The Battle Belongs to God.
By Drew Wilkins
March 31, 2018
Do you ever find it interesting that Scripture doesn’t really point us to consider the struggle against the devil to be primarily a fight between us and him? Instead, the greater story of the Bible continuously paints the battle as being between the devil and God. As we reach the focal point of the Easter season, it is worth considering Jesus’ resurrection not only in light of his relationship to us, but through the lens of his clash with the devil as well.
In “That He Might Destroy the Works of the Devil,” Martyn Lloyd-Jones engages this consideration in ways that do much to broaden the scope of what has been accomplished in the victory of Christ.
To begin with, though we are caught up in it, the battle ultimately belongs to God, and that means that it really isn’t our fight to win. Instead we have to recognize our role as being utterly dependent on a champion. The celebration of Easter is the celebration of our champion’s victory! Our place is not to add our own achievements to the glory roll, but to sing out loudly about his.
Secondly, in Christ’s defeat of the devil and freeing us from the oppressive reign of sin, we also are freed to live in the righteous reign of Christ’s. Lloyd-Jones references 2 Corinthians 5:19:
“In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself… we are reconciled to God, and the power of God takes over and delivers us from the devil and his cohorts and transfers us into the kingdom of God.” (Guthrie, 78)
Certainly we still find ourselves walking in our deeply worn habits of darkness, but now we are freed to step into the light and be led forward on his paths of righteousness!
Finally, and what I believe Lloyd-Jones most clearly draws out, is that in viewing Easter as the showdown between Jesus and the devil, beyond rejoicing in our own freedom, we are enabled to celebrate the toppling of the vile dictator under whom we once were oppressed!
“Here is one of the most wonderful things about the cross. Here is one of the most glorious reasons for glorying in the cross. Here Christ defeated our ultimate enemy, the devil, the one who originally brought man and the universe down. He was cast out, he was defeated. He has been put in chains. And finally, he is going to be completely and utterly destroyed. He will be cast into the lake of fire with the beasts and all the false prophets. And he will have no more power.” (Guthrie, pp. 78-79)
When God reconciles us to himself he is not only setting our hearts free, but he is also shattering the reign of evil itself, dismantling forever even the threat of re-oppression. Praise be to God!
Drew is a pastor working with the students and families of NPC, and heads up Stillwater, the high school and middle school ministry of our church. He lives in Dublin, Ohio, with his wife Lindsey and their four children Anna, Story, Cæd and Breck .
Drew's article is inspired by Martyn Lloyd Jones': "That He Might Destroy the Works of the Devil" from Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, Guthrie, N, 2009. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books.