First of all, there is not one example in the Bible of one “selling his soul to the Devil.” We shall see that people can be influenced, possessed, and blinded by the Devil, but the Devil does NOT have the power or authority from God (to Whom he must answer; see Job 1:6-12) to “make a bargain with a person in exchange for their soul.” The only passage I can think of that people may use to advance this idea is Mark 8:36-37, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (NKJV). But these verses say nothing about “making a bargain with the Devil” by giving him your soul in exchange for the world. In the context of this passage the Lord is actually referring to believers who are exhorted by the Lord to follow Him as disciples. He said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him DENY HIMSELF, TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME. For whoever desires to SAVE HIS LIFE SHALL LOSE IT, but whosoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (verses 34-35). Once we are saved, we have a choice to make; will we spend our life serving the Lord and His interests here on earth, or will we spend our time pursuing the things of the world (pleasures, fame, and fortune)? If we do waste our life trying to “gain the whole world” (or a “small part of it at best”), we will “lose our own life.” The word “soul” in the next two verses speak of our “life.” The Revised Version reads, “and forfeit his life” and thus it means that “our life will count for nothing” when we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to receive rewards for living a faithful life for Christ (see 1st Corinthians 3:5-15).  This reminds me of a plaque we have had on our wall for many years which says, “Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s does for Christ will last.”

Now let’s talk about the unbeliever. Though he can’t “make a bargain with the Devil,” he can surely be INFLUENCED by the Devil. The fact is all unbelievers ARE under his influence, as we see in Ephesians 2:1-2 where the apostle Paul reminds the saints of their life before they were saved: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this WORLD, according to the PRINCE of the power of the air, the SPIRIT who now works in the sons of disobedience.” The Devil is the “PRINCE of this world” (see John 12:31, KJV) and he uses the WORLD to allure them. He also knows that man has a SINFUL NATURE that wants to succumb to his temptations. We see that in verse 3, “Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the LUSTS OF OUR FLESH, fulfilling the DESIRES OF THE FLESH and of the mind, and we by nature children of wrath.” Of course, the believer still has “the flesh” in him (see Romans 7:18-20) and can fall under his influence too, but through Christ he can gain the victory over the Devil and live a life that is pleasing to the Lord (see Ephesians 6:10-18; 1st John 5:4-5). We saw that God had come in by His marvelous grace and they (the saints at Ephesus) were “made alive” (born again; see John 3:1-8), so we know that no matter how much a sinner may be influenced by the Devil there is still hope for them to come to Christ by faith and receive eternal life (John 3:14—16) and forgiveness (Acts 10:43 and 13:38-39).

The unbeliever can even be POSSESSED by the Devil or his demons which would mean “being under his complete CONTROL” (see Mark 5:1-5 for a graphic example of this). Yet here too there is hope, for in Mark 6:8 the Lord Jesus came upon the scene and told the demon, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit” and the man was then in control of his own life, for verse 15 tells us he was “sitting and clothed and in his right mind.” He had no doubt put his faith in Christ for he then “begged Him that he might be with Him” (verse 18), yet Jesus told him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you” (verse 19). The Devil wants to BLIND the unbeliever to the love and grace of God (see 2nd Corinthians 4:3-4) but God’s grace can come in and open their blinds eyes as we see in verses 5-6: “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” God loves the sinner and His desire is to see them saved, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all” (1st Timothy 2:3-5). Is my reader saved?  (DO)  (516.1)