BibleTools

Topical Studies

 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Bible verses about Overcoming Satan's Influence
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 23:20-23

After reading this, some carelessly assume that, if Israel had just obeyed God, they would have taken over the Promised Land without having to confront the people already there. This is most assuredly untrue. The blessings and cursings establish a biblical principle for God's people:

If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. . . . But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I will also do this to you. . . . (Leviticus 26:3-4, 14-16)

In a similar way, the promises of Exodus 23 are conditional. The bestowal of blessings depends upon obedience to the covenant. In covenantal matters like this with God, a Christian must expect reciprocity.

Notice this principle spoken by the prophet Azariah in II Chronicles 15:2: "The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you." Will God bless rebellion by His people? Absolutely not! He answers rebellion by removing His protection.

Consider: Does God make growth and overcoming easy for us, even though He promises salvation? Are there no battles to fight while overcoming? If God completely smoothed the way for us, what would we have to overcome? If He smoothed our way, how would He test our loyalty? Would we be prepared for His Kingdom? Of course, He does not make it easy for us. Each of our paths is designed and tempered to test us on the level of our natural abilities and gifts (I Corinthians 10:13). Therefore, each Christian's way will be difficult; each will have to fight many battles at his or her level.

If God completely smoothed the way, it would create a walk-in-the-park scenario, eliminating the possibility of God's law being written in our hearts. When other biblical information is added to God's promise in Exodus 23, we see that what He guarantees is that He will drive out the people of the land, making it far easier for the Israelites than if He were not involved at all. God is comparing situations with and without His intervention.

In the analogy, the people of the land are symbolic of human nature, which cannot be made subject to God and His law, according to Romans 8:7. Like human nature, the people of the land could not be driven out without God's help. We can conclude that Israel would have been totally unable to accomplish even what they did had not God been with them.

How can we know that Exodus 23 is not an outright promise that Israel would not have go to war at some point in the conquest of the land? Seeing several scriptures together will make this clear. First, notice Deuteronomy 8:1-3. Clearly, God tests us to see where we stand, revealing to us at the same time where our weaknesses lie. Our standing must be revealed to both God and us because His work in us is a cooperative effort with us. Tests are not normally easy; tests are often clarifying experiences, exposing our strengths and weaknesses. They are designed to reveal spiritual and moral progress or lack thereof, and in so doing should motivate growth in areas of weakness and produce confidence in areas of strength.

We can now add I Corinthians 10:11-13 to our understanding:

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

An admonition is an instructive warning. It is not a "chewing-out" but a sobering, thought-provoking prod. Overall, Paul is encouraging us that God is carefully monitoring the tests we experience so that we do not get in over our heads. The sanctification process requires our cooperation with God, and He does not want to lose us through extreme discouragement.

Though He manages the operations of His creative process, His work definitely does not eliminate our involvement. Knowing that God carefully monitors each of us helps us to understand why the Bible cautions us to be careful in how we evaluate each other. God knows, but we certainly do not know all the factors working in other Christians' tests.

In Exodus 23:22-31, God makes six promises and gives one command to the Israelites regarding their conquest of the Promised Land:

1. I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.

2. I will cut them off.

3. I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.

4. I will send hornets before you.

5. Little by little I will drive them out from before you.

6. I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand.

His one command, in verse 31, is, "You shall drive them out before you."

Consider what these seven statements reveal. The entire context suggests confrontation between God and the people of the land. However, the command, "You shall drive them out before you," should give us pause. There is more to this than a first glance might indicate. The easy assumption that God would remove every impediment upon Israel's entrance into the Promised Land proves false; that is not how it worked out in history. In addition, the Israelites knew for a certainty that they would have to face the people of the land in multiple confrontations.

In addition, they had already experienced a strong indicator of God's will for them regarding warfare when He permitted the Amalekites to attack the rear of Israel's column (see Exodus 17:8-13). That clash was only the first of an intense spate of battles in which the outcome hung in the balance on occasion. They knew that further warfare was a strong possibility.

Exodus 23:32 adds another factor that strongly hints that God would not simply drive the inhabitants from Canaan: "You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods." If He were going to drive the Canaanites completely out of the land before the Israelites, why would He need to make this warning? There would have been no people to make a covenant with!

Exodus 34:11-12, 15 repeats this command even more forcefully. If we take Exodus 23 and 34 at face value, the Israelites would have no opportunity to make a covenant with the people of the land because they would never encounter them to be tempted to make a covenant with them.

If the Israelites came into the land and began tearing down altars, would the people of the land have just stood around and let their revered high places be destroyed without resistance? No way! We can compare this to the confrontations many of us faced when we came to believe God, causing us to stop observing Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and Sunday worship and to begin keeping the Sabbath and God's holy days instead. Did our families, friends, and employers give us no resistance to these changes, which severely disturbed these relationships? Did they not defend their lifelong practices?

Because they would have close contact with the land's inhabitants, the Israelites had a choice to make: They could either compromise with the inhabitants regarding their cultures or follow God's commands. The latter choice entailed doing things like destroying altars, which would produce intense confrontations—warfare. The evidence indicates that the Israelites expected that they would have to go to war.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part One)


 

Job 2:6

Here is a principle that we can take great comfort in. As He does with Job, God also deals with us. God has set limits on what Satan or the demons are able to do with or to us. God deals with us according to the measure of our faith, our love, the measure of His Spirit within us. By faith, we have to deal with what He allows to occur, understanding that we love God for what He is and not because He has given us good things. That is an additional blessing.

