"The devil your enemy goes about as a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour; resist him, be firm in your faith" [I Peter 5:8-9 p.], and the like. Paul admits that he was not free from this sort of strife when he writes that, as a remedy to tame his pride, he was given an angel of Satan to humble him [II Cor. 12:7]. Therefore this exercise is common to all the children of God. But because that promise to crush Satan's head [Gen. 3:15] pertains to Christ and all his members in common, I deny that believers can ever be conquered or overwhelmed by him. Often, indeed, are they distressed, but not so deprived of life as not to recover; they fall under violent blows, but afterward they are raised up; they are wounded, but not fatally; in short, they so toil throughout life that at the last they obtain the victory.
God does not allow Satan to rule over the souls of believers, but gives over only the impious and unbelievers, whom he deigns not to regard as members of his own flock, to be governed by him. For the devil is said to occupy this world unchallenged until he is cast out by Christ [cf. Luke 11:21]. Likewise, he is said to blind all those who do not believe in the gospel [II Cor. 4:4]. Again, to carry out his "work in the sons of disobedience" [Eph. 2:2], and rightly, for all the impious are vessels of wrath. Hence, to whom would they be subjected but to the minister of divine vengeance? Finally, they are said to be of their father the devil [John 8:44]; for, as believers are recognized as the children of God because they bear his image, so are those rightly recognized to be the children of Satan from his image, into which they have degenerated [I John 3:8-10].
Reading Section: 1.14.18 of “The Institutes of The Christian Religion”, Westminster, John Knox, McNeill / Battles translation
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