To understand how and why Satan has control over some Believers, we must have a basic understanding of Who God is, how He has manifested Himself during time, what He has done and will do.

As a matter of fact, to understand almost any teaching or doctrine of Scripture, we need to have that same clear knowledge of the Person and work of God. Any conclusions (often referred to as doctrines) drawn from the information of Scripture, must be in perfect harmony with Who God is and what He has done. God will never do anything that is inconsistent with Who He is, or His essence.

Who God is will determine what God does. 
What God does will reveal a great deal about Who God is.

A Gigantic Task

Nowhere in the Bible do we have a detailed description of God, nor a definition of the Person of God. Most of what can be known about the Person of God is gleaned from the accounts of God’s actions, promises and prophesies. Therefore, we must be very careful not to assign qualities and attributes to God that are not clearly stated and/or demonstrated in the Scriptures by the actions and/or words of God, Himself.

We face another gigantic problem when trying to define Who God is. The only terms we have to form this description or definition are finite human terms. There are no finite human terms capable of clearly and perfectly defining the qualities of the only divine infinite and spiritual Person.

Even the finite terms we do use for such an awesome task as defining Deity, already have a human definition of far less quality than that of God’s character or Person. Added to the problem of inadequate terms, most of these terms differ from the original English definition, and the facts of Scripture they are suppose to describe.


Most Believers would agree that God is sovereign and almighty. Those are good facts to believe and agree upon, but what do those terms mean, and can we find, in Scripture, sufficient facts to validate such definitions?

If God is sovereign, and He is, it will make a difference how, when, and in what manner Satan can act. However, if Satan acts contrary to the Person and will of God, is God really sovereign? The answer to that will be found only in the Biblical presentation of Who God is. What does sovereign mean to you? How about Almighty? How would you define Almighty?

When we read the Bible or listen to a Biblical lesson and these terms are used, we either associate a definition with the term, or we space the term out of our thinking, or we strive to establish a definition from the information being taught.

Take just a moment and allow your definitions of sovereign and almighty to come up on the monitor of your mind. Now that you have these definitions in mind, can you think of Scriptural backing that will clearly establish these definitions as Biblically true? Biblical backing is not just using a phrase from a verse or two. Instead, it is the total body of Biblical information. We need to look at all Biblical phrases. We must also look at all other Scriptures to see if there are any Biblical conflicts with our human definitions?

Growing in Grace and Knowledge

Our searching of all Scripture should be far more than just a reality-test of our definitions. Searching the Scriptures should be for the purpose of establishing our understanding of and fellowship with God. Through such searchings, we will also discover the Eternal Plan of God.

As we search the Scriptures, and find that all Scripture does not agree or fit within our definition, then:

By the way, there is nothing wrong with changing, expanding or qualifying your theological definitions as you grow up in Christ. For example, if your concept of Who God is, or what God is like is the same as it was 20 or 10 or 2 years ago at the time of your salvation, you haven’t grown much spiritually, nor have you gained very much Biblical knowledge. We are to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ. If we grow and increase our knowledge, that will bring change. That change may not produce a totally different concept, but it will produce a maturing, expanding and refining of those concepts.

Yes, as Biblical knowledge is gained and spiritual growth occurs, there may be some concepts from our spiritual infancy that must be replaced entirely. It is a tragedy to see a 25 year old person acting by the same concepts that were central in their thinking when they were 3 years old. In human terms, we call that childishness. The Holy Spirit through Paul also calls that type of spiritual action immaturity or childishness.

As our Biblical knowledge increases and we grow spiritually, we must make sure that our concepts or doctrines are firmly planted in the total truth of Scriptures. Those of yesteryear believed the earth was flat, because they did not base their concept on all the facts. Likewise spiritually, we must always test the information and teaching received from humans with the total truth of the Scriptures in harmony, or we will draw conclusions that will be far more damaging than the false concept that the earth was flat.

Acts 17:10-12 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.

Oh yes, those at MBF know this story well. But we cannot rehearse the truth of this story too often. Notice the two groups of people, their actions, their responses and the results. Group #1 were Paul & Silas, the teachers. Group #2 were the people at Berea, the students.

