Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection—His total defeat of Satan—we have been delivered out of the power of darkness. Jesus has given us authority over all of Satan’s forces, and we have been sent forth to administer His victory. Since we are in the kingdom of God, we have the authority of God vested in us.
It’s good to be with you again, sharing with you on this week’s vitally important theme: How to Overcome Evil.
In my two previous talks I’ve laid the foundation for an accurate, scriptural understanding of the nature of evil. First of all, I said evil is not something, it is someone. Lay hold of that. Just don’t let it slip from your mind. From now on just keep it in mind. Whenever you confront evil, behind the evil that you see or 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.
And then I gave you a number of scriptural pictures or descriptions of Satan. He’s the dragon, the serpent, or the snake, the murderer, the liar, the father of lies, the thief.
And then I told you his three objectives when he comes into our lives. Jesus said he only comes to steal, to kill, to destroy. You need to bear that in mind. The devil never comes to do you good. He may represent that he’s come that way, for that purpose, he may seem to offer you a lot that’s good, but behind all that, he only has one ultimate purpose: to steal, to kill, to destroy.
And then I spoke about some of the main ways that Satan works. He deceives, he tempts, he hinders, he accuses.
Today I’m going to share with you one basic, scriptural fact which alone makes it possible for us to overcome evil. The fact is this, that 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, shed His blood on the cross, was buried, and rose again from the dead. That was Satan’s total, permanent, irreversible defeat. And he does everything now that he can to keep us from understanding this fact. He cannot change the fact but he does everything he can to keep us from knowing it, understanding it, and applying it.
For a statement of this victory of Jesus over Satan, I’m going to turn to Colossians, chapter 2, verses 13 through 15.
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. [Now notice the next verse] And having disarmed the powers and authorities, [that’s Satan’s whole kingdom, all his evil powers] having disarmed them, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (NIV)
So, actually this is something that God the Father did through Jesus Christ, the Son. At the cross He disarmed all Satan’s forces that he uses against us. He stripped them of their weapons, he defeated them, and He not merely defeated them, but He triumphed over them. He made a public spectacle of them. You see, a triumph is not just the winning of a victory. It’s the public demonstration and celebration of a victory that has already been won. It’s the demonstration that defeated enemies, led in chains as captives behind the triumphal conquerors chariot and at the cross Jesus defeated Satan and all his evil forces, stripped them of their weapons against us, and put them to a public shame. He triumphed over them. He made a public spectacle of them.
Now we cannot understand how Jesus did this unless we see what took place at the cross. At the cross Jesus deprived Satan of his basic weapon against us. You remember I said that was 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. First of all, through the cross all our sins can be 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, for it was 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 out of the way. 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 we’ve paid the final penalty, then we are no longer subject to the requirements of the law.
So Jesus made it possible for us to be set free totally from guilt. First of all, our past sins can be completely forgiven. Secondly, we are no longer required to observe the law as a means to achieving righteousness with God. Instead we 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. We go back to Colossians, chapter 1, verses 12 through 14 where Paul says this:
“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.” (NIV)
Notice it all centers 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 in his rebellion, he has turned it and used it against God and against God’s people. But, 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 God, the Kingdom of God’s son, Jesus Christ. There’s been a total transition. We have to see that, effected through the cross. We’ve been delivered from the kingdom of darkness and we’ve been carried over into the kingdom of light. We are no longer under Satan’s dominion. Rather, we’re in a kingdom which has dominion over Satan for 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 exercise authority over Satan. We have been translated, delivered from the dominion of darkness. We’re in the Kingdom of God. We have the authority of God’s Kingdom vested in us.
Listen to something that happened while Jesus was still on earth in His earthly ministry and then we’ll see the application. In Luke, chapter 10, verses 17 through 19, we read this:
“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. So they said:] ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. [I understand that 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 of vital importance.] I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.’” (NIV)
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.” Let me give that statement again. “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Now that was not just said for the benefit of those disciples. It’s a pattern for each subsequent generation of Believers. We go forth in the Name of Jesus to administer Jesus’ victory and Jesus’ authority over all the representatives of Satan’s kingdom.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing on the spiritual weapons God has provided for our spiritual warfare.