The Defeated Foe

We’ve all seen it in the movies — the hero engages in an epic battle against the archenemy and after a superhuman effort, knocks him on his back. As he turns to check on his partner/his love interest/the latest victim, the villain pulls out a gun and fires off a shot at our hero. Sometimes, depending on the story, the hero escapes, but sometimes he’s wounded and in a few instances, mortally so.

The point is, defeated foes can still be dangerous.

In the spiritual realm, Christians have a defeated foe. Colossians 2:15 makes this clear: “When [God] disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them having triumphed over them through Him.”

Paul is referring to the work of Christ at the cross and God’s raising Him from the dead three days later (Col. 2:12b — “you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”)

And yet Scripture also gives us instructions to stand against Satan, to resist him, flee from him, be alert to him, know his schemes. Why, if he is defeated? Because he is still armed and dangerous.

Hitler’s Germany was a defeated enemy soon after the Americans landed on the shores of France, yet they fought on for nearly a year. None of the allies was about to lay down their weapons or ditch their helmet or return home just because they knew Hitler was doomed. The victory was sure, but the battles still needed to be fought.

The same was true for the people of Israel when they entered the promised land. God told them the victory was sure:

Know therefore today that it is the Lord your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them completely, just as the Lord has spoken to you” (Deut. 9:3).

Yes, God crossed over before them. Yes, God destroyed their enemies, and yet the people still needed to drive them out and destroy them. A defeated enemy needed to be defeated.

More specifically, God miraculously brought down the walls of Jericho, leaving the enemy no chance to defeat the people of Israel. They were done as soon as the stone crumbled to dust. Except Joshua still needed to take his army into battle. They still needed to defeat the defeated enemy.

Satan is our defeated enemy. We have no need to fear him. In fact, Scripture clearly states, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4b). But that doesn’t mean he isn’t still prowling about seeking someone to devour or that he isn’t still our adversary (1 Peter 5:8).

Because he’s planning to fight to the end, we need to take God’s direction to us seriously when it comes to handling Satan. God has defeated him and now it’s our turn.

Published in: on November 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 Comments

  1. Becky, your example of the fictional convention of a defeated enemy that can still harm a hero, who turns his back, is apt!

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  2. Satan, who holds the power of death (a power given by God), most likely didn’t realize his defeat until Christ arose.

    Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—
    Hebrews 2:14

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  3. Thanks for your feedback, Maria.

    Bob, I think that about Satan, too. I’ve heard sermons before, about Satan tempting Jesus and trying to make Him think He could by-pass the cross. But it doesn’t ring true, I don’t think. Else why would Satan have entered Judas to betray Him into the hands of those who wanted Him dead?

    No, I think Satan thought for that brief time that he’d won.

    Good verse to show clearly Satan was the defeated enemy at the resurrection.

    Becky

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  4. Bob and Becky, this discussion makes clear to me what is easy to forget for some of us: that Satan’s thinking is limited because he is a creature, and finite. He can predict certain things, probably, because of knowing human nature so well over the centuries; but, he can’t predict what the Almighty will do, except of course for certain prophecies of Scripture.

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  5. […] Right now, for a short time, Satan is the tyrant of this world. But ultimately, nothing has changed — he has already lost his rebellious struggle (see last Tuesday’s post on this subject — “The Defeated Foe”). […]

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  6. […] I did a four part series entitled “Who’s World Is It?” (See part 1, 2, 3, and 4). Why then would I want to re-visit the […]

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