Useful Bible Studies > Ephesians Commentary > chapter 2

What power does the devil have?

Ephesians 2:2

It is God’s nature to fill all things with good things (1:23). It is the devil’s nature to prefer what is empty (Matthew 4:1; Revelation 18:2). So, the devil causes people to have lives that have no useful purpose (Ecclesiastes 1:2). He teaches them to serve false gods, which are not really gods at all (Isaiah 44:9-20). He tempts them with pleasures that will disappear in a moment. All that the devil offers is empty; it can satisfy nobody.

Paul calls the devil: the ruler who has authority over the air, in other words, empty space. The devil’s power is not over God’s people: God has given them everything that they need to defend themselves (6:10-18). Rather, the devil’s power is over those people who are not obeying God. Their foolish and evil attitudes and behaviour allow the devil to ruin their lives.

In the original language (Greek), Paul says that such people follow ‘the age of this world’. We often refer to ‘the spirit of the age’, in other words, the attitudes that people follow at the present time. The devil claims to rule the world (Luke 4:6); but the reality is that the world, and everything in it, belong to God (Psalm 24:1). The devil only has power in this world during the present age, in other words, the period until Christ’s return (Revelation 20:1-4).

The devil tempts people to do wrong things; in other words, he tempts us not to obey God. We might want to blame the devil, or other people, for our actions; but in reality, we ourselves are responsible for our own wrong behaviour. All people do wrong things (Romans 3:9-18). Only God can forgive us and change us (2 Corinthians 5:17). He does that by means of Christ, and his death for us. God will do this wonderful thing in our lives when we turn from our evil deeds to receive Christ into our lives (John 1:12).

Next part: Is it wrong to follow your own desires? (Ephesians 2:3)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.