..And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power… And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
So the practical question is then: how does the victory Jesus won at Calvary, over the devil, work out in the day to day life of the believer? Since we are complete in Christ, what is the answer to the Devil’s temptations and attacks on the believer?
C14.1 No authority
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil
AS we have seen previously the Devil and all his cohorts were completely and thoroughly defeated at Calvary. They have been completely disarmed and disgraced by Christ’s death.
Whilst the devil is stronger than any man or woman, he is not stronger than the Lord Jesus. We can not in our own strength defeat Satan, but our victory is secured in Christ Jesus our Lord, who gives us the victory, I Cor.15:57; Heb.2:14-15.
The second thing is that, as we saw in chapter 1, we have been translated into the kingdom of Christ from the devil’s kingdom. We are therefore no longer under the authority of the devil, He has no authority over us! So the devil cannot force us to do anything. If we do fall in temptation it is our fault alone, and ours alone. However if we do fall there is forgiveness and restoration on repentance, I Jn.2:1-2.
C14.2 Pattern of temptation
Wherefore let him that standeth take heed lest he fall. There has no temptation taken you but such is common to man, But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able. But will with the temptation also make a way of escape that ye may be able to bear it.
Whilst he is defeated, he is allowed to tempted and try God’s people. But in a very limited way. In this passage in Corinthians Paul starts the chapter with examples from Israel’s history in the wilderness. They serve as examples and warnings to us. We are to take heed lest we fall. Israel was tempted and they fell into idolatry, fornication and so on.
In these verses we see the following
C14.2a Common temptation
Firstly, we note that when we are tempted we are not tempted with something that is unknown to the human condition. It is a tactic of the devil to get people to think that no one has been tempted or suffered like they have been! It is a trick to try and make the person in question isolated in their thinking, and thinking like that will lead to pride.
Let us remember that Jesus was tempted in all points like we are yet without sin, Heb.2:18; 4:15. This He allowed so that He could be identified with us even in our temptations. We have previously made refence to the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness. However we must not think that was the only time He was tempted. Are we tempted day by day? So was He. Are we tempted when friends turn against us? So was He. Are we tempted to go our own way? So was He. And so it goes on. The only difference is that He did not sin.
C14.2b Limited Temptation
Every one of us has a limit as to what we can take. Beyond that we will break. That point is different for each individual. God knows what our breaking point is, and has guaranteed that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our limit.
Another way of looking at this is as follows. When we are tempted it means that God has judged that we are able to bear it and therefore overcome it. Therefore we are to call on the Lord for the grace to overcome, instead of languishing in self-pity or giving in.
C14.2c Way of escape
Jesus showed us the way, but more than that it was also so that He could give succor in time of need. Because He was tempted as we are He understands and gives us comfort and help in time of need. Are we tempted? The way to overcome is to run to Jesus, who has been this way before and cast all our cares on Him. He then will come to us care for us an give grace in time of need.
14.3 Victory in temptation
In the Corinthian letter Paul says that God will provide the way of escape with the temptation. Whatever that specific way is in a particular temptation will depend on the particular circumstances at the time. However there are some general principles in scripture that show us the way of escape.
Be sober be vigilant, because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Submit yourselves therefore to God . Resist the devil and he will flee from you, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you
C14.3a Be sober & vigilant
Sober, that is not to be intoxicated with the world so that we allow the roaring devil to take us unawares. Be Vigilant is to be watchful, to be spiritually alert at all times. The devil is likened to a roaring lion so we are to be on the alert at all times.
Although the devil is a roaring lion he can only devour whom he MAY, that is he is very limited as to what he can do.
Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress gives a wonderful picture of this. Christian on his pilgrimage at one point saw two lions in the way that he was going. He was afraid and feared death. The path before him led to a lodge, a place where he was to spend and the night.
