C.S. Lewis once said about demons, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”
I would add to that one more. To underestimate them.
As we’ve seen in chapter 2, Peter is writing against the false teachers. And in this passage, we see that one of their problems was that they refused to recognize authority, those who were greater and in higher positions than they were.
First and foremost that would refer to God. Secondly that would refer to the apostles and true leaders of the church. But there is a third category. Peter says,
Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. But these men blaspheme in matters do they not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. (10-12)
In talking about “celestial beings,” Peter seems to be referring to Satan and his demons. For even the good angels, who are stronger and more powerful than we are, refuse to slander or blaspheme them in front of God, though Satan and his demons will be judged by God someday.
Yet these false teachers apparently took Satan and his demons lightly. How? It’s not clear. But perhaps when they were accused of being used by Satan by their teaching, they replied, “Satan? He has no control over me. I’m free. I’m my own master. I spit on him.”
It’s a dangerous thing to take a being more powerful than you lightly. Peter and the apostles never did so. Peter told these Christians in his earlier letter to be alert, because Satan is like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8)
You don’t take roaring lions lightly. If you do, you will find yourselves consumed. And Peter warns them of this.
That’s why you shouldn’t play around with fortune tellers. Or horoscopes. Or Ouija boards. Or anything occultic.
That’s why you don’t get involved with anything to do with idols. The idols in themselves are nothing, But Paul tells us there are demons behind those idols. (I Corinthians 10:20)
On the flip side, remember that you don’t have to be afraid of Satan and his demons either. For John tells us,
The one who is in you (the Holy Spirit) is greater than the one who is in the world (Satan). (I John 4:4)
And as we saw in that passage in I Peter, we are told to resist Satan. (I Peter 5:9)
But don’t ever underestimate him or take him lightly. He is a powerful foe. More powerful than you.
So as Paul said,
Be strong in the Lord and in his might power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:10-11)
In short, take Satan seriously. Don’t fool around with him. Instead stand close to Jesus. Stand in his power and strength. Only by uniting yourself fully with Christ can you stand victorious over Satan.