Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Victory of Jesus over the devil

"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the work of the devil." (1 John 3:8.) But how did Jesus defeat the devil and destroy his works? Surely not by deceiving the devil as the ransom to Satan theory suggests (see my blog article, "Has Steve Chakle lost the message of Jesus?"). Christ defeated the devil by his holy life, atoning death and resurrection from the dead.
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In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus stood as the new Israel in the wilderness, "Out of Egypt I called my Son" (Matthew 2:15), "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be temped by the devil." (Matthew 4:1.) Each time, Jesus resisted the devil's suggestions and insinuations. He repelled him by wielding the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, "it is written" (Matthew 4:4, 7 & 10.) While Israel failed in the wilderness period, Jesus as the "true Israel" repelled the devil and remained untainted by sin. Throughout his life in the flesh, Jesus "was in all points temped as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15.) Near the end of his earthly life, as he faced the cross, Christ could say, "the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in me." (John 14:30.) If Jesus had sinned, the devil would have defeated him and rendered his saving work impossible. A Saviour who himself needs saving from sin is no Saviour at all. Jesus triumphed over Satan by living a life of sinless perfection. The first Adam fell, the last Adam stood firm.
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The cross of Christ was the devil's death knell. In one sense, Jesus could detect the devil's hand behind the events surrounding his death. As he was betrayed and arrested he said, "this is your hour and the power of darkness." (Luke 22:53.) Paul identifies the devil and his emissaries as "principalities...powers...the rulers of the darkness of this age" (Ephesians 6:12.) But beyond the devils' evil schemes to extinguish the Light of the world, lay God's saving purposes, "But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." (Matthew 26:56.) The devil who engineered the trial and condemnation of Jesus was himself judged and condemned on the cross, "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out." (John 12:31.)
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Christ triumphed over Satan, "the accuser of the brethren" because he died in the place of the people of God. The context of the key verse, Colossians 2:15 is that of those who are dead in sin being forgiven their trespasses [ie law breaking] (Col 2:13). Because of sin, the law is "against us" because it condemns us (Romans 3:19). Christ deals with the requirements of the law in his death (Col 2:14). That is how he disarms the principalities and powers, triumphing over them (Col 2:15). Satan can no longer say to God, "You must condemn Guy Davies as a law breaker - your justice demands his death!" In the words of the old hymn, "I can my fierce accuser face and tell him thou [Christ] hast died." It is through his propitiatory death that Christ destroys him who has the power of death, that is the devil (Hebrews 2:14. & 17) .
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See also Romans 8:31-34. "Who can bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.Who is he who condemns?" It is on the basis of Christ's being delivered up for us all, his resurrection and intercession that we are "more than conquerors through him that loved us". Nothing, not even the malignant principalities and powers (Rom 8:38) can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus the Lord. (Rom 8:39).

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Amen, brother!