The porter cried to Christian and told him that the lions were chained and were there for a trial of faith. As long as he kept to the middle of the path no harm would come to Christian. As Christian walked the path he found that the lions could only reach the up to the path but not to go onto it. As long as Christian kept to the centre, following the Lord’s instructions, he was safe despite the roarings and threats.
Satan roars, threatens and comes near but he is on a chain. As long as we obey the Lord and keep our eyes on Him we shall be safe in Him.
This ties in with Col.2:6. As ye received Christ Jesus so walk in Him. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus, walk in the path we started on. Do not look to the right or left keep to the narrow way and nothing shall hurt us.
The moment we take our eyes off Christ and put them on Vain Philosophy, Legalism or Mysticism then we open ourselves to being the prey of the enemy.
C14.3b Submit yourselves to God
It is important to note that we have no authority or power to overcome the devil in ourselves. Our victory is in Christ alone. Therefore, we have to be wholly dependent on Him alone. So we need to submit ourselves to God. The word submit has the meaning of being under obedience. That is not to think of any scheme or method our selves, or to follow other men’s ways in order to overcome but to simply be obedient to God.
C14.3c Resist the devil
Resist is to stand opposed. Jesus never once gave the devil any ground on which he could have entrapped the Son of God. Jesus opposed the devil, he resisted him.
One example is when Peter declared that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, Mtt.16:16-17, with Jesus stating that this was a revelation from the Father in heaven. He then revealed that He was to go to Jerusalem and go to the cross. Peter spoke up and rebuked the Lord trying to stop Him.
In reply Jesus said “ Get thee behind me Satan thou art an offence (=stumbling block ) to Me..” The lesson here is that Jesus would not allow even His closest disciples to do the devil’s work. Jesus opposed the devil at all times.
C14.3d Draw near to God
The word means to approach. Before Calvary we could not approach God but now the way has been made clear.
The law made nothing perfect but the bringing in of a better hope did by the which we draw (=approach) nigh to God Heb.7:19.
And the promise in James is that if we approach God He will draw near to us.
It is in God alone that we have the victory and security and not in any thing we do or have done. Let us therefore rest in Him and wholly trust Him.
Earth, rejoice, our Lord is King!
Sons of men, His praises sing;
Sing ye in triumphant strains,
Jesus our Messiah reigns!
Power is all to Jesus given,
Lord of hell, and earth, and heaven,
Every knee to him shall bow;
Satan hear, and tremble now!
Roaring lion, own his power:
Us thou never can devour,
Pluck’d we are out of thy teeth,
Sav’d by Christ from hell and death.
Tho’ thou bruise us in His heel,
Sorer vengeance shalt thou feel:
Christ, the woman’s conqu’ring seed,
Christ in us shalt bruise thy head.
Tho’ the floods lift up their voice,
Calm we hear Thy children’s noise:
Horribly they rage in vain,
God is mightier than man.
Jesus greater we proclaim,
Him in us, than he in them:
Thee their god He overpowers;
Thou art theirs, and Christ is ours.
Strong in Christ we thee defy,
Dare thee all thy force to try,
Work in them, the slaves of sin,
Stir up thy hell within.
All thy hosts to battle bring,
Shouts in us a stronger King,
Lifts our hearts and voices high
Hark, the morning stars reply!
Angels and archangels join,
All triumphantly combine,
All in Jesu’s praise agree,
Carrying on his victory.
Though the sons of night blaspheme,
More there are with us than them;
God with us, we cannot fear;
Fear, ye fiends, for Christ is here!
Lo! to faith’s enlightened sight,
All the mountain flames with light,
Hell is nigh, but God is nigher,
Circling us with hosts of fire.
Our Messias is come down,
Points us to the victor’s crown,
Bids us take our seats above,
More than conqu’rors in His love.
Yes the future work is done,
Christ the Saviour reigns alone,
Forces Satan to submit,
Bruises him beneath our feet.
We the evil angels doom,
Antedate the joys to come,
See the dear Redeemers face,
Sav’d already sav’d by grace.