“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.
The Devil and His Demons
Scriptures teaches us about demons to put us on our guard against their schemes. Scriptures calls Satan the god and ruler of this world, the strong-armed man, the prince of the power of the air, the roaring lion. The purpose of of these descriptions is to make us more cautious and vigilant and prepared for conflict. After describing the devil as a roaring lion, Peter immediately adds the exhortation to “Resist him, firm in your faith” (1 Peter 5:9). After reminding us that we don’t wrestle against human beings but against evil spiritual powers, Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:12).
Therefore, let’s be vigilant as a result of these Scriptures. The devil is the most daring, most powerful, most crafty, most indefatigable, the mostly completely equipped for spiritual warfare! Let us not allow ourselves to become lazy or overtaken by cowardice in the battle. We should be alert! We should study so that we persevere. Above all, since we’re weak and lacking in skills to fight, we should invoke God’s help. We must never attempt anything without trusting in him, since he alone supplies wisdom, strength, and courage.
Scripture tells us that our enemies are not just a few, but many. Mary Magdalene was delivered from seven demons by which she was possessed. Jesus himself tells us that it is regular for even more demons to take possession of someone if only one demon has been cast out (Matthew 12:43-45). One man is said to have been possessed by a whole legion of demons (Mark 5:1-13)! These examples show us that the number of our enemies is almost infinite. If we believe that we only have a few enemies, then we may become lazy. Even if only one Satan or one demon is mentioned in Scripture, the whole dominion of evil, which opposes the rule of righteousness, is being referenced. Just as the church has Christ for its head, so the wicked and wickedness itself are often portrayed with its prince exercising supremacy over it. Hence the expression: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).