Thursday, March 22, 2012

Authority to Trample

Another excerpt from my notes on the Feast of Trumpets:

Christ ruined satan when He died on the cross.  Trumpets shouts that Christ has been crowned, and the prince of this world has been driven out (John 12:31). The war is over.  All things are under His feet (Eph. 1:22).  The devil has no hold in Him (John 14:30).  When Jesus approaches, He causes even a legion of demons to tremble and beg for mercy (Mark 5:6-10).  The coronation of Trumpets means that, in Christ, we have “authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19).  The word “trample” doesn’t imply a struggle for the upper hand.  It means rolling like tanks over our enemy.  It means we can drive out spirits with a word (Matt. 8:16). 
This doesn’t mean satan can’t operate and carry out attacks.  After Germany surrendered in 1945, Allied forces moving through Europe encountered pockets of German soldiers who hadn’t heard the war was over.  Battles ensued, just as they had before VE Day, and casualties resulted from these encounters.  In the same way, the devil still attacks and inflicts spiritual casualties, even though the war is over.  We need to be alert and ready to resist enemy forces (1 Peter 5:8-9).  But as we resist, it is crucial to maintain perspective.  Satan is a defeated foe, not a foe we have to defeat.  If, in our minds, the cross was anything less than VE Day (“Victory over the Enemy”), then no amount of prayer, fasting, rebuking the devil, or spiritual warfare will make a difference.  It isn't our moral purity, dedication to prayer, or anything else about us that defeats the enemy.  It is the blood of the Lamb and the word of the cross (Rev. 12:11).  If we don’t meet the enemy on the ground of the cross, we may be giving him grounds to continually provoke us because we have given him no reason to retreat (Matt. 4:11; James 4:7).  Either we trust that Christ finished the enemy or we trust in the things we do to finish what Christ could not.   
            Some final considerations: Jesus had to give satan permission to enter Judas (John 13:26, 27).  God allowed a messenger of satan to torment Paul (2 Cor. 12:7-9).  Satan needed permission from God each time he struck Job (Job 1:12, 2:6).  We often think of satan as a rebel God is unable to control.  While rebellion is certainly one of satan’s core motives, he has no power to act outside the limits God sets for him.  When the enemy attacks we can rest in the knowledge that what satan intends for harm, God intends for good (Gen. 50:20).  Romans 8:28 says, “But we know that for those loving God, for those called according to His purpose, everything is working together for good.”  Nothing satan can do falls outside of the word “everything” in Romans 8:28.  Even his worst, most depraved activities can further God’s purposes.  Consider the cross: God didn’t stop the murder of His own Son.  He allowed the devil to do what he wanted.  Our enemy was so blinded by his desire to destroy Jesus he didn’t even realize the death of Christ would destroy him (1 John 3:8; 1 Cor. 2:8).  The cross shows how absolute God’s authority is.  We tend to think God is in control only if He stops suffering and injustice.  But God doesn’t have to control everything to be in control.  His power is most perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).  Trumpets preaches that Christ crucified is “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24).   

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