We can’t deny evil exists. It’s all around us.
That reality struck home when I saw the shoes. Piles of children’s shoes. I was visiting the infamous Nazi concentration camp known as Buchenwald. Over 250,000 people were cruelly imprisoned there, and conservative estimates put the death toll at 40-50,000 innocents. Seeing the ovens left little to the imagination, but it was the shoes of the countless children who died that hit me with the harsh reality of evil.
Unfortunately, evil is not something we just see in fiction. Evil is no illusion, and while it can certainly reside in the hearts of people, such evil is most clearly seen in the one who seeks to inspire it: Satan. The Book of Revelation shows us exactly who this Satan is, the one who seeks to harm us.
7 Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels also fought, 8 but he could not prevail, and there was no place for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was thrown out—the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world. He was thrown to earth, and his angels with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say, The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have now come, because the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been thrown down. 11 They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; for they did not love their lives to the point of death. 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you with great fury, because he knows his time is short. – Revelation 12:7-12, CSB
Satan may be powerful, but God is all-powerful. Satan is a created being with limitations. He is certainly no equal with God. And he is defeated. Throughout this passage, we’ve seen the defeat of Satan, and in verse 11, we see that believers have “conquered him.” We conquer him with two things:
• The blood of the Lamb. The basis of our victory over Satan is always focused on the cross, not our own strength. Jesus took all the things Satan could be justified in holding against us, and He removed them through His death. His blood covers our sins. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). “The blood of the Lamb” is proof that none other than God’s son, Messiah Jesus, has made atonement, once and for all, for our sins. Therefore, Jesus could rightly proclaim, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
• The word of our testimony. We overcome Satan through a lifestyle of faithfulness, a personal confession to the lordship of Christ. The genuineness of our faith is seen in our perseverance and commitment to Christ. This trust in the finished work of Christ is seen in that “they did not love their lives to the point of death.” Not even physical death moves the committed believer from trusting in the One who grants eternal life.
We do not have to bring about Satan’s defeat; we only have to stand in the victory we receive in Jesus. Looking ahead to the cross, Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out. As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself” (John 12:31-32). The victory is assured because after He died, Jesus walked out of a borrowed tomb physically alive! We can rejoice because the battle has already been won, and our redemption and relationship with the Victor is eternally secure. Satan can no longer falsely accuse us before the throne of God because we have a resurrected advocate: Jesus Christ.
“Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.” – Romans 8:33-34, CSB
Satan “knows his time is short,” but he stays after us. Because Christ sets us free from the bondage of our sin, and therefore, we no longer live in bondage to these attacks. Satan will attack, but we can resist him by daily lifting up Jesus in our lives and dying to the “old” self. No more darkness; no more bondage, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
How should these verses shape our lives each day?
This article is an excerpt from The Dark Side, a six-session study in the Fall 2017 Bible Studies for Life. Learn more about this ongoing curriculum and preview one month for free at biblestudiesforlife.com.
Order the small group version of this study by visiting lifeway.com/thedarkside.
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