Satan knows theology. Theology is the study of God, and Satan knows it well. Does that thought disturb you? The one who is most opposed to God has a better and more accurate knowledge of God than the most astute seminary student. Satan was created to be a minister of God (Hebrews 1:14) and chose to rebel against God (Isaiah 14:12-15). He has accused men and women before God (Revelation 12:7-12). He has tried to dismantle the plan of God (Job 1:7-2:7, 1 Chronicles 21:1, Zechariah 3:1), and has watched the sovereignty of God on display as He [God] directs history to its culmination.
Satan was there in the garden when man rejected God (Genesis 3:14-15). In a moment, sin entered the world through one man and death through sin (Romans 5:12). He watched on as God saved his people, Israel, from the Egyptian army by parting the Red Sea. He was there when Jesus yelled out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” and breathed his last. Satan not only knows theology but has personally experienced the very history in which theology was revealed.
If it is true that Satan knows theology, what makes you and I any different than him? One might respond, “I believe in God.” Good yet, “Even the demons believe and shudder (James 2:19).” Merely believing in God is not enough. Maybe you would say, “I have a relationship with God,” — Satan does too! However, his relationship is vastly different than that of believers. It is characterized by wrath and rebellion rather than forgiveness and sonship. But what makes you different than him?
There is a difference between believing in God and believing God. Satan can rehearse the truths of the gospel, yet remain unchanged because he does not have saving faith. Conversely, a true believer, will see and savor Jesus as their ultimate treasure. One unmistakable evidence of saving faith is that is causes a person to see God as glorious. Too often, salvation is presented as an escape ticket from Hell. However, it doesn’t take the work of God in a person’s life to want that — Satan doesn’t want to go to Hell. Mere belief in Jesus is not sufficient to make a person spiritually alive. Every credible scholar believes that Jesus died — most of them are atheists. Saving faith requires that we trust Jesus and accept Jesus. Friend, we must know theology, but we must not stop there. We need something much more than assent to theological truths. We need to let go of the things that we love more than Jesus and embrace him as supremely worthy of our praise. We need our affections changed to see Jesus as our all-satisfying treasure. We need the spirit of God to bring our dead hearts to life (John 3:8).