What is believer’s authority over Satan?
Question: “What is believer’s authority over Satan and how do I use this authority against Satan -
The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). As Christians, we must be aware of the fact that we are involved in warfare with the devil. This warfare is not a social event that we can decline. Satan’s primary weapons are deception of our mind and sickness of our body and his main strategy is to deceive us so that we do not realize that we have an enemy that is attacking us. But God has given us every weapon that we need to defeat the devil, to be victorious through Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, … ALL authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth (Matt 28:18). This verse did not say that the Father gave Jesus some authority, or most authority, but ALL authority. This is authority to operate in the power of the Father. What authority did Jesus exhibit as a man on earth? He cast out the devil and evil spirits called demons, He healed the sick, He controlled natural forces (storm, tree), and He raised the dead. All authority Jesus exhibited was at the Fathers direction through the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does (John 5:19).
We don’t have much trouble accepting the miracles Jesus performed. Now comes the hard part for many to believe. That Jesus has given us the same authority to operate in the Father’s power that Jesus had when He was on earth.
Who are we that Christ should give us such authority? …you are a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir (Gal 4:7).
Behold, I give unto you authority to tread … over ALL the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:19). Authority is delegated power.
Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils (Luke 9:1, 2).
For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants (Mark 13:34).
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils (Mark 16:17). Jesus said “In my name,” He gave us a power of attorney. We do not have the power. The power is Gods, the authority is Jesus’, and the power of attorney to operate in Jesus’ authority is ours.
What authority do these four verses say that Christ gave us? He gave us “All authority” over the enemy, to tread over and to cast out. However, all authority is only effective if it is used, by believing in faith and commanding in faith through Christ.
What is power and authority
The Greek term exousia is most often translated "power" in the King James Version but is often translated "authority" in newer versions. Many consider power and authority to be the same, however:
Power is a force, either reserved or active, that results in an action or capacity to perform. The greatest power in the universe being God.
Authority is the right to control, command, or determine. Authority is valueless without the power to make it affective. Christ has given us access to His authority to operate in God’s power. However, be not prideful, as the power is not ours but God’s, and the authority is not ours but Jesus’. He has, in His mercy, given us His authority to use, while on earth, to help protect others and ourselves from the enemy.
Why Christ gave man His authority
God gave Adam authority overall the earth (Genesis 1:26-
Satan’s intent today is the same as it was 2,000 years ago. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10). Satan attacks our faith in God’s Word, our marriage, children, families, ministries, friends, health, joy, and peace. We can be vulnerable to Satan’s attack if we are ignorant of his attacks, for my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Unfortunately, many, even most are not aware of Satan's attacks. Satan has no right to steal, kill, and destroy unless we let him. We need to be knowledgeable. We need to be on guard. We need to be prepared through knowledge of the Word of God. We need to stand firm with our shield of faith and our authority.
When Satan brings tribulation and persecution, we can either stand on God’s Word or we can blame God, “God, how could you let this happen to me?” When we blame God, we are turning from God’s Word and truth and opening a door to Satan. We have authority if we are willing to use it in faith. Jesus has already defeated the devil and his demons. He gave us the authority and we must now stand up and defeat the enemy. We must forcibly advance the kingdom of God on earth. We have the authority to send the devil packing.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might (Eph. 6:10).
So Christ gave man authority to defend himself and loved ones from the enemy and to advance the kingdom of God. In the same way and power that Jesus cast demons out, we, guided by the Holy Spirit, are to do the same. Through the Holy Spirit, we are infinitely more powerful than Satan, and have all the rights in the world to demand and command the devil to leave our loved ones and ourselves.
Why a defeated Satan is still here
We are told in the following verses that Jesus already defeated Satan.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities [of Satan], he made a public spectacle of them [Satan and his demons], triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:15).
If Satan is already defeated, why then is he still able to cause trouble? Because, even though Christ broke Satan’s legal power, the Lord has left it up to us to “enforce” the Devil’s defeated condition. It's our responsibility to use the authority that Christ has given us to put Satan in his place until Jesus throws Satan into the dungeon at the end of the tribulation.
Christians need not fear Satan but realize the authority they have been given and exercise the authority they have over the enemy. Every saved person has been given authority over the power of the devil. Behold, I give you the authority to trample … over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:19).
