You've seen this picture hundreds of times, and maybe you've even heard sermons preached on this eternal battle between good and evil.
There's just one problem.
That's not what the Bible describes.
According to the Bible, that battle is already over. The devil doesn't have to fight for dominion on earth because God already gave it to him! This world we live in belongs to the devil. Don't believe me? Look it up! The Bible is very clear on this; the devil has authority over all the earth.
 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,
 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.
(Luke 4:6 ESV)
It doesn't get much clearer than that, does it? The world is ru, at least for now. We know how the story ends but for now, the bad guys are in charge.
So God has allowed the devil to have dominion over the earth, so the epic battle can't be over the earth, so it must be about our souls, right? The devil is fighting to steal our souls from God.
Nope, sorry, not so. Not only does the devil have dominion over this world, he already has our souls as well. We are born into this world as slaves to sin, condemned to death and damnation, not because of what we do, but because of what we are.
This is important so I'm going to say this again.
We are condemned not for what we do, but by what we are.
Let that sink in for a few minutes because it is really, really important that you get this right because everything else follows from it.
First, let's go to the book to make sure I'm not just making stuff up.
We all know John 3:16, which says that God loves us so much that He sent his Son to die for us, so we would not perish. We also know that we are saved not through works, but by faith through the Grace of God, but I think we fail to take that part seriously enough.
 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
(John 3:17-19 ESV)
Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save it because the world and all of those in it were already condemned. We are heirs of corruption, sons and daughters of Adam's sin. It isn't that we commit sin that condemns us; it's that we are sinners. Even when we do good, when we do our best, our best is not good enough. In fact, it's not even close.
 We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 ESV)
I don't want to get needlessly gross here, but Isaiah felt strongly enough about this to emphasize it, and I'm just going to follow his lead. The words that are translated as 'polluted garmen't more literally translate as 'menstrual rags.' Now remember, we're talking about righteous deeds, not sins here. Even our most righteous works appear to God as filthy, bloody rags.
No matter how good a life we lead, we are still imperfect sinners, and that imperfection makes us as ugly to God as the filthiest thing you can think of. That's a hard truth to deal with, but it confirms what I said earlier. We're condemned not by what we do, but for what we are.
So the world belongs to the devil, as do we in our natural state, so what is there to fight about?
well, God in His Mercy has given us a way to escape this trap, to throw off our birthright of condemnation and to be reborn as new creatures, creatures who are no longer slaves to sin but servants and friends of God. We have a way out and everything the devil does has one, clear purpose, and that is to prevent us from taking that way out. If he can convince us that he has the power to make us lose that way out, then he deceives us into wasting our energy fighting battles that have already been won for us.
When God calls us to Him, we are freed from the accuser because no matter what he can accuse us of, the penalty has already been paid for us.
Now don't get me wrong; we're still flesh. We still sin, and we still struggle with temptations of that flesh, but there is no supernatural agency required to create that temptation; it's hardwired into us. We fight against that fleshly way of living and struggle to live as spiritual beings, as children of God. That is our battle and it takes every bit of strength we have, and all the help we can get from the Holy Spirit.
In closing, there's something I want to bring up that's a little bit controversial. Not heretical or anything like that, but not mainstream thought. There's an idea being tossed around by some Biblical scholars about how Heaven is arranged, and how the Millennial reign will look. In this idea, our position and status during the Millennium and in Heaven will be determined by our works here on earth. There are a lot of verses that can be interpreted to support this view, and it raises an interesting question. We know that since our works have nothing to do with our salvation, the devil can't make us do anything that would cause us to lose what God has given us.
But what if the devil could cause us to miss out on potential heavenly rewards by influencing our decisions and actions?
That question raises some interesting possibilities that are worth considering. Again, this is speculative, and nowhere near as developed an idea as the rest of what I've written about.