First of all, Group #2 was not your typical church congregation. They received the Word with readiness. These people at Berea came prepared and eager to hear and learn.

readiness (Greek)
predisposed with eagerness; readiness of mind

Let’s do a reality-check. Could this be said of you? Did you prepare your mind for the teaching of the Word of God before you arrived at church, or have you made any preparations to receive the Word since you’ve arrived? Did you get up this morning in plenty of time with clothes and food all ready, so you could get to church in a proper frame of mind? I know, I know! I’m not Paul. However, we will be reading a lot of Paul’s writings.

Please note, it was not the teacher or the kind of program, show or presentation that excited these people. It was the Word of God. That would be a strange, but wonderful church. Folks, this is important. Many times we don’t receive anything when we come to church, because we didn’t come to church prepared to recieve anything. We could and should run down that trail a long way. But if we did, we wouldn’t finish our subject for today. Instead, I will allow you to make proper personal applications and ask the Holy Spirit to expose even the secret motives of your life in this matter.

Check It Out

Equally important to the understanding of the truths of the Word of God is the next thing these Bereans did. They went home and searched the Scriptures daily, for the express purpose of seeing if what Paul and Silas taught was true in light of all Scripture. We often say, They went home and, but more than likely, they assembled daily to do their searching as a group. In the first place, King James hadn’t published his genuine leather bound Bible with gold edges and center cross references. Therefore, not every home had a dozen Bibles to act as dust collectors.

However, the important fact to see is that they did not just swallow what Paul and Silas taught. They made sure in their own minds, through their own study as a group that the things taught squared with all Scripture.

Sad to say, in the present religious climate, too often, we believe it if:

Neither one of those factors are inherently bad, but if either of those is where you are anchoring your Biblical beliefs, you have no spiritual foundation at all. Following that line of thought, Columbus would never have sailed the blue, because the majority and the brightest of the people in his day did not believe you could sail around the world. Following that line of thought, if you had lived when Christ was on earth, you would have cheered on the soldiers as they crucified Him. No matter how many people believe it, or how renowned the scholar may be who teaches it, it is a non-biblical truth unless it can be clearly established from the totality of Scripture. Don’t jump out of the boat on the other side, either. Just because a lot of people or some famous person believes it, does not make it wrong.

We should not look at every speaker or writer as suspect of being a liar. It does mean that we should never accept, as a personal belief, any teaching from anyone, unless we have personally searched the Scriptures to make sure it is true to all that is presented in the Scriptures.

You would think that with a reputation like Paul’s, you could accept the teaching without the searching. Not so. Of course, that puts quite a load on the shoulders of each Believer to know and continually search the Word of God.

I don’t care who the speaker or writer is, don’t swallow what is taught until you have thoroughly chewed it up by testing it with all Scripture. There is one exception to that. If you hear if from me, then you can swallow it hook, line and sinker, No, I will, as carefully as I can, present truth from the whole counsel of God. But if you accept what I say, without checking it against all Scripture, you are of all people most foolish. Look what Paul said in this regard:

Galatians 1:6-8 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

Paul welcomed, no, Paul commanded over and over again to go to the Scriptures for the assurance of that which was taught. Please, always do likewise with anything I teach. I do not want you to place me in the position of an infallible teacher. There is only One Who qualifies for such a position, and I am not worthy to be classed as anything but His messenger.

If you accept what is taught by another human, without carefully checking it against all Scripture, you have elevated that human teacher to a position near that of the Godhead. Don’t do such an injustice to any human, dead or alive.

Harmonizing Truth

If the Godhead, through the Holy Spirit, verbally inspired the Word of God, then all Scripture will be in perfect harmony, and the progressive revelation from God, when accumulated and harmonized, will give a clear and complete picture of God’s Person and plan. Or at least as clear and complete a picture as the human mind is capable of comprehending.

If when we look at the total of God’s revelation, and find a conflict with our conclusions and definitions, we know that either:

We know that the first possibility in this list is not true. Therefore, the fault lies with us, and the conclusions drawn from our study.

