to blind the mind of unbelievers so they don’t believe the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). As an imitator, he masquerades as an angel of light to cover his true identity (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). And as an accuser, he delights in going before the throne of God telling of our sin and failure (Revelation 12:10).

However, Satan’s power is severely limited by God. He’s not omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time), he’s not omniscient (all-knowing), and he’s not omnipotent (all-powerful). He is not God’s equal in any way. And although believers sometimes behave as if Satan is in control, he is not.

Here’s what Satan doesn’t want people to know; when Jesus died on the cross, Satan lost his grasp on all humanity (Colossians 2:14; 1 John 3:8). Jesus took our sin and gave us his righteousness instead. And because Jesus took our place, all who believe are no longer condemned but are forgiven (Romans 8:1). And there will come a day when God will bind Satan forever (Revelation 20). But until then, God has provided believers with the weapons we need to fight against Satan’s temptations (Ephesians 6:11-17) — namely, the whole armor of God.

So keep in mind that Satan is real, but he has already been defeated and his days are numbered. And the next time he attacks and accuses you of your sin, give him a wakeup call and remind him that his future has already been decided (Revelation 20:10).

Donna Hughey is an award-winning Christian author and columnist. She lives in Crescent City.