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What does it mean to “sell your soul to the devil”? Is it possible to make bargains or enter into eternal contracts with Satan that we can’t get out of? Can a Christian fall into Satan’s possession by engaging in willful rebellion against God? These are the questions we will answer in this post.
The whole idea of humans bargaining with supernatural beings is ludicrous from the very beginning. Would you buy a house because a three-year-old girl assures you it’s in good condition? Would you invest your life savings into a stock if a little boy says it’s guaranteed to increase in value? Of course not. What do little children know about money and wise investing? They know nothing. They might think they are clever because they’ve picked up a few big words from the adults around them, but at their young ages they lack the perspective and cognitive development necessary to really understand what they are talking about.
We look infinitely more ridiculous to Satan when we try to approach him with some clever “if you…then I’ll…” scheme. We have nothing to offer him. We don’t even know who we’re dealing with. We’re total idiots from Satan’s perspective—dominoes that he could tumble over with one easy flick. If it weren’t for the Holy Spirit constantly getting in his way, Satan would have talked us all into killing each other off a long time ago, and the whole lot of us would be in Hell. Do you try and teach basic addition to a calculus professor? Do you try to win a basketball game against a seven-foot giant who has spent years playing on a championship team? When we try to make deals with Satan, we are completely out of our league.
Satan loves it when humans think they can outwit him. It’s so fun for him to string us along with the illusion that our schemes are actually working. We ask him to help us get something we want—power, money, success. He gets permission from God to make things work out just the way we hoped. Then we think we’ve won—until Satan comes to collect his dues.
Satan is constantly dangling rewards in front of us—pleasures and perks that are very real and very enjoyable, at least at first. “Start an affair with your secretary. Having sex with that hot body is going to be so worth it.” “Go ahead and get drunk. Experience how freeing it is.” “Don’t be so paranoid. Cheat on the test—you won’t get caught.” If he can possibly manage it, Satan wants us to feel rewarded for sinning until he’s got us hooked. Then, when we’re in too deep to untangle ourselves, his sugar coating deteriorates and we suddenly realize we’ve swallowed a poison pill. The secretary turns up pregnant while we turn up with a nasty disease. We suddenly discover we’ve become addicted to alcohol and now we can’t function without it. We get away with cheating on the first test, but then we make a habit of it and suddenly we get caught and booted out of school and all our hard work is down the drain. Depending on what kind of permission he’s getting from God, Satan will try to delay the consequences of sin as long as possible so that he can build up a nice domino effect of everything catching up to us at once. If he senses his window of opportunity is going to be brief, he’ll trash us right away. We’ll get arrested the first time we sleep with a prostitute. We’ll accidentally kill someone the first time we drink and drive.
Both Satan and God care about the state of your soul more than anything else. While God wants your spiritual best, Satan wants your spiritual worst. Because Satan’s main goal is soul damage, we often see his servants having very great earthly success. Misery on earth is risky business, for pain and desperation often drive us to God. This is why Satan prefers to play it safe and heap on the earthly comforts. He knows that if we wallow in carnal lusts, we will end up starving ourselves spiritually. Ignoring our souls is the best way to harm them, this is why he tries so hard to get Christians to focus on anything other than spiritual growth. Satan wants us focused on this earthly life, not eternity. He wants us to cherish everything that will burn away and disdain everything that will last. Killing ourselves to advance in some meaningless career. Living for the approval of others. Valuing sexual release more than heart bonds. Obsessing over the external appearance of a body that is slowly deteriorating. Anything cheap, temporary, superficial and spiritually empty is what Satan tries to hook us on. “All that matters is what feels good, what looks good, and what will make others like you”—this is the logic he drills into us over and over again. When we buy into it, we end up caught in his terrible traps of pain, emptiness, despair and misery. We can’t see any way out. We feel totally controlled by the sin in our lives. This is when Satan comes slinking in to say, “Now you are mine forever.” Is this true? It depends on how we respond.
If you are a Christian, your soul has been eternally sealed by the Holy Spirit. You are a child of God, and there is nothing you or Satan can do to ever change that. Assuming you really have submitted to Jesus at some point in your life and you weren’t just playing games, then it is totally impossible for you to “sell your soul to the devil.” Our souls are not something we can buy or sell. Our souls are who we are, and where we end up in eternity depends on who we submit to in life. We either submit to God or we align with Satan. There is no neutral position. If we reject Christ, we are aligning ourselves with Satan. God forces every human and angelic creature to be either for or against Him. He does not allow the angels or us to take a position of “undecided.” What we call undecided, He calls willful rejection.
