Bible Teaching about the Devil and Satan


Jesus and the Devil

It has been shown that in order for Jesus to conquer sin he had to be a member of Adam’s race (the human race) i.e. he had to have the same nature as all people:
“God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh”  (Romans 8:3).

 This teaches that:- 

  • Jesus was born with sinful 'flesh'

  • Because of this he was able to destroy sin at its source i.e. in the flesh.

Hebrews 2:14 teaches exactly the same thing in different words.
If we set Romans 8:3 and Hebrews 2:14 side by side we can immediately identify the devil:


“God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh...

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same...

...and for sin (Margin: by a sacrifice for sin)...

...that through death...


...he might destroy...

...sin in the flesh”

...him that had the power of death, that is, the devil...”

From this we can see that THE DEVIL = SIN IN THE FLESH. In Romans 7:23 it is called “The law of sin which is in my members”. Since the Bible speaks of the devil as if it were a person (compare wisdom spoken of as a woman in Proverbs 8) we may define the devil as “THE PERSONIFICATION OF SIN IN THE FLESH”. 

We may confirm the above conclusion by noting carefully the teaching of Hebrews 2:14: 

1) Hebrews 2:14 teaches that Jesus destroyed the devil by his death 

Compare this with Hebrews 9:26:
“For then must he (Jesus) often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world (i.e. age) hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself”

Hebrews 2:14 says Jesus destroyed the DEVIL by his death; Hebrews 9:26 says he destroyed SIN by his death. Thus again we see the Bible’s teaching that the devil and sin are one and the same thing. 

2) Hebrews 2:14 teaches that the devil has the power of death 

Compare this with Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death”. 

Also 1 Corinthians 15:56: “The sting of death is sin”. 

Hebrews 2:14 says that which causes death is the DEVIL; Romans 6:23 and 1 Corinthians 15:56 say that it is SIN which causes death. Thus again we see the Bible teaching that the devil and sin are the same. 

The Source of Temptation and Sin

It follows from what has been said already that we cannot blame a fallen-angel-devil for our sins. This is confirmed by James when he writes: “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:14). This agrees with the teaching of Jesus when he said:
“From within, out of the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23).

It was this law of sin in his members that Jesus fought and won. He overcame sin at its source. “He was tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). In other words he destroyed the devil. 

The Meaning of the Word DEVIL

Devil is really a Greek word that has been modified and incorporated into the English. The original Greek word is DIABOLOS. This is made up of two words: DIA (= across, as in DIAmeter, a line across a circle), and BOLOS (from BALLO = to throw). The diabolos, or devil, is that which throws across the line of God’s law. We may illustrate thus:

That which causes to cross the line (note: another word for this is transgress) of God’s law is the diabolos or devil.   

The law of sin in our members is that which repeatedly makes us cross the line of God’s law i.e. transgress His law. Thus it is appropriately referred to as the diabolos - the “across thrower” or devil.

The word DEVIL is sometimes applied to sinful people (e.g. Judas in John 6:70, or sinful organisations (e.g. Revelation 2:10) because these are manifestations of the sin which is in all men.

The Meaning of the Word SATAN

Satan is a Hebrew word which was taken over into the Greek and then into the English. It means “an adversary”. Satan denotes neither a good nor bad adversary but its nature has to be interpreted according to the context in which it is found. We find that the following are referred to as “satan”:

  • God himself was a satan to Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1 compared with 2 Samuel 24:1 demonstrates this).

  •  The angel that stood in the way of Balaam is said to have been an “adversary” to him, the word “adversary” being SATAN in the original Hebrew in Numbers 22:22. 

  • Peter when he was opposing the divine plan in Christ is called Satan in Matthew 16:23. 

  • A religious organisation that was opposed to the Truth in Revelation 2:9 is described as Satan. 

  • The evil thoughts of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:3-4.

  • But the GREAT ADVERSARY of mankind is SIN, and so we read of the way in which men can be delivered from their sinful state by the Gospel: “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Jesus” (Acts 26:18).

This power of the adversary (satan) from which men are made free in Christ is sin: “The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

 The Devil, Satan and Ourselves

The greatest adversary we have to face is in our own being. We can say with Paul: “Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” (Romans 7:20). We must strive, like Jesus, to overcome the law of sin (devil) within us, as Paul exhorts: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Romans 6:12). This is the same as saying: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).



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