We see, then, that from time to time we will have to overcome the demons that God allows to test us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 1)


 

Matthew 11:12

The Kingdom of God will be the recipient of slings and arrows and wars and temptations, and its own people will need to be violent in return. He means "forceful." It will take a titanic struggle to enter it because so many things are acting against us. Jesus warns us it will not be easy. We are going to have to work vigorously and "violently" at times, to force ourselves to do what is right, because the Kingdom of God is now under siege in so many ways. Therefore, we have to fight as warriors in battle and violently engage the enemy.

From John 17:11-18, we know that the Kingdom functions in the world, and Jesus is not going to take us out of it. But He asks His Father to give us His protection from the Evil One so that we can at least have that added strength. We must constantly deal with the world, human nature, and the Evil One himself, as well as his demons.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Parables of Matthew 13 (Part 2): Leaven


 

1 Corinthians 15:57-58

"Victory" is from the same Greek root as the word translated "overcomes" so many times in Revelation 2 and 3. Overcoming is being victorious over the pull of human nature against God in the self, Satan, and this world that tries to keep us from entering God's Kingdom.

Paul also exhorts us to be "always abounding in the work of the Lord." His work is creating. Then, by using the words "your labor," the apostle draws our attention to our responsibilities. Our labor is whatever energies and sacrifices it takes to yield to the Lord so He can do His work. Scripture refers to God several times as the Potter, and we are the clay He is shaping. The difference between us and earthy clay is that the clay God is working is alive—having a mind and will of its own, it can choose to resist or yield.

Following initial repentance, finding the motivation to use our faith to yield to Him in labor, not just agreeing mentally, is perhaps most important of all. Real living faith motivates conduct in agreement with God's purpose. Clearly, God's purpose is that we grow or change to become as much like Him in this life as time allows.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

Revelation 2:11

Jesus promises that, if we are overcoming—overcoming the pulls of the flesh, overcoming the temptations of this world, overcoming the influence of Satan—the second death will have no power over us. The second death is the final fate of those who have died once, been resurrected in the second resurrection, and given the opportunity to know the Father and the Son, but who then demonstrate through their decisions and conduct that they do not want to live eternally with them.

Faithful members of God's church may experience the first death—even violently—but the second death will not harm them because they will be given immortality, which God alone has at this point (see I Corinthians 15:53-54, I Timothy 6:15-16, II Timothy 1:10). This promise corresponds to Revelation 20:6: "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (see also Revelation 20:11-15 and 21:7-8 for more details about the second death). Thus, a letter with the theme of death ends with the promise of life.

David C. Grabbe
Smyrna: Faithful Until Death


 

Revelation 3:21

Jesus Christ also had to overcome. He had to overcome the same influences and pulls that we must overcome. He lived in the world under its influence. He lived with Satan alive and well, and so He had to overcome the influences of Satan the Devil, his persecutions and deceits. In addition, He had to resist the influences of human nature all around Him. They were also part of Him, but He never once gave in to them. He overcame them.

We are to do as He did. This shows that the works that He is concerned about are the works of overcoming—and the keeping of the commandments is encompassed within overcoming.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Loving Christ and Revelation 2:1-7


 

Revelation 20:1-3

It is commonly held that mankind cannot be “at one” with God until Satan is bound. Consider, though, how much this belief diminishes God's power while elevating the status of the wicked one. God will bring all those alive during the Millennium to salvation without Satan being around, even as He is perfecting the firstfruits now with Satan around. God is sovereign, and thus neither limited by Satan's presence nor dependent on it.

During Christ's final Passover, He speaks at length about what His upcoming sacrifice would make possible. His confident statements demonstrate that a close personal relationship with God is entirely possible even while Satan is still the ruler of this world. Jesus promises to love and manifest Himself to those who love Him and keep His commandments (John 14:21). He declares that both He and the Father will make Their home with those who love Him (John 14:23). His work allows humans to abide in Him, even while Satan deceives the whole world (John 15:4-5, 7). He assures us that we can have peace in Him, even as the world—under Satan's influence—is against us (John 14:27; 16:33; see also Acts 10:36; Romans 5:1; 8:6; II Corinthians 13:11; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 2:14-17; Colossians 1:20; II Thessalonians 3:16). He reveals that the gift of eternal life is entirely His to give (John 17:1-3), and there is no proviso regarding Satan's presence. He promises oneness through the Father's keeping (John 17:11, 20-23)—not through Satan's binding. All the things covered in His prayer are not limited to the original disciples, “but also for those who will believe in Me through their word” (verse 20).

Jesus teaches that it is quite possible to be one with the Father and Son without Satan being bound. When we are brought to Christ, He “delivers us from this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4) and “from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13). Satan is powerless to stop God's work (see Job 1:10-12; 2:4-6). Since God's converted people are walking proof of oneness with God in the face of the Devil's influence, it makes no sense to conclude that humanity can be one with God only once Satan is bound.

The world needs the same covenant the elect are under now. Satan's binding will be a tremendous gift to those alive during the Millennium, so in no way should it be diminished, as it will remove a great deal of spiritual pressure. But is Satan's influence so vast as to prohibit the Father and the Son from working out Their plan in the Millennium? Certainly not!

David C. Grabbe
Who Fulfills the Azazel Goat— Satan or Christ? (Part Five)


 

 




The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 140,000 subscribers are already receiving each day.

Email Address:

   
Leave this field empty

We respect your privacy. Your email address will not be sold, distributed, rented, or in any way given out to a third party. We have nothing to sell. You may easily unsubscribe at any time.
 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
©Copyright 1992-2019 Church of the Great God.   Contact C.G.G. if you have questions or comments.
Share this on FacebookEmailPrinter version
Close
E-mail This Page