We can’t come to God until He personally invites us. We can’t know the truth until He reveals it to us. The Holy Spirit reveals enough truth to each soul for that soul to choose the option of salvation. Before God gives us the chance to come to Him, He considers us morally unaccountable. If we die in this state, He mercifully takes us to Heaven. But once we are shown the truth—and for some of us this happens at a very young age—we are held accountable for how we respond to it. If we reject God’s illumination and then die, we will go to Hell.
Let’s be clear: it is impossible to predict what the age of accountability is for any individual. Some can grasp the Gospel essentials as young children, while others need more time to mature. God works with each soul differently and He does not always use the aid of human lips. This means that just because someone has never been told the Gospel message by a human does not mean that they don’t know enough truth to make them accountable.
Salvation is a spiritual matter, and the decisions we make that determine our eternal fate are made by our souls. Our souls are not the same thing as our physical brains, nor are our brains always aware of what our souls are doing. People can “tune out” the activity of their souls—desensitizing themselves to the Holy Spirit’s Voice until they no longer sense Him speaking to them. Yet while their physical brains enjoy this state of denial, their souls are still actively communicating with God—rejecting everything He tries to say to them. We can’t silence or deaden our souls—we can only push their activity and existence out of our conscious awareness. This is why we see people denying the reality of their souls altogether. Other people deny the existence of God, even though their souls are constantly communicating with Him, rejecting everything He says. When we play these games, we are not “selling our souls to the devil,” but we are willfully defying God, and for that we will suffer serious consequences.
No one gets to Hell by accident. Every soul there has willfully rejected the illumination of the Holy Spirit, whether they allowed their physical brains to be conscious of it or not. God is clear that unless we reverentially submit to Jesus and accept His atonement for all of our rebellion—past, present and future—we will end up in Hell. Yet once Jesus cancels our debt of sin, then no amount of future rebellion can undo His atoning work. It is impossible for a Christian to revert to an unsaved state. Christians cannot give their souls over to Satan.
It’s important that we keep Satan’s power in perspective. Satan has already been judged by God. Satan will eventually end up in the same mess that human rebels will: being eternally tortured by God in a hideous place called Hell. Once there, Satan will hardly be in the position to torture anyone else. This means that the classic picture we see of a horned devil standing over some writhing soul with a pitchfork in one hand and an evil grin on his face is totally misleading. Satan is not the ruler of Hell. Satan has no authority over human souls, and he certainly never gets to own them like some piece of property. Everything God creates belongs to God. While He lets Satan torment us at times, and even allows him to temporarily possess our physical bodies, Satan can never purchase us in any way. It is God who determines our eternal fate, and it is God who seals us for Heaven or else condemns us to Hell.
Some foolish people try and offer their souls to Satan in exchange for some earthly perk. Such an offer is meaningless, since our souls are really the property of God. This is like my trying to sell you a house that belongs to someone else. What I really want is for you to give me a bunch of money, but it’s impossible for me to hold up my end of the deal because I don’t own the merchandise I am trying to sell. So also, when we try to give our souls to Satan, he knows our offer is meaningless because God won’t ever give him ownership of human souls. No matter what we say, we will always belong to God. Yet when we try to play such games, Satan does delight in our willingness to embrace rebellion and he will try to give us the illusion that our deal is a permanent thing which we can never get out of. He will try to convince us that it is possible for us to make some kind of eternal contract with him which will then destine us to Hell forever. This is total rubbish.
As long as we are on this earth, God is giving us constant opportunities to come to Him. No matter what foolish prayers we’ve prayed to Satan and how many games we’ve played with demons, we can break away from it all just by embracing Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It is very important that we understand that Satan has no independent authority. Like us, Satan has no power outside of God’s will. He can’t do anything without God’s permission, and he certainly can’t claim eternal rights to a human soul while that human is still alive on this earth. As long as God is inviting us to come to Him, we can do so. Yet even God will not continue to call us forever. The day comes when He does finally give up on us, yet as long as our souls desperately want to submit to Him, that day has not yet arrived. Any desire to obey God comes from God, and when He gives up on us, He stops giving us such desires. We become immersed in evil and our souls find God and everything associated with His righteousness to be utterly repulsive. As long as we are bothered by our sinful state, there is still hope for us. If we are wise, we will seize that hope before it is too late, cling to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and rush to obey every conviction the Holy Spirit gives us.
The Benefits of Worshiping Satan
Making a Deal with the Devil