IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: BEFORE THE FINAL DECIMATION OF EVIL WE ARE VICTORIOUS
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”
There is hardly anything more obvious than the fact that evil is present in the universe. It projects its nagging, prehensile tentacles into every level of human existence. We may debate over the origin of evil, but only the person victimized with a superficial optimism will debate over its reality. Evil is with us as a stark, grim, and colossal reality.
The Bible affirms the reality of evil in glaring terms. It symbolically pictures it in the work of a serpent which comes to inject a discord into the beautiful, harmonious symphony of life in a garden. It sees it in nagging tares disrupting the orderly growth of stately wheat. It sees it in a ruthless mob hanging the world’s most precious character on a cross between two thieves. The Bible is crystal clear in its perception of evil.
But we need not stop with the glaring examples of the Bible to establish the reality of evil; we need only to look out into the wide arena of everyday life. We have seen evil in tragic lust and inordinate selfishness. We have seen it in high places where men are willing to sacrifice truth on the altars of their self-interest. We have seen it in imperialistic nations trampling over other nations with the iron feet of oppression. We have seen it clothed in the garments of calamitous wars which left battlefields painted with blood, filled nations with widows and orphans, and sent men home physically handicapped and psychologically wrecked. We have seen evil in all of its tragic dimensions.
So in a sense, the whole history of life is the history of a struggle between good and evil. There seems to be a tension at the very core of the universe. All the great religions have seen this tension at the center of life. Hinduism called it a conflict between illusion and reality; Zoroastrianism looked upon it as a tension between the god of light and the god of darkness; Platonism called it a conflict between spirit and matter; traditional Judaism and Christianity called it a conflict between God and Satan.5 Each of these religions recognized that in the midst of the upward climb of goodness there is the down pull of evil.
The Hebraic Christian tradition is clear, however, in affirming that in the long struggle between good and evil, good eventually emerges as the victor. Evil is ultimately doomed by the powerful, insurgent forces of good. Good Friday may occupy the throne for a day, but ultimately it must give way to the triumphant beat of the drums of Easter. A mythical Satan, through the work of a conniving serpent, may gain the allegiance of man for a period, but ultimately he must give way to the magnetic redemptive power of a humble servant on an uplifted cross. Evil may so shape events that Caesar will occupy a palace and Christ a cross, but one day that same Christ will rise up and split history into A.D. and B.C., so that even the life of Caesar must be dated by his name. Biblical religion recognized long ago what William Cullen Bryant came to see in the modern world: “Truth crushed to earth will rise again;” and what Carlyle came to see: “No lie can live forever.”
Our adversary the Devil may operate within the limits God has set, but that does not mean his threat to us is not real, nor does it mean there is no true battle going on between the forces of light and darkness. Nevertheless, because the Almighty is sovereign even over Satan, we can be assured that our enemy will not win in the end and that we have nothing to fear if we are on the Lord’s side.
The New Testament presents this truth in a number of ways, primarily when it tells us that Jesus delivered the fatal blow to the Devil on the cross (Col. 1:13–15).
Are you afraid of the Devil? He is a mighty foe, but we have been given the mighty sword of the Word of God that has “divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4). We wage war against Satan by praying for our enemies and recalling the promises and warnings of Scripture that keep us from evil. Let us always remember the authority we have in Christ by His Spirit and be comforted that Satan’s worst is no match for our Father’s love.
The very gates of hell continue to crumble as the gospel goes forth today, proving Matthew Henry’s comment that “Christ foresaw that the preaching of the gospel would wherever it went pull down Satan’s kingdom.” As the church we have been given the authority to “tread on serpents” (v. 19) — to participate in Jesus’ crushing of the Devil (Gen. 3:15) — and no matter what the Enemy throws at us, we the Lord’s people will triumph in the end.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
We are told in 2 Timothy 1:7 that we are not to be afraid, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Through His death and resurrection, Christ made it possible for us to be a part of His body: I am the body of Christ, and Satan has no power over me; I overcome evil with good (1 Corinthians 12:27; Romans 12:21). This is why believers should never allow evil to prevail in their lives. The Holy Spirit displays God’s power through each of us as a means of helping the entire body of Christ to overcome anything that the enemy tries to bring into the life of the believer.
The resurrection of Jesus was the grand reversal. What looked like defeat turned into triumph; what looked like degrading humiliation turned into decisive vindication; what looked like the end of a joy ride turned into the start of an adventure of happiness and holiness.
The first Easter changed the world. Evil had given its best shot, and goodness won. Death had given its best shot, and life won. Despair had given its best shot, and hope won. Let me explain.
When at Calvary evil had its foul hands around the neck of the one perfectly good human being and the Son of God from whom all good derives, evil brought all its dark powers and vile energy down upon Him to annihilate Him and to eliminate any chance good had for victory.
But from its Good Friday assault, the God-Man emerged triumphant at Easter, exposing the fraudulent illusion of evil’s might. Evil couldn’t keep Jesus down, and thus it can never keep down justice, compassion or goodness in any form.
But, skeptics ask, did Easter really break the back of evil and disable it? Did Easter really turn the tide in the war between darkness and light? One wonders when we still see so much violence, injustice and wrong.
Here is a picture that may help us grasp the way in which Easter changed the world: One day, into the home of a missionary couple stationed in the deep African jungle, an enormous snake – much longer than a man — slithered. Fearing for their lives, the couple ran out of the house.
A heroic, machete-wielding neighbor came to the rescue. He marched into the house and decapitated the snake with a mighty chop. When he stepped out, he told the missionaries that the reptile was taken care of, but warned them that they must wait a good while before reentering their home. That was because it takes some time for a dead snake to act dead, since a reptilian nervous system keeps firing signals for body movement after the body’s been separated from the head.
For the next several hours, the missionaries were forced to wait outside, queasy and sweating, while inside the snake thrashed about, flailing against walls and smashing furniture as its life ran out of it. The couple consoled themselves by holding on to the promise that its wrecking rampage would eventually come to an end.
Suddenly they saw they had a picture of what Jesus had accomplished at Easter. He entered where we live, decapitated evil and assured its ultimate destruction; but evil still thrashes about in its death throes doing damage.
“There is a name high over all,
In hell, and earth, and sky.
Angels and men before it fall,
And devils fear and fly.”
That one name is the name of Jesus, the Son of God, to whom all power is given. He is God, and can deliver any man from the dominion of evil, whatever form it may have assumed, and however long established the dominion may be.
God has a great plan for this world. His purpose is to achieve a world where all men will live together as brothers, and where every man recognizes the dignity and worth of all human personality. He is seeking at every moment of His existence to lift men from the bondage of some evil Egypt, carrying them through the wilderness of discipline, and finally to the promised land of personal and social integration. May it not be that this is entirely within the realm of possibility? I prefer to live by the faith that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever.
FOR MORE SPIRITUAL INSIGHT/PRAYER REQUESTS 🙏 PLEASE CONTACT US AT:
WEBSITES: www.rhemaproductionstv.com, www.rptvblog.com.