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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 60 - Romans 16:20 - The Saint's Victory over Satan Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius


Let us note here,

I. Satan's overthrow. The whole history of the world is interwoven with the doings of him whom Scripture calls "the serpent" (2 Corinthians 11:3); "the old serpent" (Revelation 12:9); the God of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4); "the great dragon" (Revelation 12:9); "the wicked one" (Matthew 13:19, 1 John 5:18) ; "the devil" (Matthew 4:8); "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2); "the accuser of the brethren" (Revelation 12:10); "the adversary" (1 Peter 5:8). He is a living person,—originally connected with heaven, now with earth, once associated with angels, now with men, full of malice, a murderer and a liar, a deceiver. His dealings first with Eve, and then with Christ, are the two great specimens of his nature, his tactics, and his aims. The first promise announced a battle between him and the seed of the woman. This battle has been going on without intermission, between him and Christ, and between him and the members of Christ's body. With them it is warfare, with the rest of mankind it is friendship. The warfare has been fierce as well as long, open as well as secret, outward as well as inward. In all his assaults and stratagems he has to a certain extents succeeded, but always in the end been baffled. It is to this ultimate baffling or bruising that the apostle here alludes. In four ways has this final bruising been manifested, or is to be manifested:

(1.) In Christ Himself. He seemed for a while to conquer; he succeeded in stirring up men against Him; Judas to betray Him, and His disciples to forsake Him. He specially seemed to triumph over Him on the cross. There He bruised his heel. But that was the means and commencement of his defeat. His bruising began at the cross. There he received his deadly wound, his death stroke, which is to be completed at His second coming. Christ's personal victory over Satan by Himself and for Himself is yet to be manifested.

(2.) In the Church. Satan has bruised the church's heel, but the church is yet to bruise his head. Each age of the church has shewn this double process more or less; but the last age is to shew it fully; when Christ comes to deliver her from her oppressor forever.

(3.) In each saint. We wrestle with principalities and powers. Each of us has a daily battle with Satan. In this we are often worsted, yet in the end we overcome. We resist, and he flees from us. We pursue, and the God of peace enables us to overtake him and to bruise him under our feet.

(4.) In the world. He is prince of this world, and he has long exercised dominion therein. But the day is coming when he will be bound with the great chain and cast into the bottomless pit,—and after that into the lake of fire. That shall be his final bruising and binding; that shall be earth's deliverance from his power,—the end of the reign of evil, and the beginning of the reign of good and righteousness.

II. The saint's deliverance. We have briefly alluded to this already; but let us notice still further the peculiar expression used in reference to this. It is evidently of individual Christians that He is speaking when He says, the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. (1.) He shall bruise, that is crush, grind to powder, overwhelm. (2.) Satan, as the adversary, as the tempter, as the inflicter of pain, and him who has the power of death,—not merely his head, but himself. (3.) Under your feet. He shall place your feet upon his head and neck, as in the case of a conquered foe,—as if you had won the whole battle yourself, and triumphed over the enemy. (4.) Shortly. It will not be a long warfare in any sense. A short work will God make of this. Thus shall the saint be delivered; thus shall he conquer; thus shall he triumph; thus shall all his enemies be put under his feet. It will not be long! Hold fast, O saint; hold out! Resist, contend, use the whole armor, smite with the sword of the Spirit; for no other weapon will avail in the conflict with such a foe. Fight! For God is on your side.

III. The victory of the God of peace. It is as the God of peace that He wins the victory for us, and bruises Satan tinder our feet. It is as the bruised one that He bruises. He whom Satan smote, is He who smites Satan. The God of peace has made peace; and having made peace by the blood of His cross, He proceeds to destroy all that had once marred the peace,—all His enemies and ours,—giving us complete victory and triumph. It is on the basis of the reconciling blood, the peace-giving work on the cross, that the operations against Satan are carried on. It is under the banner of the God of peace that we fight. He is our captain, and the peace which He has made is that which secures the victory to us. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb,—the blood that has made our peace. It is the righteous peace made on the cross that makes it a righteous thing in God to bruise Satan under our feet; for, to bruise (or punish) him is one thing, and to do so under our feet is another. It is one thing to triumph over him, and another to make us triumph over him,—to make us conquerors,—more than conquerors,—to make us sharers of the honour and the spoils of victory; for with us He divides the spoil. In fighting for us and with us, God has respect to this blood made and blood bought peace. We in maintaining the fight have our eye constantly on it. We fight and conquer as men who know the God of peace, having believed His testimony to the work which has produced the peace. We fight and conquer as men who have obtained the peace, and by that peace are nerved and animated for the conflict, as men who know that God is with us. The peace within, and the consciousness of friendship with God, emboldens us and rouses us—makes us brave and invincible.

What consolation, too, in that word "shortly." It will not be long. Take the word as referring to the saints simply, or to the church, the victory is near. Behold I come quickly. Fight on. Resist the devil. Wrestle with the principalities and powers.