Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The War that is Already Won

Acts 10:38  "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him."

In today's post we aim to detail the war that has been waged, is waging and is already won by Jesus against the Devil.  In past studies we have looked at Jesus' battles against Satan in His incarnation and earthly ministry that led to Jesus' decisive victory over the Devil in the cross and resurrection. In today's study we want to discover what the Book of Acts, the Epistles and Revelation has to say about the fact that the War between Jesus and the Devil has already been won.  In today's post we will explore the Devil's demise and activities in light of Jesus decisive victory under the following three headings:

1. Devil defeated at Calvary by Jesus
2. Devil's devices can be disarmed by the grace from Jesus
3. Destiny of the Devil to be destroyed by Jesus

Devil defeated at Calvary by Jesus
The Acts, Epistles and Revelation serve to explain all that took place at the cross and empty tomb. In as much Jesus' central aim of coming to earth the first time was to die for sins and to pay the price of redemption to the Father, He also came to defeat the Devil.  Four key New Testament passages bear out this truth. Acts 10:38 states - "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him."  Colossians 2:15 plainly says - "When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him." The writer of Hebrews reminds us in Hebrews 2:14 - "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil". Then we see the Apostle John note in 1 John 3:8 -  "the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of Godappeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil." It is no wonder the Devil is bent on attacking the people of God, for they represent the One Who soundly defeated him at Calvary.  Which leads us to the second idea associated with the fact that in Jesus Christ, the war is already won against the Devil, namely...

The Devil's devices can be disarmed by grace from Jesus
Sometimes a snake is never more dangerous than when he has been defeated, maimed and mortally wounded.  As children my sister and I loved playing outside in our yard.  One day as we were playing, a giant poisonous snake was coiled up in our yard.  We yelled at the top of our lungs for our dad to come out and rescue us from the dangerous serpent.  Our father came out and quickly grabbed a shovel.  For a couple of minutes my father and that old snake faced one another.  The hissing and quick movements of the snake were indeed intimidating.  Suddenly my father struck the snake with the shovel and then proceeded to take his boot and drive the shovel several times into the back of the snake.  The snake was no doubt dead - (or so we thought).  In a last ditch effort the snake lunged for my father's boot and buried its fangs into the hard, steel toe.  My dad then beheaded the creature, ending its tyranny of fear over my sister and me.  

The Devil, the Serpent of old, is now very dangerous and full of venom. Many wonder why Jesus did not do away with Satan at the cross.  Though the purposes of God may not always be easy to understand, one thing is clear - in order to be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), we have to experience the same things Jesus did while on this earth.  His victory by fact is the basis for our ongoing experience of victory. The Devil certainly has his devices ready to unleash on God's people:  footholds (Eph 4:27); schemes (Eph 6:11); conceit (1 Tim 3:6); snares (1 Tim 3:7; 2 Tim 2:26); temptations (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8); persecution (Revelation 2:10) and of course deception (Rev 12:9). 

Despite all of these devices, thanks be to God that Jesus Christ, by His Spirit, sends forth graces whereby we as His people can battle and overcome just as He did.  We know that it is by the blood of the Lamb, the Word of God and the gifting of faith that we can overcome the evil one. (1 John 5:4-5; Rev 12:11). 

So in seeing how Jesus Christ defeated the Devil at Calvary and how in Jesus we can now obtain victory, let us consider the third heading that tells us that Jesus' war with the Devil is already won.

Destiny of the Devil to be destroyed by Jesus
The final book of the Bible spells out very clearly what the Devil's destiny will be.  As we scan God's final revealed book, we can note a three step downward spiral of Satan that describes his destiny.  First we can note that the Devil will experience a final demotion from the heavenly realms as the Prince of the power of the air to the earth.  Revelation 12:12 states - "For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.” 

Following that demotion, which will occur in the midway point of the final seven year tribulation period, Jesus will return to earth at the end.  After destroying the Anti-Christ and his forces, Jesus will establish His throne in Jerusalem to rule over the earth for 1,000 years.  As that is taking place, the Devil's second downward spiral will take place - a dungeon.  Revelation 20:2 tells us - "And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years." 

After the 1,000 years comes to a near end, the Devil will be released from his dungeon, his pit, and be permitted to lead astray all the people born during Jesus' 1,000 year reign. (please compare Isaiah 65:20) It will be at that point that Jesus puts the proverbial nail in Satan's coffin and thus marking the third downward spiral in the Devil's destiny, namely his destruction.  Revelation 20:10 records - "And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and thefalse prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."  Finally that old serpent, the dragon, will be writhing in eternal agony. Never again will he be able to dig his fangs into the hearts of people.  The defeat at Calvary and the graces of Jesus Christ plainly tell us that the destiny of the Devil is destruction.  Thus dear friend, these are the truths that tell us that in Jesus Christ, the war is already won!

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