Is it God’s responsibility
God protects us in many ways. Sometimes He intervenes to protect us in ways we are not aware of; other times we see how the hand of God protects and other times He warns us that we are being attacked. But we are responsible for using the tools and authority God has provided us to chase Satan away.
It may be hard for some to accept, but it is not always God’s job to push back the enemy for He has given us the authority and responsibility to take care of the devil. We are His solders and when He points out the enemy, it is our job to defeat the enemy. Christ is the head, and we are the body. The body works through the power of Christ. Not once in the New Testament is the church ever told to pray that God or Jesus would cast out demons for us.
We do pray for God’s protection against the enemy, …deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13), and that protection includes providing us the authority to use God’s power to cast the devil away. We cast them out in the name of Jesus. Jesus is the one who told us to cast out the demons in His name. We are not to pray about the devil, but are told to use our authority against the devil. We are Christ’s army and it is our responsibility to put on God’s armor and attack the enemy.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-
In my name shall they cast out devils (Mark 16:17).
Satan caused sickness
There are many reasons for sickness. We may be sick because of poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, chemicals in our environment, food or water, sin, unforgiveness, and we can be sick because of a Satanic attack. When Christ was healing people, sometimes He healed them, sometimes He cast an evil spirit [demon] out and the person was immediately healed, and sometimes He cast the evil spirit out and then healed them.
Often people do not respond to prayer and laying on of hands because there is an evil spirit involved. We need to ask the Holy Spirit if a demon is present and how to deal with it.
Authority is exercised through faith
Then came the disciples to Jesus privately and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said to them, Because of your little faith (Matthew 17:19). They had the authority, but they were not able to fully use it because of their little faith. Some evil spirits are stronger and harder to drive out, and sometimes prayer and fasting is necessary to build our faith up, But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21).
God is …upholding all things by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). We need to learn to minister and walk in faith with the authority Jesus has given us. Like Jesus, we need to always remember that it is not our power but God’s power that is operating. In His earthly ministry, Jesus said such things as Be thou made whole. Take up your bed and walk. Peter did the same by saying, In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk (Acts 3:6). To follow Jesus is to walk as Jesus walked. And how did he walk? He walked in complete faith of His authority and God’s power through the direction of the Holy Spirit.
After you claim your authority, the devil will give you a thought, “Oh, come on now. You don’t believe that, do you?” This is a critical point in exercising faith over the devil. As long as Satan can hold you in the area of reason, he will whip you every time. However, if you will hold him in the area of faith and authority, you will defeat him every time!
Authority to cast out demons
The authority given to us is more powerful than Satan. Satan must respect and obey our authority, because when we speak in faith, we are speaking just as if Jesus was speaking, as we have the same authority that Jesus, Paul, and the early church had.
How did Jesus cast out demons? He cast out demons with His spoken word. When evening come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word (Matthew 8:16).
How are we to cast out demons? Not by begging the demons nor are we told to pray and ask God to remove them, but we are told to cast them out in the name of Jesus. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils (Matthew 10:8).
Here is what Jesus Christ said about prayer, how can one enter into a strong man's [Satan] house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house (Matthew 12:29). We bind the devil and then we can spoil his plans. Satan is defeated by saints that engage him in combat.
The devil hates the name of Jesus and is repulsed by an atmosphere of praise and worship, which exalts the name of the Lord. Christ said, For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them (Matt. 18:20).
How authority works
Authority does not beg; authority does not ask; authority commands! We are not told to ask God to cast out demons, we are told to do it ourselves!
If we say “we will try it”, we do not have faith and the devil has won. We defeat the devil when we have a foundation of God’s Word and rest in faith on His Word. As God’s Word increases in our heart, our faith increases and we can say “Satan, in the name of Jesus, be gone”, and he will.
Many of the trials of life appear to be of man, but they actually have Satan working behind them. God’s Word tells us to resist the enemy ourselves. In James 4:7 we are told, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. The authority over the devil is ours. The responsibility is ours.
Sadly, too many Christians are prone to believe in the power of Satan more than the power of Jesus. They believe the lie that they have no power, they believe the lie that they are at Satan’s mercy or that Satan does not exist. They believe if they get sick, their only hope is a doctor. Some may believe in healing, they try, but are not surprised when nothing happens. It is what they expected anyway.
