Robert Griffith | 8 April 2023
Robert Griffith
8 April 2023

 

1 John 4:4  “… greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”

Why don’t we believe that statement? Why don’t we live in the shadow of that truth? Why are so many Christians preoccupied with the devil and his work in the world? Why is there so much speculation and infatuation with end times conspiracies, the ‘mark of the beast’ and the powers of darkness?  Have we not read the Bible?  Do we not know what Jesus has done through His life, death and resurrection? Why do we re-arm the devil every day through our flawed theology and faithless fear of this defeated foe? The answer is simple: that’s how Satan wants us to live – focussed on him and not Jesus.

Whenever you encounter evil, behind the evil that you see, feel or experience, there is someone, a spirit being, a person, someone whom the Bible calls Satan, the resister, or the Devil, the slanderer, or the accuser. There are a number of Scriptural pictures or descriptions of Satan. He’s a dragon, a serpent, a snake, a murderer, a liar, the father of lies and a thief.

When we open the door to Satan through our unbelief and fear, he comes into our lives with three main objectives: to steal, to kill and to destroy. You need to bear that in mind. The devil never comes to do good. He may seem to offer you a lot that’s good, but behind all the smoke and mirrors, he only has one ultimate purpose: to steal, kill and destroy. The main ways Satan works is to deceive, to tempt, to hinder and to accuse.

Now, all of the above is true – it is all clearly stated in the Bible. But there is one truth which rises above all of that and the only truth we ever really need to know:

Jesus has already defeated Satan on our behalf.

The victory over Satan is not going to be won, it has been won! It was won when Jesus died, on the cross, was buried, and rose again from the dead. That was Satan’s total, permanent, irreversible defeat. Now, he does everything that he can to keep us from understanding this truth. He cannot change the truth, but he tries really hard to keep us from knowing it, understanding it, and applying it.

For a clear and powerful statement of this victory of Jesus over Satan, there is no better place to turn than to Paul’s letter to the Colossians:

Colossians 2:13-15  “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

This is something amazing that God the Father did through Jesus Christ, the Son. In the cross of Christ, He disarmed all Satan’s forces that he uses against us. He stripped them of their weapons, he defeated them, and He did not merely defeat them, He triumphed over them. He made a public spectacle of them. You see, a triumph in those days was not just the winning of a victory. It was the public demonstration and celebration of a victory that had already been won. It was the public humiliation of defeated enemies as they were led in chains as captives behind the triumphal conqueror’s chariot! At the cross, Jesus defeated Satan and all his evil forces; stripped them of their weapons against us and put them to shame publicly.

Brothers and sisters, we cannot understand how Jesus did this unless we understand what took place at the cross. At the cross Jesus deprived Satan of his basic weapon against us: guilt. That’s why he accuses. He wants to prove us guilty. Well at the cross, Jesus dealt with the basis of our guilt in two ways.

Firstly, through the cross, all our sins are forgiven. So, Jesus dealt with the past. He provided forgiveness of past sins. Secondly, at the cross, God cancelled the written code, that’s the law, with its regulations, which stood against us. It stood opposed to us. We could never get to God because of the law and its requirements – because we could never meet those requirements. But at the cross, God took that away. The law was nailed to the cross.

When Jesus died on our behalf, as our representative, He paid the final penalty for all who have broken the law – death. And once the final penalty has been paid, then we are no longer subject to the requirements of the law. So, we now come to God on the basis of our faith in the death of Jesus and our faith is credited to us as righteousness.Now let’s look at the result of what Jesus did.

Colossians 1:12-14  “Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Notice it all centres around our redemption through the cross. Through that redemption we have forgiveness of sins; we are no longer required to observe the law in order to achieve righteousness, and so, by that, God has done two things. He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness, and He has brought us into the kingdom of light. Notice that darkness has dominion. It’s a real kingdom. Never pretend that Satan doesn’t have power. He does have power. His power initially came from God, the only source of power. But in his wickedness and rebellion, he has turned it against God and against God’s people.

Through the death of Jesus on the cross, we’ve been delivered from that whole evil dominion of darkness, the kingdom of Satan, and we have been brought into the kingdom of light, the Kingdom of heaven, the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of God’s son, Jesus Christ.

