What god(s) do you serve? Paul reminded the Christians in Corinth, ". . .we know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no God but one" (1 Cor. 8:4). In other words, Paul was emphasizing that, although idolatry was prevalent during his day, there was no reality behind those idols. They are worthless substitutes for the one true and living God of Scripture.

Paul would later warn them, "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in them that perish: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them" (2 Cor. 4:3-4). While Satan is certainly not God, he is "a god" in the sense that so many people allow him first place in their hearts and lives, instead of God himself.

Satan is described to the church in Ephesus as "the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience" (Eph. 2:1-2). By means of his influence through temptations, Satan controls many in this present age. They give their allegiance to him in how they live, expressing the sinful desires of the flesh rather than the good will of God. He separates people from God, and leads them on a course that will end in eternal condemnation.

Satan, the god of this world, offers these alternatives to living a godly life. It began in the garden of Eden, when he appeared to Adam and Eve in the form of a serpent (Gen. 3), and continues today in the lives of people who yield to the evil desires he places before them. For example, what about lying? Jesus identified Satan as a murderer, the father of lies (John 8:44). What about a covetous, or greedy, person? It is idolatry (Eph. 5:5), focusing the heart on sin instead of God's righteousness. The devil is the force behind these and all other expressions of sin.

Satan is god of this world, and is pleased so many worship him without knowing it, living in sin but calling it anything and everything but that. He is content for people to have various gods in their lives, as their origin and consequences originate with him. Paul wrote, "Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Rom. 6:16). There are really only two choices for who we serve: Satan or God. Satan desires to destroy us, but God loves us and seeks what is best for us, today and eternally. Which of the two is guiding you, the god of this world, or the one true and living God?

Robert Johnson
Longview, TX