Friday, November 09, 2012

Victory Over Evil Forces

Victory Over Evil Forces

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

We read the verse for this week’s lesson and we have to ask ourselves several questions.  One of them is what does Paul means by “in all these things?”  To answer this question we have to go to the context of the passage.  Romans 8 is telling us that because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross Sin no longer has to defeat us.  We are not reading the whole of chapter 8, for lack of space and time. Yes, we will suffer and we will be afflicted.  None of that means that God does not love us.  All is been given for us to succeed as Christians.  We just have to receive it.  Paul seems to be telling us that we have no need to fear or doubt.  God loves us and He is in control.  We just have to trust Him. 

Why would Paul emphasize this? Because, in chapter 7 Paul spoke about how Sin worked internally.  When we are living by faith, Sin is still within us, striving for the mastery and control.  And, this battle continues and intensifies for as long as we live and grow in faith.  It will not stop until we die, or are translated.  So, Paul is saying that Sin attacks us from within and without, and that our greatest struggle is inside; sin after all is iniquity – a bent toward self. Paul is saying that in spite of all that we should never doubt that God loves us.  This is perhaps better said in Romans 8: 35 – 39,

Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Rom 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Rom 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now, The Word Victory, from the title, means the overcoming of an enemy or antagonist.  So, the one that defeats or overcomes an enemy or opponent is called a victor.  This word victor comes from the Latin word vincere which means to win or to conquer – the word used in verse 37.  What do we conquer? Sin’s mastery over us.  We are no longer captive or enslaved by Sin, whether external or internal, through Christ who loved us.  Here our Victory is tied to God’s love for us.  So, just as His love is certain and constant, so is our victory in Christ. 

Let us read a couple of quoted of Ellen White in this subject,

“Jesus gained the victory through submission and faith in God, and by the apostle He says to us, ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.’ James 4:7, 8. We cannot save ourselves from the tempter’s power; he has conquered humanity, and when we try to stand in our own strength, we shall become a prey to his devices; but ‘the name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.’ Prov. 18:10. Satan trembles and flees before the weakest soul who finds refuge in that mighty name.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 130, 131.
“The omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit is the defense of every contrite soul. Not one that in penitence and faith has claimed His pro­tection will Christ permit to pass under the enemy’s power. The Saviour is by the side of His tempted and tried ones. With Him there can be no such thing as failure, loss, impossibility, or defeat; we can do all things through Him who strengthens us. When temptations and trials come, do not wait to adjust all the difficulties, but look to Jesus, your helper. Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 490, 493.

Now, what about victory over demons?  You will notice that Ellen White does not talk about victory in terms of casting out demons.  Not all victors in the faith will be called to do that.  The fact that we do not follow their prompting is victory in itself.  Casting out demons is powerful and given by God.  However Christ tells the disciples, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Ellen White elaborates on those whose names are written in heaven,

From age to age, all who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon written against their names in the books of Heaven, and in the closing work of Judgment their sins are blotted out, and they themselves are accounted worthy of eternal life.  {Volume 4, Spirit of Prophecy 309}

Included in this list are those mentioned in Hebrews 11 (This list is called “the hall of fame of the faithful.”)  Not one of the names of people mentioned there made the list because demons were subject to them.  They were there because they believed the promise of God, and it was counted to them as righteousness.  Their victory came from believing that God loved them.  And, they died believing the promise that had not been fulfilled.  They died with the hope that one day God would fulfill this promise and they would be there to enjoy it.  They died with the joy and certainty that their names were written in Heaven.  They died with the certainty of God’s love for them.  Do we have this certainty of God’s love for us?  Do we have the victory that is ours in Christ?