Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Victory Over Evil Forces

Victory Over Evil Forces

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your
flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all
trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was
against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the
way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and
powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in
it. Col. 2:13-15.

The reason the followers of Christ have victory over oppressive forces
in this cosmic battle is because they comprehend and appreciate
something of what was accomplished for them at the cross.

The victory described in Colossians 2:13-15 arises from God’s
willingness and ability to forgive, out of the infinite resources of
His grace, the condemnation which was against us. This preemptive
forgiveness (charizomai in the Greek) undercuts the accusations of
Satan that God is unwilling or unable to forgive. When Christ was
nailed to the cross, He bore our condemnation as the representative of
the entire race, and thus placed great power in the hands of every
person to deal with the oppressive spiritual powers with which we
battle every day.

It is important to remember that our redemption and our victory was
planned ahead of time, even though the manifestation of that plan is
in the here and now:

“… ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as]
silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition
from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb
without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before
the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for
you,  1 Peter 1:18-20.

God is the source of all power. The extent to which He can manifest
that power for us, giving us victory over evil forces, is determined
by our belief in how extensive that power is. How comprehensive was
the victory at the cross?

While it is appropriate to read Romans 8:26-39 in the context of our
response to what God has done for the saints who love God, it is also
right to read it with an eye to the implications for all men:

 How many has God called according to His purpose?  Titus 2:11
 In Christ, how many are predestined to be saved?  2 Peter 3:9
 How many have been justified unto life in Him?  Romans 5:18

Now, justification by grace; that is on God's part. Justification by
His blood, that is on God's part and he has done that for every single
human being on his part. He has done all for justification to every
human being; his grace is free to every human being, and his blood is
the channel through which it flows to every human being, and "we thus
judge that if one died for all, then all died," so that is of God's
grace. But while he has done all this for every human being, yet it
avails only for those who personally apprehend it by their own faith,
who lay hold of the justification provided. It is freely provided for
every one, but by faith in him, the individual lays hold of that
justification for himself. Then the provision which has been made
freely for all avails for him as an individual and when, by faith, he
has made a personal application to his own case of the justification
which comes from God through the blood of Christ, then as a
consequence, as the inevitable result, Christ's works appear in him.
Therefore, for the person in Jesus Christ, it does not make any
difference which method of justification is mentioned. If he is
justified by grace, as of course he must be, all these other
consequences follow. If he is justified by grace, then he is justified
through the blood, by his own individual faith, and the works will
appear; and you may touch this at any point. If he is really justified
by works of faith, when you say he is justified by works, you imply
all the rest before it. This ought to do away with our discussion as
to whether we are justified by faith or by works, or whether it is by
grace, or how it is. One who is truly justified personally, must be
justified by every one of them. And when one who is truly justified,
manifests one of the four, the other three are all implied. (WW
Prescott, February 6, 1895 N/A, GCB 44.5)

Was our corporate humanity glorified in Christ? Matthew 3:17

And the word that was spoken to Jesus at the Jordan, "This is My
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," embraces humanity. God spoke
to Jesus as our representative. With all our sins and weaknesses, we
are not cast aside as worthless. "He hath made us accepted in the
Beloved." Ephesians 1:6. The glory that rested upon Christ is a pledge
of the love of God for us. DA 113.

For whom was the Son delivered up? Isaiah 53:5,6,11
Who are freely given all things?  Ephesians 4:8, Hebrews 5:1, Romans 8:32
Who in the world have the love of God inseparably bound to them? John 3:16

At the Saviour's baptism, Satan was among the witnesses. He saw the
Father's glory overshadowing His Son. He heard the voice of Jehovah
testifying to the divinity of Jesus. Ever since Adam's sin, the human
race had been cut off from direct communion with God; the intercourse
between heaven and earth had been through Christ; but now that Jesus
had come "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Romans 8:3), the Father
Himself spoke. He had before communicated with humanity through
Christ; now He communicated with humanity in Christ. Satan had hoped
that God's abhorrence of evil would bring an eternal separation
between heaven and earth. But now it was manifest that the connection
between God and man had been restored.  DA 116.

What assurance this should give those who claim the blessings God has given!

The omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit is the defense of every
contrite soul. Not one that in penitence and faith has claimed His
protection will Christ permit to pass under the enemy's power. The
Saviour is by the side of His tempted and tried ones. With Him there
can be no such thing as failure, loss, impossibility, or defeat; we
can do all things through Him who strengthens us. When temptations and
trials come, do not wait to adjust all the difficulties, but look to
Jesus, your helper.  DA 490-493.
-Todd Guthrie