We’re almost at that time of the year called Halloween. Our neighborhoods will again be filled with boys and girls going from door to door saying, “Trick or treat!” They’ll be dressed in all kinds of costumes, including some pretty spooky ones like witches and ghosts and skeletons. We might even see one or two dressed in a red costume with horns and a tail. Like the devil himself!
The Bible reminds us that the devil, also called Satan, is more than some character dressed up in a silly red suit. He is our mortal enemy. We should know about him so we can fight against him.
One thing God’s Word tells us about Satan is that he is a fallen, sinful angel. Together with other bad angels the devil was thrown out of heaven. “The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (Revelation 12:9). Itas the devil himself who in the form of a snake deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Because the devil is an angel he is invisible. He is also very powerful, much stronger than any person. Satan is so powerful that Jesus called him “the prince of this world” (John 14:30). And he is very, very clever and deceitful. He can trick us just like he led Eve into sin. “I am afraid,” wrote St. Paul, “that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
With all of his might and cunning, the devil is out to destroy us – both in body and soul. He wants us to spend eternity in hell with him. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Yet the devil has been thoroughly defeated. Jesus resisted all of Satan’s temptations (Matthew 4:1-11). By living a sinless life and then sacrificing that perfect life for our sins, Jesus completely crushed Satan’s power.
Oh, the devil is still on the loose and will be until the end of the world. But thanks to Jesus we can stand up against him. The Bible says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Just how can we resist him? Not with our own powers, but with the Word of God. When the devil tempts us to do something wrong, we can reply as Jesus did, “It is written …” We can turn to God’s Word and then pray that our Savior will be with us and give us the strength to do what we know is right.
October 31st is not only Halloween, but it’s also Reformation Day. When we think of the Reformation, of course, we think of Martin Luther. In his great Reformation hymn “A Mighty Fortress” Luther had this to say about the devil:
“This world’s prince may still
Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none,
He’s judged; the deed is done;
One little word can fell him.”
(CW # 201 v. 3)
So if this Halloween we see a little boy or girl dressed in a devil suit, let’s be reminded of the real devil and what a terrible enemy his is. But let’s also think about Jesus, who has completely defeated Satan for us.
Pastor James A. Castillo