Although he wrote most of the letters in the New Testament, Paul isn’t the only one whose correspondence was inspired and kept for our benefit in God’s Word. Peter wrote two epistles which contain good advice about spiritual warfare. The first was written in 63 AD, about the same time Paul was writing his letters to Timothy.
Satan used Peter to tempt Jesus to avoid the cross (Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33). Satan asked God for permission to “sift Peter as wheat” (Luke 22:31) by leading him to deny he knew Jesus so he would feel tremendous guilt and remorse. But Jesus said He prayed for Peter, that his faith wouldn’t fail and that he could strengthen his fellow Christians (Luke 22:32).
Peter certainly knew from firsthand experience that the battle with Satan and his demons was real! Therefore he knew what he was talking about when he wrote: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:8-11).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Peter challenges his readers to be “self-controlled” (sober, paying attention) and “alert” (awake, watchful), both strong commands to prepare themselves for the sure-to-come battle with Satan. Satan is like a “roaring lion” looking for anyone he can “devour” (assault, destroy, make ineffective by severing the vital union between us and God). As with Peter (Luke 22:31-32), Satan tries to destroy our faith so we will be open to fear, sin and discouragement. Therefore we are commanded to “resist him” and remain “firm and steadfast” in faith. God uses these very attacks to strengthen our faith and help us grow (1 Peter 5:10). He does not stop the attacks or make us immune to them, but He provides strength so we can stand up against them (1 Corinthians 0:13).
A year later Peter wrote IN 2 Peter what seems to be a strange statement. He says God did not spare the angels when they sinned but sent them to hell, putting them in gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment (2 Peter 2:4). Jude said they are kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day (Jude 6). It seems many demons are bound by God in some lower and most terrible ‘hell’ because they are too evil to be released so God spares the world their influence. They will be judged and condemned to hell for all eternity (Revelation 20:1-3, 10).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Satan is still more successful through deception and lies than direct attack (John 8:44). Direct attack makes the church stronger, like in China and third world countries today. Deceptions and partial truths weaken the church, like is often true in the USA and Europe today. We must be convinced that Jesus is totally God (Colossians 2:9) and has all wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)