A long time before Satan gained his paperback popularity, he was alive, ambitious, active, and achieving his objectives of deceiving, deluding, and destroying the souls of men.
Man's fertile imagination has produced many fanciful theories about Satan, some of which have been popularized through paperback books. However, the Bible has the only reliable information about Satan and what he is really like.
Satan is introduced in the book of Genesis. No explanation is given of his origin, but there is an unfolding drama of his work throughout the Bible. He is cast in the role of the adversary of man, an arrogant aspirant to the authority that belongs to God. Satan is a usurper of God's place in the heart of man. See him there, using enticement, deception, and falsehood. His subtle and beguiling ways have earned for him an appropriate name, "devil", or slanderer.
There are implications in Scripture that Satan is a spirit being who was formerly an angel. The Bible alludes to fallen angels in II Peter 2:4 and Jude 6. I John 3:8, states that the devil sinned from the beginning. Too, there is an indication that the devil came under condemnation (I Timothy 3:6).
Satan is called the "god of this world" II Corinthians 4:4. The world is Satan's arena. "World" as used here denotes people who are alienated from God, who are controlled by the thoughts and pursuits of this present time.
Paul wrote to the Ephesian Christians, referring to the contrast between their lost and saved state, "And you hath he (Christ) quickened . . ." Ephesians 2:1,2. Following the course of the world is to follow the rule of Satan, to have a spirit of rebellion and disobedience toward God.
These people who inhabit the devil's domain live in the passions of their flesh, following the desires of body and mind (Ephesians 2:3). They are hedonistic, blinded in their minds to the reality of sins' ultimate consequences (Romans 6:23). To them the pleasure, thrill and excitement of sin are real and immediate opportunities.
The sequence of sin is vastly different from the prospects used in the solicitation. "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death " James 1:15. Satan does not want us to realize that sin is "a moment of gratification but an eternity of remorse".
As surely as God's truth is the power by which one may be free from sin (John 8:32), and as surely as "he that committeth sin is of the devil" (I John 3:8), then to keep men in the sinning business is Satan's aim. To do it he perverts, withstands, distorts, corrupts, and misrepresents the truth of God. Men who so handle God's Word are Satan's agents (II Corinthians 11:3). Although Satan is alive and active, HE DOES NOT HOLD IRRESISTABLE RULE OVER MEN. The devil is strong, but only God is omnipotent. God's people can resist the devil (James 4:7). They have the power of faith to stand against the enemy.
The gospel of Christ, God's very power to save, shackles Satan. In his encounter with the tempter, Jesus forcefully demonstrated the technique of denying his solicitations with the use of "it is written". Our instruction is to withstand him by faith (I Peter 5:9), and faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Jesus, the living word, "gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father" Galatians 1:4.
Satan can be confronted and defeated in his own arena!