Major Texts: Eph. 1:18-22, Rom. 8:26-39, James 1:7, 1 Peter 5:6-10, Luke 10:1-20, Acts 5:12-16.
Thinking of the Christian’s life, Paul wrote to the Roman Christians, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Rom. 8:37.
In light of the victory won by Christ, several things come to mind:
- Is it not true that some people make far too much of the devil and what he is doing? Some believers seem to talk a whole lot about the devil, about great conspiracies that he is contriving and executing. They seem to be more interested and concerned with the devil and what he is doing than they are interested in God and what He is doing. Do you know such people? Can you recite some of their great conspiratorial stories?
- In view of the victory of Christ in which believers share, is it not best to recall that, at best, the devil is only a created being not God? Why give him so much place? Was he not “kicked” out of heaven while a believer has been invited in? Certainly, the devil is not someone to fool with, but he is a defeated foe. It seems if a believer’s focus is on Jesus and he/she is engaged in communing with him, and if a believer seeks to be like Jesus and is attended by angels of light, the devil is not someone upon whom we should lavish a lot of attention. Don’t give him more time and space than is warranted given the divine realities found in Jesus.
- Colossians 2:15 warrants a closer look. In this verse, three descriptions are found and they are all quite powerful. It says that Christ “spoiled” or “disarmed” the principalities and powers, then he made a “public display” of their defeat, and finally, that he “triumphed over them.” Given all this, what is left for believers to fear?
It is often the case that those of us who live in the so-called “developed world,” tend to think of the power said to be in cosmic principalities as something that less informed people fear, like those who are in animistic cultures where such fears are very real and very powerful. Do you think that cosmic powers have interest, and do you think they work in the western world, too? If so, how do you think they would manifest themselves:
- Have you or anyone you know, ever been in bondage to something that seemed way bigger than you or your capacity to escape it?
- What has Christ set you free from?
- Can you describe the freedom you found in Christ when you first came to faith? Does that sense still exist in your life?
- Do you think the animistic world has any lessons about respecting and fearing supernatural things that we in the western world might learn with good effect?
- Have you seen anything that you might describe as an over act of the devil? Or do you think the devil works only in very subtle ways in sophisticated societies?
- What would you say to a Christian who lives life with great fear all the time? Should not an acceptance of Jesus drive fear out to replace it with a joyful hope?
- What do you think the effect of Christ’s victory was on the mind-set and attitude of the devil? Do you think the activities of the devil were expanded or became more restricted after Jesus’ victory on the cross? What reasons can you give for the position you take on this question?
In view of the victory won by Christ, there should be no hindrance to a believer, nothing that holds them permanently in bondage preventing the process of growth that should follow their coming to faith. Old habits can and should be broken, old ways reformed and new and godly ones developed. If such progress does not follow, what account can be given to explain such a scenario? Is Christ not powerful enough to redeem believers from the power and bondage of even cosmic principalities? Will not the power of redemption prove to be insufficient for the work of redemption? What shall we do then?
Spend some time with the Acts 5 passage reading and thinking about the various examples of victory new believers discovered upon their coming to faith in Jesus. Do you think such things happen still today? Any stories?