“He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4)
In this letter of John he is addressing people who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. The One who is in them is Jesus Christ as testified in his Gospel (cf. John 1:12, 13). The purpose of this letter is not to save people from sin and death (His Gospel has that purpose (cf. John 20:31)) but that those who are saved may know it and live in the absolute assurance of it.
The one who is in the world is the devil who opposes God and all who would follow Jesus Christ.
It would seem that some Christians give Satan too much credit to the point that it seems that they believe that he is a match for Jesus Christ. The outworking of this is that they live in fear of him. There is a lot more than can be written in this space but here is a starting point if you are at all in fear of Satan:
- Satan is not omnipotent (all powerful). He is a created being and has great limitations on his power. His Creator gave him both scope and limitations and he is bound by them.
- He is not omnipresent (present in all places at the same time). As a created being he is able to be in only one place at a time. He may give the impression of being every where at once but that is because he is not physically limited as we are and he has hoards of demons who like to usurp his place.
- Neither is he omniscient (all knowing). He does not know every thing and he certainly has no more knowledge of the future than is revealed in the Bible. Again, he has limitations.
- Satan is not eternal. He has a beginning like all created beings and the Bible reveals his end – the lake of fire forever – and he knows it (Revelation 20:10).
On the other hand, Jesus Christ is all of these things. Being the Creator (Colossians 1:15-18) He created the angel Lucifer in whose heart was found pride and he became known as the devil called Satan.
Who is greater, the Creator or the created being? The gap is incomparably infinite.
Satan is not able to touch the one in whom Christ dwells without the consent of Jesus Christ or that person (through yielding to temptation). If Jesus gives that consent then it will have scope and limitations that are for our good and God’s glory.
We have nothing to fear from Satan because Christ who is in us is infinitely greater. Indeed, Satan ultimately serves Christ’s interests in His people.