…that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. —2 Corinthians 2:11
One of the most sobering facts about life is that all humans have a supernatural enemy whose aim is to use pain and pleasure to make us blind, stupid and miserable—forever. The Bible calls him “the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world…the accuser” (Revelation 12:9–10).
He is our “adversary [who] prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). At his most successful, his subjects march obliviously to destruction, and take as many with them as they can.
The “good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18).
Satan’s Leash—and Impending Doom
God is sovereign over Satan. The devil does not have a free hand in this world. He is on a leash, so that he can do no more than God permits. In effect, he must get permission—as in the case of Simon Peter, where Jesus discloses, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has asked to have you, that he might sift you like wheat” (Luke 22:31).
So evidently God sees the ongoing role of Satan as essential for his purposes in the world, since, if God willed, Satan would be thrown into the lake of fire now, instead of at the end of the age. “The devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and…will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). His complete defeat is coming and sure. But not yet.
Unwitting Servant of Our Sanctification
God intends that part of our preparation for heaven be a life of warfare with hell. He calls it a “good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18), in life and death.
God is the great General in this warfare. He has given us the walkie-talkie of prayer to call for help: “Take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times” (Ephesians 6:17–18).
He sees behind enemy lines, and knows exactly the strategies that will be used against us. He has written them down in a wartime manual “so that we would not be outwitted by Satan.” The reason we will not be outwitted is that “we are not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11).