Whether unsaved people realize it or not, they are following Satan and are his subjects in the kingdom of darkness. They have his evil, selfish nature residing in their spiritually-dead spirits. Satan is actually their spiritual lord and father. That is why Jesus once said to some unsaved religious leaders: “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father” (John 8:44).
This is the bleak picture of the person who has not been born again! He is walking through life spiritually dead, full of Satan’s nature, heading for an inevitable physical death that he greatly fears; and whether he realizes it or not, he will one day experience the worst death of all, eternal death, as he is cast into the lake of fire.
It is extremely important that we understand that spiritual, physical, and eternal death are all manifestations of God’s wrath upon sinful humanity and that Satan has a part in all of it. God has permitted Satan to rule over the kingdom of darkness and over all those who “love the darkness” (John 3:19). In effect, God said to Satan, “You may hold in captivity through your power those who are not submitted to Me.” Satan became a subordinate instrument of God’s wrath upon human rebels. Because all have sinned, all are under Satan’s power, filled with his nature in their spirits and held captive to do his will (see 2 Tim. 2:26).