Scriptural Insights from Biblical Overlooks, Pt. 7
Study Guide, October 15, 2023
Pastor Clay Olsen
As we continue our journey, pulling over and checking out some Biblical Overlooks, this one causes us to do a major reality check concerning where we live, what we face, and how we are to then deal with it all. To get a better picture of what we are talking about, let’s identify these pictures. What are we looking at here? Our Milky Way Galaxy….Our Earth…North America…our state of North Carolina…and our very own Emerald Isle. But now think about them again and add this to those images. Eph 6:10-12- “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” NASU
From the Galaxies to the Earth…from the countries to the cities…from the towns to the seas, everywhere you look you are looking at a Battlefield. We have all been born onto a battlefield. The only place of peace is Heaven itself and the soon coming New Heavens and New Earth. Until that time Eph. 6:10 -12 is our reality. And even though the battles are being waged through flesh and blood, it truly is the ruling powers and the spiritual forces of wickedness pushing and instigating and directing the battles. These forces of wickedness are actively waring against God and God’s people from the heavenly places to every other place in this world. Even the false religions of this world have their source from these world powers and spiritual forces.
Understand this: Because there is only one God, the one Triune God of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, there is only one source that is the Way, the Truth, and the Life…The Lord Jesus Christ. Which means that since there is only one God, one Savior, and one salvation – through repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ, that means that every other belief system…every religious system that contradicts or denies the revelation of Jesus Christ is from another source…from another power.
What or Who is that other power? 2 Cor 4:1-4- “Therefore, since God in His mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this. If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” NLT
Understand this: There are only two powers ruling over this world. One is the true God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Creator and only Redeemer of mankind. And the other is the Devil, who is the ‘god’…little ‘g’ for ‘false god’, who, nevertheless, still rules over everyone who has not been Born Again into a new spiritual-life-relationship with Jesus Christ. Which means that everyone on Earth, everyone that you see, everyone in any position of authority or rule or position of power the world over, is either one of two identities: Every person on Earth is either a Convert of Christ’s or a Captive of the Devil. Note the Scriptures on this fact: 2 Tim 2:24-26- “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” NKJV
What are the implications of this reality? One is that every unconverted person that has not yet escaped the snare of Satan is still being held captive by him. They are not only a prisoner of sin itself…they are still a prisoner of Satan himself. And a second implication is that if a person has not escaped the snare of the devil, not only are they still being held captive by the devil, but they are also being held captive by him to do his will. How shocking is that?
What is Satan’s will for the people of this world? In John 10:10 Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” NASU This is Satan’s will for the people of earth… ‘to steal and kill and destroy’. We see it clearly in the religions of violence and death that he has originated throughout history…like the human sacrifice and death religions of Baal and Molech and Muhammad. People the world over are being shocked once more at how the religion of Muhammad could spawn such brutality and the vicious murder of fellow human beings like we have been witnessing in the attacks in the Middle East by Hamas and Isis and Al Qaeda and others. Throughout history Satan has deceived people through a false religion that he gave to them into believing that murdering certain others was actually doing the will of God…or we should say ‘their god’. Oh, they are doing the will of ‘their god’ alright. They just don’t realize who that ‘god’ is…the ‘god of this world’…Satan. Remember, there are only two gods of this world…one is the only true God, the Lord Jesus Christ…the other is the false ‘god’, the enemy of God and the deceiver of this world – Satan. And therefore, again, everyone is either a converted child of God or an unconverted captive of the devil.
Now then, other religions that Satan has developed that are not outright ‘death cults’, with teachings that lead to the outright killing of others who do not submit, are those that, nevertheless, still carry out his will, in that they both steal from God’s revelations and commandments through their false teachings and ungodly philosophies, and they thus destroy people’s lives, both for now and for eternity in eternal separation from the one True God. But no matter what the name of the religion may be, or no matter what the ideals that a social or political philosophy might embrace, or no matter what the beliefs may be of those who claim to hold to no particular spiritual position, they all…each and every one, is still being held captive by the devil and are still doing the will of the devil their entire lives.
Some might claim they are simply choosing to live life their own way and are simply doing their own will. But a ‘claim’ does not constitute a ‘reality’. Any ‘claim’ that is not based upon a Biblical reality is simply a ‘deception’. But in order to not be deceived, you have to acquire Biblical discernment. And remember, as C.S. Lewis pointed out: “Discernment is not just knowing the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Discernment is knowing the difference between what is right and what ‘seems right’.” The Proverbs warns us about the deception and the dangers of what ‘seems right’, but is not right at all. Prov 14:12- “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”NASU
So, again, we are to clearly understand that every deception results in destruction. And ‘destruction’ is exactly what Satan’s will is for every unconverted person, who is still being held captive by him to do his will, regardless of if they realize it and regardless of whatever they may claim.
