A few years ago, President Bush termed a handful of hostile countries around the world “the axis of evil.” These were nations led by people who are wicked at the core of their being. But there is a more awful axis of evil to be found in the legions of cohorts in association with Satan.
Most Christians know and believe that there are such beings as demons. But many probably do not know of their history or activity.
Demons are angels – originally created by God as His messengers and servants – who followed Satan in rebellion against God at some point in eternity past. They now serve their new master, knowing their time is limited and their destiny is one of a fixed and certain destruction.
There is a balance for us to maintain in terms of our view of the demonic realm and their influence and power.
On one hand, we in modern America downplay and disregard (or sublimate) the reality and activity of the Satanic host. We are the odd ones out in the world, as most of the rest of the world, particularly the third world, openly experiences and acknowledges the active reality of the supernatural.
On the other hand, we need to guard against the thought or presumption that the kingdom of darkness is an equal combatant with the kingdom of light. Though Satan and his ilk are granted temporary powers and authorities, their doom is sealed. (And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross – Colossians 2:15) So, we do not need to be overwhelmed by this foe. The resources for our regular victory over this supernatural axis of evil is very much at our daily disposal, which is particularly clear in the Ephesians 6 passage we referred to in the previous devotional.
However, it is good for us to know that the techniques used by this foe are not always those of raw evil. We need to remember the strategy often used by these forces is to mask evil with that having the outward appearance of good.
2CO 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
Among issues where Satan may masquerade as good are those related to the big three of worldly temptations – sex, money, and power. Failures in such categories do not usually happen randomly or impulsively. Rather, it is the end result of an erosion of a mind fixed on God. It happens over time, as one begins a pattern of rationalizations and mental gymnastics to convince oneself that the aberrant behavior has justification within the special parameters of the current situation. “This extra relationship is actually good for me because it encourages my self esteem.” “The extra money I am gaining will enable me to give more to God’s work.” “It is too bad I had to roll that guy’s head, but he was an obstacle to the progress we need to make, and God put me in this position.”
We also need to place within our thinking the great interest Satan has in our current generation. He will not go down without a fight. He will seek to “take out” multitudes with him in the course of his own destruction. I believe it is biblically undeniable that we live in the broad category of time known as “the last days.” And in such a context, we may surely expect heightened Satanic activity.
1TI 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
Indeed, Satan and his cohorts are granted powers we need to respect with wisdom and balance; but the ultimate victory in the story is ours. There is nothing possessing higher trump than what we enjoy in our relationship with Jesus Christ. The journey of our great calling in Christ is a treacherous one, but our relationship with the hero of the story insures our ultimate victory over the pursuit of the axis of evil.
RO 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.