So what do we do when nothing happens? We become more aggressive, more forceful against the enemy, and we demand our rights in the name of Jesus Christ, we continue the fight until we win.
Often there will be a fight because Satan does not want to give up what he has taken. What we need to remember is that we are not alone. Christ has our back. God himself is the power behind our authority! For greater is he [Holy Spirit] that is in you, than he [devil] that is in the world (1 John 4:4). The devil and his forces are obliged to recognize God’s power and our authority in Jesus.
We must remember that God will do for us what we cannot do, but He will hold us responsible to do what we are instructed to do. God has given us the authority to cast out the devil and his demons/evil spirits. If we do not use the authority God has given us, we should not expect God to do our job. When Satan gives us a negative idea, thought or desire, in Jesus’ name we cast it out. “In Jesus’ name, I reject that idea”, or “I cast that idea out.” We can combat satanic thoughts by thinking on positive ideas and quoting scripture just like Christ did. As we dwell in the Word and renew our minds, in time, we will become a much less interesting target.
In all of life, Jesus is to be our example of how to be a Christian and this includes working in the authority that Christ has given us. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father (John 14:12). Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8).
How did Jesus cast out demons? With authority. In most cases, Jesus commanded the demon to leave. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again” (Mark 9:25).
Our realm of authority
We have the authority to cast the devil and his demons away in the name of Jesus, to break ancestral links from the sins of past generations that may be affecting us, to renounce curses, and to destroy all Satanic influence in our God given realm of authority. Our God given realm of authority covers our personal lives, our family, those who want us to pray for them, home, immediate neighborhood, and those areas where we may find ourselves. For example, two pastors were walking down a street in a dangerous part of town and came upon two men fighting. They prayed and bound the spirit of anger in the men, and having broken the demon’s hold, the men immediately stopped fighting and walked away. Note that they did not pray to God to help, they did not command the men to stop fighting, but they commanded the spirit of anger in the men.
Praying for others and the world
This is Satan’s world at this time and we do not have the authority to bind Satan from moving in the world. Our authority decreases significantly beyond our realm of authority. We do not have authority over others and cannot command that they accept Jesus. However, we can pray for others, we can pray for all the unsaved of the world, through God’s mighty weapons of warfare, to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-
We have authority over Satan and his kingdom, but we do not have any authority over another person. We can pray for salvation for another person, but as long as that person does not want to receive Christ, they will not. God will not force salvation on a person. He will not go against a persons will, but by prayer God may set circumstances that help change a person’s will.
In the same way, if a person is being attacked or oppressed by an evil spirit, we have no power or right to cast the evil spirit out if the person wants the evil spirit to stay. And yes, some have an attachment to their evil spirit and do not want it cast out.
If someone steals from us, the thief likely has a spirit of theft. We cannot take authority over the person, but we can take authority over the spirit of theft, or the spirit of violence. We can take authority over the spirit and bind it, not in our power, but in the authority Jesus has given us.
Binding Satan over cities and nations
In the scriptures, we do not see any examples of Jesus or the apostles entering a city and breaking Satan’s power over the city. Rather, they always presented the power of Scripture and the saving grace of Jesus to the city.
On the other hand, there is nothing in Scripture that prevents binding Satan over a city or even a state. But there is a very serious limitation that we need to address in the next section.
How long does binding and breaking Satan’s power last? Binding will last as long as the recipient does not sin as unrepented sin opens the door to Satan. While binding Satan in one person’s life may last for many days, until the person sins again, with a large group, such as a city with 100,000 people, it may only be a couple of seconds until someone sins and opens the door again to Satan.
All that power and authority over our enemy, the devil, is of no use unless we step out and use it. We are involved in warfare daily, if we know it or not, because we are being attacked daily with thoughts that lead to temptation that can lead to spiritual death. What is the use of having a big cannon if we only hide in a foxhole? Christ is our example, he took authority over the devil and so must we. We break Satan’s power by binding and casting him out. Like Christ, we must walk holy with God, free of unrepented sins. We must follow His example of being led by the Holy Spirit and take back what Satan has stolen. We each have the authority to be victorious.
In my name shall they cast out devils (Mark 16:17).
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