John Piper is founder and also teacher the and chancellor that Bethlehem college & Seminary. For 33 years, he offered as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. That is author of much more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations the a Christian Hedonist and most recently Providence.

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John Piper is founder and teacher the and chancellor that Bethlehem college & Seminary. Because that 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. That is writer of much more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most newly Providence.

Satan is not in manage of this world. God never has given, and never will certainly give, to Satan any freedom the God himself does no restrain and also decisively direct for his wise, just, and good purposes. In every his acts, Satan is subject to oh my god overruling and guiding providence.

Since Satan is uniformly evil, we may use the words of Genesis 50:20 for every one of his acts in this world: “he meant it for evil, yet God supposed it for good.” when Satan wills something, he constantly intends to diminish god’s glory and also ultimately destroy God’s people. As soon as God patent Satan come act through that design, God’s architecture in doing so is for his glory and the ultimate an excellent of his people.

But offered the amount of evil and also pain that Satan reasons in the world, us inevitably ask, Why walk God allow Satan to go on working, or also existing? If God rules Satan so thoroughly, why does that not usage his power and also wisdom to placed Satan out of visibility now?

“In all his acts, Satan is topic to oh my god overruling and guiding providence.”

The holy bible does not answer this inquiry directly. Yet there room pointers. For this reason let me venture four answers for you come test. Even though this suggestions space not given in Scripture as explicit answers come our question, nevertheless, i think lock do offer a partial answer.

I would amount up why God patent Satan to go on living and working by saying that God intends to loss Satan not v one initial punch of power, however through four processes:

He is defeating Satan v showing.He is defeating Satan through suffering.He is beating Satan v Satan.He is defeating Satan through savoring.

1. God is beating Satan v showing an ext of his own attributes.

Consider the lamentable problem of the woman in Luke 13:10–17, who for eighteen year “was bending over and could not completely straighten herself” (Luke 13:11). Luke tells us more specifically that “Satan bound because that eighteen years” (Luke 13:16). Jesus is going to heal her completely, which way that God could have healed she at any type of time throughout those eighteen pains years. The was an effective and compassionate sufficient to execute it at any type of time. Yet instead he allowed Satan to have his ugly way in she body for eighteen years.

The upshot that healing her was the Jesus’s “adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were excellent by him” (Luke 13:17). We perform not understand why God permitted this mrs to endure Satan’s “binding” for so long. However what us do understand is this: by overcoming this woman’s satanic bondage, Jesus beat Satan in 2 other ways — in exposing the hypocrisy of his adversaries, and in reflecting his compassion and authority and also power therefore that human being rejoiced at his glorious deeds.

It appears to me, then, that this one incident provides a glimpse into God’s bigger purpose for his time in beating Satan. Native this story, we might infer that component of God’s objective is come show an ext aspects the Christ’s glory through the manifold demonstrations the his superiority over Satan than would certainly be displayed if he had put Satan out of visibility all at once, at some earlier allude in redemptive history.

2. God is beating Satan through suffering.

The most central and staggering reality about Satan’s eventual defeat is not that he will certainly be thrown right into the lake that fire yet that Jesus was thrown into the fire, as it were (Luke 12:50), to defeat Satan’s organize on his people. Both Paul and the writer to the Hebrews teach the Jesus beat Satan by method of his suffering and also death (Colossians 2:13–15; Hebrews 2:14–15).

It is an ext beautiful, more glorious and excellent and also wonderful, the the biggest person in the universe must defeat the most despicable being in the cosmos by picking to suffer and also die in an plot of liberating love — love because that those that were in fact “following the prince of the strength of the air . . . Prefer the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:2–3). When Jesus litter Satan right into the lake the fire, Jesus’s justice and also power will certainly be on complete display. But at the cross, his grace and also mercy and also patience and love and wisdom to be on full screen as he conquered Satan’s claim on God’s world by paying their debts.

“The ultimate goal of providence is the joyful prayer of the glory of oh my gosh grace.”

Colossians 2:14 provides clear how Satan lost his case on God’s world when Christ died. Christ canceled “the record of debt that stood versus us with its legit demands. This he collection aside, nailing it to the cross.” This is complied with by its effect on Satan: “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open up shame, by triumphing end them in him” (Colossians 2:15). In various other words, the only damning indictments Satan can bring against us at the last day is unforgiven sin. But Christ nailed those come the cross. This stripped native Satan’s hand his only damning weapon. He to be disarmed. Indeed, he to be shamed because, in all his vaunted strength and also pride and hate, he lost his compensation — God’s selected — to an act of omnipotent weakness and also humility and love.

The ultimate goal of providence is the joyful prayer of the glory that God’s elegant (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14), and the consummate demonstration of that glorious elegant is the openly chosen suffering and death of the infinitely worthy kid of God for unworthy sinners prefer us. Now we see some tiny glimpse of why Satan is offered such a duty in the theater of oh my gosh wonders. In ~ every point, Christ proves superior, and also at the most necessary moment in history, the beauty of Christ shines most brightly together the ugliest being is undone by the greatest act the beauty.

