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What Satan Can’t Do

What Satan can and can’t do is an important topic. I’ve found many people fear Satan. Because of that, rather than starting with what he can do, I’m going to show you what Satan can’t do. [Tweet “There are many comforting truths in the Bible about what Satan can’t do!”]

What Satan can't do

Many people think Satan is as powerful as God and can do anything that God can do. That just isn’t so. Yes, it’s true that Satan is powerful but I’m going to save the list of what he can do for another post.

The Bible says much about Satan. Even so there aren’t any verses that literally say, “Satan can’t do (fill in the blank)”. It’s actually easy to figure out what Satan can’t do. All we have to do is look at interactions Satan had with God and with people in the Bible. A careful examination gives us these comforting insights.

11 Things Satan Can’t Do

  1. He can’t do anything he wants. He’s under God’s control. Specifically he can’t attack God’s children without permission. We see this in his attack on Job. The way and the time he attacked Job was according to what God allowed Job 1:7-12; Job 2:4-6.
  2. Satan, like other fallen angels, can’t repent John 8:44, 2Peter 2:4, Jude 1:6. There is no truth in him. None. He’s unredeemable!
  3. He can’t understand the Bible 1 Corinthians 2:9-11. Satan, the spirit of the world, can’t explain it. Only the Spirit of God explains what it means.
  4. Satan can’t be in more than one place at a same time Job 1:7. God asked Satan where he had been. Satan said he was traveling to different places on the earth.
  5. He can’t make you sin. The final decision is always yours. He tempted Adam and Eve but sin entered the world through them, not Satan Romans 5:12.
  6. Satan can’t control you against your will if you’re a Christian 1 John 5:18-19. God allows Satan to attack but He can’t control a child of God unless you let him.
  7. Satan can’t defeat anyone resting in God’s power Jude 8-9, James 4:7, Ephesians 6:10-13. The smallest child resting in the Lord’s power can successfully resist Satan.
  8. Satan can’t continually attack a Christian who resists Him James 4:7. Some think Satan attacks them all day every day. When you resist He has to flee!
  9. He can’t predict the future or read people’s minds. Only God does that Hebrews 4:12, 1 Corinthians 13:12, Psalm 139:23-24. Satan couldn’t predict the future with Job or read his mind. Job never did what Satan thought he would do!
  10. Satan can’t take away your salvation John 10:27-30. No one can take us out of Jesus and the Father’s hands!
  11. Satan can’t win Revelation 12:7-11, Revelation 29:7-10! His future is certain. He knows what the Bible says but doesn’t believe it.

This is reassuring, if you’re a Christ follower! Are you still afraid of Satan? If you are a child of God you don’t need to fear Satan. Greater is He who is in you, the Holy Spirit, than Satan, who is in the world 1 John 4:4.

[Tweet “Knowing what Satan can do is interesting. Knowing what Satan can’t do is reassuring!”]

What questions do you have about this or other things you’ve heard about Satan? Please post them below. I’d love to hear from you. If you aren’t a Christ follower and would like to be, please email me, I’d love to talk with you about it.

  • I’m curious about #4 about Satan not being able to be in more than one place at a time. How do you account for the enemy attacking people the world over day in and day out? Do you attribute this to the demons under his control? I also think of 2 Chronicles 16:9 that says the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth. All that to say…I’m not saying you’re wrong, but am trying to wrap my mind around how the enemy wreaks so much havoc if he’s only in one place at a time. Could it also be that we sometimes mistake the other two parts of “the world, the flesh, and the devil” as always being the devil when it’s often one of the other two? I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts on this. Thanks!

      • Hi Lara, I put an answer to the question under Kim’s post. Hopefully you can see it. Let me know if you have additional questions!


    • Hi Kim, there are a couple of issues here that you have identified. First, you are right Satan isn’t alone. According to Revelation 12:4 and 9 it’s likely that as many as 1/3 of the angels of heaven rebelled with him. All of his followers share his character so yes, it can seem like they are many places at once.

      The second issue is more important and you allude to it as well. Too many people can’t recognize when Satan attacks. As I have taught this over the years one of the important things I teach is how to discern a satanic attack from our different enemies the flesh and the world and how to discern it from the 4 other kinds of adversity we experience as Christians. Trials are much more frequent than spiritual attacks. Too often I hear people give Satan credit for trials, for sickness, a car accident, losing a job or interpersonal problems. When we give Satan credit for these things we elevate him higher than we should and in some cases take glory away from God, who intentionally allowed the trial, and give it to Satan. That is not only sad, it’s actually blasphemous.

      If you’re interested I can send you a link to my teaching on distinguishing trials and attacks. Even though God has called me to teach on this and so it’s the focus of my teaching, I believe satanic attacks are the least frequent of all the spiritual attacks we face. And I believe spiritual attacks are less frequent than the four other kinds of adversity we face as Christians.

      Let me know if you would like more information. I really appreciate you asking this question. Lara had the same question as I’m sure others did, too!


  • At the Garden, the serpent spoke to Eve. The term Satan isn’t used there. But we know/believe that satan entered the serpent to tempt them. When Jesus was in the wilderness, the devil tempts him. My question is: does satan need a medium/body/flesh/animal to talk/deceive/tempt people? Or can he just appear out of thin air and speak audibly – the way they show in movies?

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    Ward Cushman

    My journey of faith started when I was nine years old when I realized that Jesus died and rose again to pay for my sins. At the age of thirteen I felt the call of God on my life for ministry.

    I have been fortunate to work in the marketplace for over ten years and in full-time Christian ministry for over thirty years.

    My passion is to teach God's Word in such a way that it is easy to understand and so that God uses it to bring about life change in those who hear it.

    It is my greatest joy to see God work through me to produce fruit for His glory!