THE POWER OF THE CROSS
THEY OVERCAME HIM BY THE BLOOD
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. (Rev. 12:11)
Spiritual warfare is big on the agenda of Christians today. Many “weird and wonderful” teachings abound about spiritual warfare – most of which originate from the Old Testament, as though the death of Jesus means nothing when it comes to the devil.
People do prayer walks and Jericho marches; we are taught to identify the principalities and powers that hold countries or regions in their power (the “Jezebel spirit” is a big one); we have to identify and pull down altars; we must “bind” the evil spirits and “take authority” over them; we must “loose” the power of God and we must “pray against” whatever it is that we must pray against!
Now all of this sounds very “spiritual”. It gives us something to do when we are discouraged by the situations and circumstances around us. We feel better when we have done “spiritual warfare”,even if nothing changes. We do it again and again in the hopes that it will eventually “take” and give us immunity – like a measles vaccine!
But where in the world do we see the apostles doing this in the New Testament? Even Jesus, who should have known better than anyone else how to do spiritual warfare, didn’t do all this stuff. After all, wasn’t the devil after Him? The most Jesus ever did was to send His disciples ahead of Him into the villages and towns where He was to go, not to do prayer walks and Jericho marches, but to proclaim and demonstrate the presence of the kingdom of God. It was the reality of God’s presence and power in the person of Jesus, not their ritualistic prayer efforts that sent the devil and his squatters packing.
Another glaring problem lies in the fact that we don’t understand how God works. When stuff happens in our lives, we blame the devil and go to “war” against him. We are “under attack”, so we declare, almost triumphantly as though being “under attack” somehow makes us important in Satan’s eyes. We must be a threat to him, or he wouldn’t “attack” us!
But that is not what the Bible says.
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined – and everyone underdoes discipline – then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all . . . They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. (Heb. 12: 7-8; 10)
Satan may be responsible for the hardship, but God uses it for our good. So why fight the devil? James and Peter said that we must resist the devil by submitting to God. (James 4: 7; 1 Pet. 5: 8-9)
As a matter of fact, the very hardships we go through, which we so eagerly attribute to the devil, are the evidence of our sonship and the means of God’s grace. If we understood that, would we so enthusiastically launch into spiritual warfare against Satan, using all the tactics we have learned from the self-proclaimed “generals” of spiritual warfare? By doing that, we are actually fighting, not the devil as we may think, but the very means God uses to purify our faith in Him.
Take Peter, for example. Jesus warned him of what was to come and even said that Satan would do it. He promised to pray for him – not that God would get him out of it but keep him through it because there were important lessons Peter had to learn.
Did you notice, for example that Jesus did not pray that God would stop the devil from sifting him. Instead He said, “I have prayed for you, that your faith will not fail.” Did you get that? Trials and hardships are not “attacks” from the devil, as though God were powerless to do anything about it. No! They are God’s means of strengthening our faith in Him.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. (! Pet. 1: 6-7)
How do we overcome the devil? Not by fighting him but by trusting in God. What guarantee do we have that we have the right to trust the Father?
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Rev. 12: 11)
It was the cross that made all the difference. Jesus dealt with our sin – the very reason for the devil’s power over us – and He exposed the devil as a liar and a thief. He is not Lord; Jesus is.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? (Rom. 8: 31-32)
The devil loves the limelight. He wants to be noticed and he’ll get attention by any means as long as he can take our attention away from Jesus. God gave us weapons – faith and truth, all directing our attention away from the devil and onto the One who gave us the victory by His blood.
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.
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