Since Satan is the ruler of this world, is it possible for him to take the life of an active Christian sooner than God had intended?
The answer is no!
Example of Job
In the book of Job, we discover an amazing truth. God has limited Satan’s freedom. Satan is not all powerful, and he does not have complete freedom. The book of Job starts with Satan speaking with God. Satan told God that Job was not very faithful. If God would allow Satan to cause Job suffering and pain, then Job would curse Him (Job 1:9-11). So God gave Satan permission to test Job.
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD. (NASB) Job 1:12
Job 1:13-19 says that Satan then destroyed Job’s herds, and killed his servants and children. When Satan destroyed Job’s sheep, camels, oxen, and female donkeys, he destroyed Job’s employment. How did Job respond? He remained faithful even though he suffered (Job 2:1-3).
Defeated, Satan returns to God with another request. This time, Satan wants to kill Job or make him sick.
And Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. However, put forth Thy hand, now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse Thee to Thy face.” So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life .” (NASB) Job 2:4-6
But God only allowed him to make Job sick. Satan could not take Job’s life. This is a great truth. Satan is not completely free. God is watching out for us.
Example of Peter
There is another example of God limiting Satan in the New Testament. Jesus tells us that Satan wanted “to sift” Peter as wheat.
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. (NASB) Luke 22:31-32
Notice that Satan had to ask for permission. God allowed him to go after Peter. So, Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail. Satan is not free to cause us pain, suffering, or death. Satan is not free to decide on his own if and when we lose our jobs, possessions, loved ones, and/or life.
Trials are the greatest test of our faith. Do you think that you are a strong Christian? Do you believe that you have a special relationship with God? Remember that God said that Job was “blameless and upright . . . fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 2:3). Trials will reveal the truth about your faith.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (NASB) James 1:2-3