3. God is beating Satan with Satan.

The wisdom the God appears an ext fully, and his superiority end Satan in every way, not just in thin power, shines an ext brightly, in the manifold means he brings Satan to ruin. One of those methods is to make Satan serve God’s sanctifying functions in the stays of his children. It must infuriate Satan that God’s methods are for this reason pure and brilliant the Satan no only falls short to obstruct them but unwittingly serves them.

What I have in mind is Paul’s mandrel in the flesh, which he tells us about in 2 Corinthians 12:1–10. Paul had actually been granted a supernatural glimpse into heaven (2 Corinthians 12:1–4). God had actually granted Paul this privilege, learning it would certainly tempt Paul to be conceited. God reputed the gift precious the troubles to come. His answer come this attention temptation of pride was to see to it (providence) that Paul would have actually a thorn in the flesh. Paul tells united state this with a stunning sentence around God’s target to sanctify him, and Satan’s unwitting hand in it!

To store me from coming to be conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was offered me in the flesh, a messenger the Satan to harass me, to store me from coming to be conceited. (2 Corinthians 12:7)

At the beginning and the ending of this verse, the function of the thorn is mentioned: “to store me from becoming conceited . . . To save me from ending up being conceited.” Now, the is not Satan’s design. Satan does no hinder conceit; the helps it. This is God’s style for Paul’s thorn — humility and trust. Nevertheless, the thorn is dubbed “a messenger of Satan.” In methods that exceed our full comprehension, God is may be to harness Satan’s hate of Paul and make it offer God’s very own purposes that Paul’s humility and purity and glad dependency on the elegant of Jesus.

So, the upshot the Satan’s attack on Paul is not just the exposure the his self-defeating folly, but likewise the revelation of Christ’s all-satisfying grace:

Three times ns pleaded v the Lord around this, that it must leave me. Yet he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” because of this I will certainly boast all the much more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the strength of Christ may rest ~ above me. (2 Corinthians 12:8–9)

I think this gets close come the heart of why God enables Satan come exist and bring short-term harm on god’s people. It i do not care an occasion not only to present the better glory that Christ’s wisdom and power and worth, but likewise to display the superior satisfaction the this glory offers his civilization compared to what Satan have the right to give. This leader to the fourth magnificent strategy for defeating Satan.

4. God is defeating Satan with savoring.

Notice that the orgasm of Paul’s experience of the thorn in the flesh is no Paul’s awareness that Christ’s grace together sufficient. Rather, the awareness and experience of this sufficiency bring Paul come “boast all the more gladly of mine weaknesses.” as soon as Paul experience the all-sufficient elegant of Jesus together a “glad” (hēdista, 2 Corinthians 12:9, words from i m sorry we get hedonism!) boast, this experience provides the grace and also the power of Christ was standing forth every the an ext clearly.

“Nothing Satan is and nothing the offers can compare v Christ.”

I contact this “gladness” savoring. And my suggest is that God intends for Satan come be beat in this period not just by reflecting him to it is in weaker 보다 Christ, but also by reflecting him to be less savory 보다 Christ — less desirable, much less satisfying. If this sounds superficial or marginal come you, you and also I space not however on the exact same page. In my knowledge of God’s functions in the universe, the ultimate goal is the the beauty and worth that Christ be magnified as the supreme treasure of the cosmos through being savored above all various other reality. Providence over Satan and all other produced reality get its ultimate goal once the intensity of person savoring synchronizes to the unlimited beauty and worth of Christ.

Satan’s most essential function in achieving that goal is to sell us every conceivable pleasure to lure us away from savoring, desiring, and being satisfied v Christ, and also every conceivable pain to turn us versus the quality of Christ. When God’s world face this temptations come prefer the world and also to repudiate Christ, yet instead “gladly” boast in their weaknesses and also losses due to the fact that of the surpassing value of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 3:8), Satan is defeated in the many wonderful and also thorough way.

Satan is not only shown to it is in weaker than Christ, but, an ext importantly, he is displayed to it is in less preferable than Christ. Satan is less satisfying due to the fact that he is not just weak contrasted to Christ’s power, but also ugly compared to Christ’s beauty and also disgusting compared to Christ’s sweetness. Naught Satan is and also nothing the offers can compare v Christ.

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The savoring of Christ above all that Satan can provide in riches, or all he have the right to take in suffering, magnifies Christ’s beauty and also worth in ways that could never have happened if God had actually banished Satan native the world before his weakness and folly and ugliness were totally exposed, and before Christ was displayed to it is in infinitely more desirable. In this way, God’s setup to permit Satan’s ongoing existence and influence offer the ultimate goal of providence.