Victory in Christ

God's Word clearly teaches that each one of us can triumph over Satan and his snares. However, even those who understand and believe this sometimes err greatly in their conception of the means by which the victory will be accomplished.

Let us notice some ways in which it will not be accomplished. We will not overcome Satan and evil by carnal, fleshly, or material means. We are indeed engaged in a war, but not one with physical/material weapons (II Corinthians 10:3–4). Our struggle is a spiritual one, originating with invisible, yet very real, forces (Ephesians 6:12). As Christian “soldiers” we are commanded to “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might” (6:10). Be strong is in the passive voice (literally, “be made strong”), implying submission to the avenues of spiritual strength the Lord has provided. Our strength does not come through some direct profusion of Holy Spirit power enabling us to resist temptation, understand His written Word, and be victorious in our personal spiritual struggles. Rather, the Lord provides us with all of the “weapons” and resources we need through His inspired Word (Ephesians 6:13–17; II Tim. 3:16–17).

Selfishness causes casualties among rank and file Christian soldiers, resulting in simple neglect of spiritual duty on the one hand and/or rebellion toward His authority on the other. This self-will often manifests itself by opposing those who faithfully preach God's Word. Many saints are not as wise or as spiritually mature as were those sinners in Thessalonica who became saints. When they heard the Gospel, they “…accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God…” (I Thessalonians 2:13). Tragically, many who would like to be known as “soldiers of the cross” accept the Word of God as if it were the words of men, despising its authority if it in any way reproves them. Often such seek to silence the messengers who faithfully deliver that message of Truth.

Note that spiritual strength is “in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:10), as opposed to “outside” the Lord. In the Lord or its equivalent appears several times in the New Testament. This phrase indicates fellowship with Christ, attained by coming into the spiritual sphere where the Lord and salvation are. It is equal to being in the church/kingdom/body of Christ and to being saved, redeemed by the blood of Christ. Outside of Christ and His church, men deprive themselves of spiritual strength sufficient for their struggles with Satan. Regardless of how sincere, pious, or morally good one outside of Christ may be, salvation and spiritual strength are found only in Christ. Our labor avails “in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58). Two passages tell us plainly that baptism in water is the point at which the sinner enters into Christ (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27).

Further, our hope of victory is not in the devices and inventions of men, but “in the Lord.” “…The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh… (II Corinthians 10:4), either in the sense of physical military weapons or the philosophies, reasonings, and gimmicks of men, “…for our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, …but against the spiritual hosts of wickedness… (Ephesians 6:12). If we overcome Satan, it will be through reliance upon the Lord's way, not the ways of men.

Dub McClish