When any Believer finds that the information of the Word of God does not seem to agree with itself or their conclusions, that Believer should be driven to further study all of Scripture to find, or more accurately stated to be taught by Holy Spirit what is truly in the heart of God.

1 Corinthians 2:10-14 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Strange as it may be, often when Believers find their theological definition in disagreement with some portion of Scripture, instead of searching all Scriptures, they try to defend their finite definition by human logic or proof texting.

The task of the Believer is not to defend some theory of theology, 
but to discover what is presented in the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit. 
IF this discovery of Scriptural truth agrees with our finite term, so-be-it. 
If through this discovery process of Scriptural truth, 
we find a conflict with our finite term, then throw out the term.

We should not be, we must not be in love with or give our allegiance to manmade terms or doctrines.

Colossians 2:20-23 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-- 21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," 22 which all concern things which perish with the using--according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

The Word of God is alive. It is the living Word of God, and the more it is used, the greater becomes its value to the user. The living Word of God will never pass away, even though heaven and earth will.

The doctrines of men bring less and less benefit to the one using them. If you’ve been a Christian very long, I’m sure you’ve experienced this very thing. You read, hear a lesson or are engaged in conversation, etc. and you find some great theory, like the world is going to end on Jan 1, 2000. For a while, that manmade doctrine brings some excitement to your life, and occupies your thinking. You may even think, "Wow, This is great!" But then with the using, that human doctrine became less and less exciting and finally perished. Not only will the doctrines of men perish, they are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. It is far more important to control our indulgence in fleshly things, than to speculate about what is going to happen tomorrow. Maybe searching the Scriptures is not physically and emotionally exciting nor will it be an ego booster, but it will have great spiritual value. It is very important to make sure that what we embrace spiritually is the pure teaching of the Word of God.

Ephesians 4:11-16 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

True Biblical teaching will bring unity. Not a unity in which everyone agrees and thinks alike. That may be an outgrowth of this unity. Instead, this unity is of the faith and the knowledge of the son of God. There is no Biblical unity unless it is has as its center the faith and knowledge of the Son of God revealed in the Word of God.

For Growth not Defense

Please see that this it is not faith and knowledge in Son of God (that’s Salvation). This is the faith of the Son of God (this is the true Christian walk). This is what Peter talked about in 2 Peter 1:4 - being partakers of God’s divine nature.

Real Biblical doctrine will bring stability and growth. 
The winds of doctrine will bring instability, disunity and spiritual degeneration. 
Matthew 15:7-9 "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ’These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 ’And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’"

The commandments of men produce lip service, or an outward form of godliness. Those same commandments of men cause the heart to move further and further away from God, even though outwardly they may have a good display of honor for God.

The commandments of men produce an empty worship of God. We must be very careful that our spiritual life and worship are based only on the clear teaching of the Word of God, even when that teaching goes contrary to the popular or standard religious trends.

Bible Study should be for the purpose of clearly understanding Biblical truths, as well as feeding and renewing the inner man. Bible Study should not be for the purpose of defending or promoting manmade systems of theological theories.

Bible study is not the study of some person’s book on theology, even if it is a good book. Human words and thoughts whether spoken, sung, written, taped, videoed or digitally implanted on a sheet of rust must only be used as study aids for the Word of God. Even as study aids, those words must be carefully checked and compared with the entire Word of God for accuracy. Bible study is not a game we play to see who can come up with the best and most popular ideas.

God's Sovereignty and Satan and the Believer

In a limited study of this nature, we cannot fully explore all aspects of God’s revelation. Our purpose for this segment is to see why Satan has a right to control some believers. In the process, we will see a little of how Satan accomplishes this control, and we will also see a little of God’s provision for avoiding and defending against this control.

We cannot take the time to Biblically study the complete Person of God. We can’t even study, in depth, the sovereignty of God. However, to even have a clue as to the why of Satan’s control of believers, we must have at least a working understanding of God’s almightiness and sovereignty.

