1 Corinthians 2:7-8 (NKJV) 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
In 1 Peter 5:8-11 we find that Peter exhorts us to remember that we have an adversary. We must be sober, which does not mean sad but serious, and vigilant which means to watch out for danger. If we did not have an adversary, we would be living in a time of peace. However, we do have an adversary. There is nothing in the Bible that indicates the adversary has been removed. He is just as active as he has ever been. The Bible does teach that he is also a defeated adversary.
In the past I have pointed out that the war we must fight began in the Garden of Edan. God’s enemy, Satan, had taken God’s family from relationship with him. Satan’s goal has always been to control the character, destiny and eternal future of man. He seeks to do this because he hates God and he knows that nothing will hurt God more than the loss of his children. In Genesis 3:15, God declares war on the devil.
Because of how God created man and the role man was given, God cannot simply negate what has happened. He must work within the confines of he has already done, or he must destroy man and start again. God is love and he will not destroy his family. He assures Satan that someone is coming who will take away what he has won (Genesis 3:15.)
Jesus is the one that God sent. For thousands of years, God spoke words that foreshadowed Jesus and his ministry. He was doing exactly what he did when he said “let there be light” in Genesis 1. He was releasing something by his creative Word. Eventually that process bore fruit as Jesus. Jesus fought with the devil for 3 and ½ years until one day Satan found that Jesus was delivered into his hands. He did not know how or why but he knew it was so.
What did Jesus do in his work of redemption? First and foremost, he dealt with the sin of man. Sin separates man from God. After the fall of man in the Garden of Eden there was a separation between God and his family that neither of them could bridge.
Genesis 3:24 (NKJV) 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
Man could not come to God because God consumes sin. God could have dealings with man, but that is not why God created man. He created him for close fellowship. He created man to be his family. There is nothing that should be closer to us than our family. The flaming sword was not to keep man from dealing with God in the natural, it was to keep him from coming into the kind of fellowship with God that would cause his sin to put him in danger.
God could not come to man and simply eradicate what he had done because God is just and because God gave man free will. It was his right to choose and God honored that. Man could not pay for his sin because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23.) Every person pays that wage when he dies, but then it is too late. God cannot pay what he does not owe. Man sinned not God. The only solution was what God did. He became man and took on the penalty of man’s sin as a man.
Jesus did not die for his sin because he had no sin. Nevertheless, as a man he could die for ours. He was not raised from the dead for his justification because he needed no justification. He was raised for our justification. Everything he did, he did for us. He paid for your sin and my sin and gave us complete access to relationship with God once again.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Righteousness, or being right with God, gives a person the ability to stand in God’s presence in the spirit with no sense of guilt or condemnation. This is a powerful truth, but Jesus did one more thing.
Colossians 2:15 (NKJV) 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
Jesus not only paid for our sin, but he disarmed the adversary that introduced sin to the Garden in the first place. It goes on to say in Ephesians 4 that he lead captivity captive, and in Revelations the Bible tells us that Jesus now holds the keys to death and hell. No one needs to be confined for eternity ever again. Jesus holds the keys and he is the key.
Mathew 28:18 makes a bold statement.
Matthew 28:18 (NKJV) 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
He declares that there is no authority in earth higher than his authority. Man was given dominion over creation, but he lost it to Satan. Jesus, as a man has taken it back. Jesus as God has authority in heaven as well. There are no loopholes in what Jesus has done. There is no higher authority. No higher power. Nothing can stand against him. This must mean the war is over, right? No, because of verse 19.
Matthew 28:19 (NKJV) 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
What Matthew 28:18 tells us is that the war is won. Matthew 18:19 tells us it is not over. The enemy is a defeated foe. Every weapon that man cannot overcome has been taken from Satan. The weapon he has left is deception. Any person who receives Jesus as Lord and savior is guaranteed victory if they receive it by faith. The war is won but it is not over because God still wants more children for his family.
In American history there is an example of a war that was won but not over. In July of 1863 two battles were fought that effectively won the civil war. The more famous was the battle of Gettysburg. Just as significant was the battle of Vicksburg. Gettysburg removed any hope of victory for the Confederacy in the east. Vicksburg did the same in the west. The war was over in July of 1863 but went on until April of 1865. Why would people keep fighting for two more years?
The south kept fighting because they could no accept that they were defeated. The north kept fighting because they were unwilling to accept anything less the reunification of the United States and the removal of the blight of slavery from our country. The same principle applies to the war of the spirit.
Satan is a deceiver. He is so good at it that he has deceived himself. He still believes he can win and he will not stop if he can take some of God’s children with him. God will not stop until the full number of children is back in his family Only he knows what that number is. Jesus won the war, but we must continue to fight. Not for ourselves, although there are battles of faith we will fight. The real reason the war goes on is to win the lost children of God back to his family. We are the only ones who can fight that battle.