“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10).
The devil continues to think that he can outwit God, yet he can only act as the Lord permits. All of his battles on earth, starting with Adam and concluding with the last war, are his endeavours to prove God wrong. He will boast, lie and cheat to get man to believe that he is invincible, but Scripture declares that he is already a defeated foe waiting for his final judgement.
His encounter with the first Adam
Satan must have thought he had won when he successfully tempted Adam and Eve to doubt God’s word, especially as he heard Him pronounce judgement upon them. His joy was short lived, for the first prophecy regarding his eternal defeat was proclaimed. “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15). This defeat would come the moment the Messiah was sent to earth to save man from the curse. Until then he would be permitted to be involved in human history and try to draw men away from God. From Genesis to Revelation we have a record of his attempts to keep sinners from the only source of salvation.
The above text is not only a curse upon Satan, but it is also a promise of new life through the total dominion of God’s own Son. It must be seen alongside John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” Satan would not be merely stunned, but absolutely crushed by the Saviour. Whatever victory he thought he gained as Christ died on the Cross was short lived, for the resurrection spelt utter devastation for him. It is at that moment that he was struck a decisive blow and was forever deposed.
His encounter with the second Adam
Since the day of the curse Satan had used every possible means to destroy the plan of God. He knew that the Messiah had to come through natural birth, so right up until Herod’s murder of the innocents, he has sought to weaken, hinder or destroy the lineage of the Saviour. Yet regardless of all of this, Christ came to earth exactly as all the prophecies described, and He came for one all-encompassing reason, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
Satan had to defeat Him, but he waited until Jesus appeared to be at His weakest. Luke 4:1-13 describes the attempts of the devil to defeat God’s plan forever. If Christ could overcome Satan when He was physically weakened through hunger, then surely we see that no foe can defeat Him! Our Saviour has no equal on the battlefield. Every one of his temptations was met with a resounding response from the written word of God proclaimed by the Living Word of God. As usual Satan underestimated the Lord, and in fact condemns himself when he quoted Psalm 91:11-12 at the last temptation. “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” He failed to realise what the very next verse stated regarding his defeat: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet” (:13). Therefore there is much more in “Get thee behind me Satan” than maybe we first realised (Luke 4:8).
His encounter with the sons of Adam
1 Peter 5:8 warns us to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Because of this we need to arm ourselves against all he may throw at us. “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:11-18).
Whose power is made available to us to overcome Satan? Certainly not that of the first Adam! It is Jesus’ power, as our opening text clearly states, that gives us all the protection we need from whatever tricks and schemes the devil uses to draw us away from God. Jesus defeated Satan, so our strength lies within His power. By faith we can “Resist the devil, and he will flee from” us (James 4:7).
If the devil has ever bothered to read the book of Revelation, and we are sure he is familiar with it, then he will know where he is heading for. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). Those who believe in Christ are on the winning side because through Him we are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37).