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When Jesus Christ went to the Cross, He not only atoned for our sins but He defeated our spiritual enemy Satan. This was a most important part of Christ's work at Calvary, for not only is man in bondage to sin within but to Satan without. To lose sight of this aspect of Jesus Christ's work is to greatly weaken the position in the conflict with evil. It is only in the victory of Calvary that the child of God can successfully face the present activity of Satanic power that is abroad to-day.
Satan has flung his forces right across the path of the Church in her advance heavenward, and is thus delaying the return of Christ to reign as King upon the earth. These forces are spiritual and evil, and can only be antagonized by spiritual weapons.
But some one will ask, "How can the devil delay the return of Christ?"
By keeping the Church in defeat.
When Christ comes, the overcomers are to reign with Him over the earthbut they must have learnt to overcome and to rule in spirit here and now through their union with Jesus Christ.
Many of God's people are so taken up with earthly things that the realm of the spiritual is absolutely foreign to them.
Others, who are more spiritually minded, are being continually defeated because they are poorly equipped to face the conflict with these evil powers. The devil is able to make perpetual inroads into their work, harassing them in their labours, and they, not knowing the source from which the attack comes, submit, and thus are defeated. Not only does the foe interfere with their work, but their personal life is made the object of his malignant hatred,trouble in the home, divisions, misunderstandings, follow one upon another until an atmosphere is created, which becomes a continual drainage upon them.
Doubtless all God's children know something of this in their experience.
Are these things sent into our lives for us to submit passively to? or is it intended that we should overcome them?
The reason why we do not resist them is that we fail to recognize the true cause of the attacks. We have left Satan, who is the silent, subtle source of our trouble, out of our reckoning, but as our eyes are opened to detect the enemy, we realize that we are called into a personal spiritual warfare against the powers of darkness. We also get a wider vision and a divine interpretation of the evil agencies which are opposing the Church and ruling the world, and we realize that they are super-natural and Satanic, and must be resisted by the child of God in union with the risen Lord.
But how can the devil and his host be conquered by the child of God?
Only through vital union with Jesus Christ and a spiritual knowledge of Calvary as the place of Satan's complete overthrow. How carefully the foe has sought to hide this! how subtly he has contrived to get the believer away from the place of his ignominy and defeat!
How clearly we are taught in John xii. 31, 32, that the lifting up of Christ is the casting down of Satan,"Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out, and I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me." Lifted upwhere? on a Throne? No! on a Cross, as verse 33 plainly tells us"This, He said, signifying what death He should die."
In Colossians ii. 15, we read, "Having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it," and the whole argument of Paul in the Colossian Epistle is"why should we be subject to their power when Christ has so gloriously conquered?" Why?
Christ's death is the complete overthrow of Satan and his hosts, but in order for us to have the victory wrought into us, we must get back to the Cross and learn to wield it against the powers of darkness, which are feverishly labouring for the enthronement of Satan in this world.
While the child of God stands in triumph they are hindered in the accomplishment of their desire.
As the saint sees this, he will understand that his own personal conflict is only part of the general warfare that is raging.
The Devil is approaching his Waterloo! Child of God, put on your heavenly armour: learn to wear it now.
Be a veteran in the army of the Lord, and not a raw recruit!
Surely the days of sham fighting are over; a real war is raging.
Thy foes are strong, but thou art stronger in thy risen Lord. Be not afraid of their faces, for thou hast looked upon the marred face of Jesus! and soon, ah! soon, thou shalt see His face shining as the sun when He shall come in His glory to reign over this poor distracted world.