Q. I recently read on your site that you believe that sin is what gives Satan access to us and that we need to confess often to keep him at bay. My question, then, is what gave Satan access to Jesus? I know our Lord was sinless, so are you saying that sin in general gives Satan access to each of us (i.e. Adam’s original sin), or are you saying that our individual sin gives him access to us, or both?
A. These are two different issues. Jesus was without sin, so His confrontation with Satan cannot be compared with ours. Satan’s attempt to corrupt Him was legitimate, but the way Jesus responded was designed to be a model for our instruction. Although at any moment He could have sent Satan packing, He chose to respond only in the authority of God’s word, because it’s something we can all do (providing we know God’s word). This is what Paul was thinking of when he said we have weapons with divine power to demolish strongholds and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
Now to your second point. This world is a sinful place, and is currently under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19). That makes anyone who lives here subject to the effects of its fallen nature. As believers, our failure to confess our sins can put us out of fellowship with God and deprive us of protection from these things. Since we’re fallen creatures, we may not even know we have unconfessed sins, and therefore might not be able to totally avoid hardship. That’s why Jesus said we’d have trouble in this world but to take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
A good practice to guard against exposure to Satan is to pray David’s prayer from Psalm 19:12-14