I realize that to attempt to accomplish this, will be an up-hill battle, because of the inappropriate and inadequate use of the terms sovereign and almighty as related to the Person of God. To aid in this task, let’s do two things:


Please bear with me as we look at a number of definitions, and a slug of Scriptures. I realize that the study of real Biblical doctrine is not as exciting as Monday Night Football or Who Wants to be a Millionaire. However, this type of study will have far more eternal value to those who endure it. We will go through this process in an effort to establish some Biblical parameters from what God has said of Himself as to His sovereignty and almightiness. What God said about His Own sovereignty and almightiness may be a very good commentary on the Bible Commentaries.

sovereign (Webster)
unlimited in extent
sovereignty (Webster)
from external control
sovereign (New Century)
a being above all others; supreme in character, importance and excellence
sovereignty (New Century)
supremacy in rank or power

Please note that the English definition of sovereign has to do with:

Also note that the English definition of sovereign has nothing to do with absolute control of the activities or destinies of those subject to that sovereign rule. The word sovereign and almighty are very similar in definition.

almighty (Webster)
having absolute power
almighty (Greek)
the all ruling one, i.e. God (as absolute and universal sovereign)
almighty (Hebrew)
to be burly, i.e. powerful

Some translations of the Bible use the English word sovereign in the place of the English word Lord. This is especially true when the phrase Lord God appears in NKJ. The NIV often uses Sovereign God instead of Lord God. This is neither a better or worse translation. In either case, we must know the meaning of the original word in Greek or Hebrew before either Lord or Sovereign has meaning beyond a title.

Lord [sovereign] (Greek & Hebrew)
an absolute ruler (despot); the one in control
God (Hebrew)
the Self Existent One or Eternal One; Jehovah
sovereign (Biblical implication)
the right of ultimate choice or determination

We will expand our listing of the qualities of God’s sovereignty declared in Scriptures with further study.

If God is sovereign, and He is, then He has the right to choose or determine events or the ultimate course of time and eternity. If God is sovereign, and He is, then He has the right to determine what method He will use to bring about His sovereign will.

The task of the theologian is not to impose on God a method of determination, but to discover the method God used. Today, the lines between theology and religious philosophy have become so blurred that there is little difference. Therefore, it is even more important that we make our discovery of this and other doctrines from God’s Own words.

Human logic or religious philosophy would conclude that the only way a sovereign God could accomplish His will would be the same way that a finite human could accomplish his human will. For a person to bring about his will through other humans would be through complete control of each and every action of every other human. Therefore, some would conclude that God must operate in the same manner as a human. What does the Scriptures have to say about such logic?

Ephesians 1:9-12 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-- in Him, 11 in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Predestined according to "purpose of Him" who works all thing according to the "counsel of His will". That would seem to be total control of all events, would it not? Remember, we must compare and harmonize all Scripture with all Scripture before we draw our conclusions. In this lesson, we will only glance at a few portions of Scripture, and will do more in-depth study starting next lesson.

There is nothing that lies outside the realm of God’s sovereignty, including the evil acts of men. Even though God does not approve of these evil acts, nor does He direct them, He does permit them, thereby indicating that He is using a logic different than humans would.


Within the counsel of His will, God has given certain freedoms to His created beings. Even though these acts by humans, and angels are outside the approval and direction of God, He, none the less, rules or governs those actions in such a manner as to use them for His own purpose and glory. My friend, that is real sovereignty, not simply robot control.

Acts 2:22-24 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-- 23 "Him, being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 "whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

Don’t draw human conclusions based only on a spattering of Biblical truth. God is sovereign. How He uses that sovereignty will be revealed only by the text of Scripture, all the text, not human logic. We will have to leave this study with what seems to be conflicting Biblical facts. However, they only seem to be conflicting, because we see them through human perception. We must see them through the perception of the Holy Spirit’s teaching as He compares spiritual with spiritual.

God is in control and God has given man some control. 

These are the facts, as revealed by God in His Word. Now we need to discover God’s method of operating within those facts.

Psalms 8:3-6 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, 4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,
Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."