Spiritual Warfare: The Victory
Four weeks ago, we began our series titled “Spiritual Warfare”. In this series we have been looking at what the Bible says on the subject of spiritual warfare. We have looked in detail at many aspects of the topic. More specifically we have been talking about the four realities of Spiritual warfare that we are engaged in. So far, we have talked about…
We have talked about the battle plan and the war we are engaged in, and today I will talk about the outcome of our battle. Rarely, if ever, does a person, team, or country enter a competition or battle without having the end goal be victory. We do not enter sporting competitions, contests, and conflict with failure as the objective. No, we plan for victory. The problem is, in everyday life, temporal competitions, and battle we don’t always emerge victorious.
However, in spiritual warfare we are given a promise of victory against our opponent. We are guaranteed to have our hands raised and celebrate the victory that has been won. Isn’t that a great feeling? We all know the feeling of elation when we have fought hard for something and emerge victorious. We are in a spiritual battle, it is intense, it is ongoing, and it is exhausting but we must take solace in knowing the outcome for the believer is guaranteed victory. So why would we not fight with all we have?
The spiritual war battle was waged at the beginning of time. We see the roots of this battle found in Genesis 3 in the Garden of Eden. Satan has deceived Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, she convinces her husband to do the same. The sin has been committed, Satan believes he has won, but we see this is just the beginning of the war.
God curses the serpent, the devil above all creation because of his deceit and craftiness. In fact, chapter three begins by calling the serpent craftier that all other creatures and now he is cursed over all creatures. He is cursed to be on his belly and the text implies that he will now slither on the ground.
Genesis 3:14- 15
“So the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life.
I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
In this passage God speaks of enmity or hostility between the snake (Satan) and humanity. From a literal perspective some interpret this as a natural hostility between man and snakes (and I know that feeling because I have a great hatred towards snakes), but a long-established translation implies much more. From this point on the serpent (who we have come to know as Satan) will continually be at war with humanity. Satan knows that humans are created in the image of God and that He has a special care for us over any of his other creation. Satan will spend the remainder of his days trying to destroy and separate humanity from God. He succeeded initially in the garden. However, God speaks of an offspring (which could refer to humanity in general) but the interpretation more specifically points to One offspring in particular.
Verse 15 – This verse is what is called “Protoevangelium” or the first gospel account in the Bible. The Offspring refers to Jesus Christ, the Messiah. The Offspring of the woman is foretold as being at war with Satan and his “offspring” (his followers, the demons and evil powers). Biblical scholar and commentator Gordon Wenham writes, “(This curse) declares lifelong mutual hostility between mankind and the serpent race. Of more moment for interpretation is the question whether one side will eventually prove victorious in the battle, or whether the contest will be never-ending.” But as we all know this will be a war for the soul that Satan cannot win. A prophecy is spoken and proclaimed over the serpent.
He shall bruise/strike your head – Death, resurrection & redemption. Jesus delivers a fatal blow to Satan and his demonic kingdom because His will is the perfect sacrifice for humanity. All who believe will be redeemed and made right with the Father; thus, destroying the work of the devil.
You shall bruise/strike his heal – Satan will seemingly celebrate a short and temporary victory as the crucifixion unfolds. The death and rejection of Jesus will be painful and harsh and temporary… non-lethal (bruise his heal). From the offset it will appear Satan has won but in the end Jesus will be victorious.
So, this brings up a valid question, “If Satan knows he is defeated, then why does he continue to fight?” What is the purpose of fighting if you already know you have lost? I don’t think anyone in this room would knowingly or willingly enter a fight if they were guaranteed failure. I think this question could be answered relatively simply. The Bible is very clear about the nature of Satan, he is a master deceiver; deception and lying is what he does, and he is very good at it. I think the devil is so good at convincing others of his lies that even he believes his own lies.
I am sure we have all met someone who is so good at the art of lying that over time that person begins to believe the lies he or she tells. I have met individuals who have a harder time telling the truth than lies. I have had conversations with individuals where they tell me one thing, then a few days later tell me something contradictory and when I called them on it they are convinced they never said what they previously said. It is impossible to talk to someone, let alone trust someone like this. I feel sorry for these people because I know they have convinced themselves to believe their lies, and Satan is no different… Except I don’t feel sorry for him.
What does victory look like…
1 Corinthians 15:56, 57
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”
We are told in the Bible that all who believe in Jesus are children of God (1 John 3) so we are victorious, or we have overcome the world. The word “overcome” is derived from the Greek root word nike (ni-Kay) which means victorious. We are victorious in this life. The darkness of this world, Satan, and his demons cannot overtake us because we are victorious. The reason we are victorious is because Jesus Christ.
God’s love for us is so great that He has fought and continues to fight the battle for us, and He has declared us victorious. Through Jesus Christ we now have a new life, a life where we are fully alive, thriving and in need of nothing because the Spirit of God dwells in each of us. The old ways; the sinful, dark ungodly ways are gone, and we no longer need to live in the murky waters of the world. We now live in the fresh waters of Jesus Christ; living victoriously over sin, Satan and all his evil beings. We are thriving in the Kingdom of God and sharing the Good News that Jesus and His Kingdom has come. Satan and his minions will try and beat you down but take comfort and security in the understanding that nothing that comes your way can defeat you or hold you down in this life or the life to come because Jesus has defeated death and sin.
Romans 3:23 – 25
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God presented him as the mercy seat, by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed.”
The believer is justified – This is a judicial term that simply means to declare righteous. To be acquitted by God from all charges brought against a person because of his or her sins.
According to Romans 3:23 all of humanity is guilty before God of sin (Genesis 3:16) thus we are condemned. But, in verse 24 Paul writes that we are justified by God’s grace by the redemption of Jesus Christ through faith. Jesus took our place and received the punishment and condemnation that we all deserved by his death on the cross. Thus, our justification is by grace or unmerited favor through faith because it is not based on anything we did. When we are justified, we are able to stand free from condemnation before God. Satan will try to accuse us and try to convince God that we should be condemned but because of God’s grace we will not be condemned.
So, what does victory look like to Satan? It looks like hell.
Revelation 20:1 – 3, 7 -10 “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven holding the key to the abyss and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan,, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the abyss, closed it, and put a seal on it so that he would no longer deceive the nations until the thousand years were completed. After that, he must be released for a short time.
When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the sea. They came up across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the encampment of the saints, the beloved city. Then fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Victory in Jesus results in eternal condemnation for Satan. Jesus wins and because of Him, so do we.
As I conclude this series today, I think we need to continually remind ourselves about the fact that we are victorious in this battle because of our faith in Jesus. Satan or the world has no hold on us, and we are not slaves to him or to this world. We are victorious in Christ, so we need to live victorious lives. There is nothing the world can do to beat us down, take away our joy or cause us to live our lives in defeat because of evil and darkness. The world can and certainly will try it’s hardest to beat us down, Satan will work overtime to lead us down the paths of doubt and uncertainty, He will try to take away a joy that cannot be taken away from us, so let us start living as victorious Christians. Jesus has conquered Satan and the world! Let us acknowledge and believe that in turmoil of battle, pain, suffering, and persecution joy can be found. Let the truth that we serve a victorious king be our foundation. We live in a time of uncertainty, violence, godlessness, amoralism and turmoil and this should not affect our lives in the least. We have overcome evil and the world because Jesus has conquered the works or Satan, the world of darkness and evil. We belong to God and He is the victor ensuring that we can live victorious lives as well.
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Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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