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“The Manifold Wisdom of God”
Christ, the Woman’s Seed, Triumphant — (Genesis 3:15)
Satan is an exceedingly subtle and crafty enemy. His power is such that you and I cannot begin even to imagine his strength and ability. Though we exercise the greatest caution, reason, and wisdom we can muster, the old serpent is too sly for us. We cannot match wits with the prince of darkness. And though we stand against him with all the united moral and spiritual strength of our renewed souls, we are no match for that seven-headed dragon with ten horns. Satan is a foe you do not want to face. Every time you do, you will come away from the conflict in shameful disgrace. Let us learn to follow our Savior’s example, of whom Jude tells us, “Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 9).
We are living in strange days. People everywhere, young and old, are dabbling in the occult. I know people laugh at witchcraft, sorcery, and demonism. And I know that religious people like to study about demonology and such things. But you will be wise to hear what I say. — Satan, demons, and the powers of darkness are real. And you are no match for the wiles of the devil. So leave those things alone!
The old serpent is too crafty for us. Apollyon is too powerful for us. But he is no match for the Lord our God. Christ Jesus came into the world that he might destroy, overturn, frustrate, and ruin the works of the devil. And he has done so!
Read four texts of Scripture that speak specifically of our blessed Savior’s triumph over Satan as our Redeemer. Genesis 3:15 is the first gospel message. It was preached by God himself. — “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.” In John 12:31 our blessed Savior speaks about his own death upon the cursed tree, by which he prevailed over the prince of darkness. — “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” In Revelation 20 (verses 1-10) God the Holy Ghost tells us that the purpose of Christ’s incarnation was for the overthrow of Satan in the accomplishment of redemption for his people. — “I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years…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.” And Revelation 12:7-10 declares that our salvation was accomplished by Christ’s overthrowing the dragon of hell, the old serpent, called the Devil. — “There was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”
These four texts of Holy Scripture show us that in order for Christ to accomplish our eternal salvation, our adversary, the Devil, had to be conquered. This is the reason for our Savior’s incarnation. — God the Son became one of us, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, a real man, that he might bring us to Glory by destroying the works of the devil. In order to save us the Lord Jesus Christ had to bring in everlasting righteousness for us by his perfect obedience to God as our Representative (Daniel 9:24; Romans 5:19)), redeem us from the curse of the law by his sin-atoning death upon the cursed tree (Galatians 3:13-14), and renew us by the power of his grace in regeneration, making us holy (Hebrews 12:14), new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17), and “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). And he had to deliver us from the power of Satan (Hebrews 2:10-16).
Satan Spoiled, Sinners Saved
Our great and gracious, all-wise God, in the work of redemption, has wondrously baffled Satan’s subtlety and power. Though Satan and the demons of hell are united in their purpose to frustrate God’s purpose to glorify himself in the salvation of his elect, our God, by infinite wisdom and sovereign power, forces those hellish creatures to serve the interests of his kingdom and glory. And he does this by the use of what would appear to be the most insignificant, weak, and contemptible means imaginable.
The triune God chose to encounter Satan in the weak and frail nature of man. Our Lord Jesus became a man that as a man he might destroy Satan. It is the woman’s Seed who conquered the fiend of hell. And he did so in the weak condition of manhood, without the aid of any supernatural agency. The man Christ Jesus defeated the prince of darkness.
Our Lord Jesus triumphed over Satan by his death upon the cross (Colossians 2:14-15). That which appeared to all the world to be the defeat, shame, and ignominy of Jesus of Nazareth, his execution as a common felon, was the very means he chose to destroy the power of Satan in this world. The blood of Christ, which Satan spilled by Roman whips, nails, and spears, is the chain in our Savior’s hand by which he bound the old serpent (Colossians 2:14-15; Revelation 20:1-2).
And the Son of God continues to overthrow the prince of darkness today by using men who were once his willing servants to proclaim the gospel of God’s free grace in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:24-29).
Do you see how God holds our enemy in utter contempt? Not only does he defeat Satan at every turn; but he defeats the prince of darkness by using those who were once his willing servants! God uses Satan’s own hands and devices to bloody his nose and crush his head. And he does it with the ease of infinite wisdom, omnipotent power, and total sovereignty.
Satan is too great for us; but he is no rival for our God. Though he hates God, he is God’s devil and God’s servant; and God defeats him with his own weapons. God has so arranged the work of redemption that our great adversary, the devil, is made the means of his own destruction. Those very things by which the devil endeavors to rob God of his glory and destroy our souls are made the instruments by which God glorifies himself and saves his elect. The devil’s most subtle and powerful designs are made the means of his overthrow by the wisdom and power of God.