Q. Are the wicked people of this world “captives” of the devil and sin (unfortunate victims of the devil) that only need to be set free ….. or sons of the devil who actively and willingly “want to carry out [their] father’s desire” (willing participants rather than victims) who “belong to their father the devil” and therefore as sons/daughters have a place in his (devil’s) family?
A. Some are deceived and deluded as Paul explained in 2 Cor. 4:3-4.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
This has happened because they have never questioned their beliefs but blindly accepted what they were taught.
Others have studied and should know better. Instead they’ve rebelled against God’s word and are actively seeking to undermine it. These are the ones the Lord calls children of the devil. An example was the Pharisees He argued with in John’s gospel (John 8:44). Today He would characterize many prominent theologians and teachers the same way.