There has been a total transition – effected through the cross. We are no longer under Satan’s dominion. Rather, we’re in a kingdom which has dominion over Satan because the Scripture says that God’s kingdom rules over all. Once we have been delivered from this dominion of darkness, and once we’ve become citizens of the Kingdom of God, then God sends us forth as His representatives, as His army, to administer the victory of Jesus over Satan.

Jesus won the victory, but God leaves it to us, through faith, to understand the victory that Jesus has won and then to administer it, to live it, as we exercise authority over Satan. We have been translated, delivered from the dominion of darkness.  We are in the Kingdom of God and have the authority of God’s Kingdom vested in us.

Look at this account of something that happened while Jesus was still on earth in His earthly ministry and then I will explain the application.

Luke 10:17  “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Notice the demons are part of the representatives of the unseen kingdom of darkness. They’re some of the persons without bodies. The disciples discovered to their intense joy that when they went as the representatives of Jesus, sent by him, with His authority, then those unseen persons, those evil spirits without bodies, had to obey them when they commanded them in the name of Jesus.

Luke 10:18  “He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

This was perhaps the first time that on a major scale, the victory of Jesus was administered by His followers, and it was like Satan falling from heaven like lightning. But then Jesus goes on to say this, and this is vitally important:

Luke 10:19   “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

Grasp those words. When we become the representatives of God’s Kingdom, then God, through Jesus, gives us authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, the representatives of Satan’s evil kingdom, and to overcome all the power of the enemy.

Notice, we have total authority. The total victory of Jesus and the total authority of Jesus is now vested in us as His followers, His disciples, the representatives of His kingdom. And then, lest we should be afraid, and I’m sure fear could often enter our hearts as we view this conflict, Jesus closes with those words, “Nothing will harm you.”

We now go forth in the Name of Jesus to administer Jesus’ victory and Jesus’ authority over all the representatives of Satan’s kingdom. We live in the reality of Jesus’ victory over sin, Satan and death. So, let me ask this question?

Why are so many believers living in fear?

I encounter them every day – in person and online. Christians who supposedly know the truth and yet they live in fear. They get caught up in Satan’s deception that he has authority over us when he doesn’t.  They turn a wonderful passage in Ephesians 6 about the armour of God which is ours in Christ – into ritualistic witchcraft. Yes, that’s what I said. Hundreds of thousands of believers completely miss the truth of Ephesians 6 and turn Paul’s words into a prayer they must pray to be safe from the enemy.

I know people who ‘put on the armour of God’ in prayer every morning and on those days when they forget or don’t have time, if something goes wrong that day, they are convinced it was because they failed to put on the armour of God.  What utter nonsense!  What complete heresy!  What a clever deception from Satan.

When Paul says to ‘put on’ the armour of God he is not talking about a ritualistic prayer by which we ‘arm ourselves’ against Satan. Paul is simply telling us to adjust our thinking and our beliefs to match the truth of what Jesus has already done for us and given to us.

We are already protected by the armour of God – all the time – we are never without the armour of God. The armour of God is just a wonderful pictorial representation of Jesus Christ in us.

Jesus Christ is already our strength, our truth, our righteousness, our peace, our faith, our salvation and the Word of God. We don’t have to claim that or pray that – we just have to believe that and live in that reality!

Paul would turn over in his grave to see what we have done to his wonderful words in Ephesians 6:11-17.  He would be mortified to think that any student of the New Testament would ever think that they are not already protected by the full armour of God 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – regardless of what they pray!  The same man who wrote, “It’s no longer I who lives, but Christ Who lives in me,” is simply stating the same truth in this passage and telling us that the ‘armour of God’ is actually Jesus Christ and Christ is in us, the hope of glory!!

If you want to focus on Ephesians 6 each day as you rise to greet the day, that’s great! All you need to do is thank God for that reality. Thank God for the indwelling Spirit of Jesus Christ in you and for the protection He gives you every moment of every day – in spite of your ritualistic prayers!

1 John 4:4  “… greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”

When we truly believe that statement and live in the victory of the cross, we will have no interest in ends times conspiracies, the mark of the beast, the antichrist or when and how Jesus will come again. Our only interest and greatest passion will be fulfilling the mission of Christ, by the empowering presence of His Spirit as we watch Satan and his minions flee in the presence of the King of Kings.