Remember, Jesus even gave an example to us all of the deceptiveness and destructiveness of only acquiring riches in this world, but without being rich toward God, or acquiring a right relationship with God. You recall the account: Luke 12:19-21- “And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” NASU Jesus stated that reality again in Mark 8:35-36 – “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” NKJV
Your ‘soul’ is more valuable than all the riches of this world combined. You are more valuable than all the wealth of the Earth combined. Souls are what Satan is after…he is after the destruction of the soul. Again, Satan, the god of this world, loves to help people become rich in this world only, this temporal life, as long as they do not become rich toward God…as long as he can then leave their soul in destruction throughout eternity.
All right, but now when a person turns their life over to God in repentance and becomes born again through trusting in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, does Satan now just leave them alone? Does he give up seeking to steal or destroy anything in their life now that they are no longer his captive? 1 Peter 5:8-9- “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.” NLT
Once Satan has lost a soul that has escaped the snare of his captivity because they were rescued by God’s grace through their faith in their Savior Jesus, his work against that converted soul does not cease. Satan can no longer keep a Christian from becoming converted…so his work is to do all he can to keep him or her from becoming committed…from becoming committed to living their life under the Lordship of Christ…from becoming committed to learning and living out the commandments of Christ…from becoming committed to sharing the Gospel of Christ and living by the Golden rule of Christ…from becoming committed to seeking to please God in the words they say and the works they do. That is what Satan’s plan is for your life and mine, since we now belong to God. He has lost us through our salvation in Jesus Christ…but he will still try to ruin us through keeping us from our sanctification in following Jesus Christ day by day.
But here is what we are to know and are now to do about Satan’s plans for our life. We are to know that because of the triumph of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, although Satan is still a ‘foe’, he is now a ‘defeated foe’! Col 2:15- “In this way, He (Jesus) disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by His victory over them on the cross.” NLT
As Dr. Neil Anderson pointed out in our study we went through this Summer: “A radical transformation took place at the cross and in the resurrection that changed the nature of spiritual conflicts forever. First, Jesus’ death and resurrection triumphed over and disarmed the rulers and authorities of darkness. Jesus proclaimed, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matt. 28:18) Because of the cross, Satan is a defeated foe, and he has no authority over those who are alive together with Christ and seated with Him in the heavenly places. (Eph.2:5,6) Affirming the truth of Christ’s victory and Satan’s defeat is the primary step toward successfully standing against the enemy’s attempts to intimidate you.” 1
Yes, Satan is still a roaring lion prowling about seeking believers to devour, but when it comes to dealing with God’s children, he no longer has any ‘teeth’! Satan has been defanged as well as defeated! He has been defeated, defanged, and disarmed by our Lord Jesus! Jesus has disarmed Satan as far as his dealing with God’s children! He has no authority over your life, so don’t give him any! In fact, because of the authority of Jesus in and over your life, when Satan and his cohorts seek to mess with you by accusing you, or by tempting you, or by deceiving you, or by discouraging you, or by depressing you, or by stressing you, or by leading you away from the truths of the Bible and away from doing the will of God…still he must now, as a defeated and disarmed enemy of God…he must now abide by one particular law because of Christ’s triumph over him. And that law is this: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:7-8 NASU
When you get next to the Shepherd, the wolf has to flee! That is the reality that Satan, as a defeated foe, has to abide by in relation to his dealing with any of God’s children! And that’s why we have to stay near our Lord Jesus, for Satan is not fleeing because of us…he is fleeing because of Jesus, Who is with us and we with Him! Again, that’s why the crucial first step in our victories over Satan and experiencing our freedoms in Christ is always this: ‘Submit therefore to God!’ Our victories over the world, the flesh, and the devil always starts with our surrender to God…a day-by-day surrender…a submission to the will of God and the words of God. The power of our resistance against the devil lies in the expression of our submission to our Lord and Savior. Remember Jesus told the disciples, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) On our own we are no match against the schemes of the devil. But when we submit to Christ, deny ourselves, and take up our cross, and act upon God’s truths, we can not only experience our freedoms in Christ, but also experience our victories over the world, the flesh, and the devil!
There is more to explore, or to look over in this Biblical Overlook, so we’ll pull over next time and look into these important matters further.
- Neil T. Anderson, The Bondage Breaker, p. 35