Christian Warefare

How did Christ fulfill the theme of warfare against evil in his first coming?

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Yeah, there's a lot we could say about Jesus and his warfare against evil. I want to summarize that under three headings: Jesus conquered Satan, Jesus conquered sin, and Jesus conquered death. Let's start with talking about how Jesus in his first coming defeated Satan. One way he did that was in the wilderness temptation as he refused the temptations of the Devil. Another way he did that was in prayer. We may not always realize this, but Jesus prayed that Satan would be defeated. He says to Peter on the night of his arrest, "Satan has desired to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you." So Jesus, through head-on, one-on-one combat with the Devil in the wilderness defeats those temptations, then also through petitioning his heavenly Father for his followers like Peter when their faith is frail, Jesus defeats the Devil. Jesus also defeats and conquers sin. We know that. We look at the cross and we see how Jesus satisfies God's wrath, he takes our penalty on himself. Sin has no more claim over us in its penalty, its condemnation. What we may not appreciate is that Jesus also defeats sin in its power. Its power to corrupt us is broken by the fact that Jesus pays the debt and then he pours out on us his Holy Spirit. So even as Jesus in his first coming has died on the cross and later poured out the Holy Spirit, in both ways, he's defeating sin in the lives of his people. Finally, we can't ignore the fact that in the resurrection Jesus conquers death. He conquers death, not only the physical aspects of death — he's going to give us new life, we will share in the resurrection glory that he has — but he also shares with us the comfort and the hope that we have now that death may not beat us into submission and fear and cause us to waver in our trust of God and his promises because Jesus has defeated it. If I could add one note to the end of this discussion about Jesus conquering evil, it would be the note of urgency. In Jesus' miracles you see a sense of urgency, especially when he performs a miracle on the Sabbath. In Luke 13 a synagogue ruler says, "Hey, couldn't you do this another day? I mean, any other day? If you'd just wait a few hours the sun will set, it won't be the Sabbath anymore." And Jesus says, "No. Is it not necessary that this woman be freed from Satan's bondage which has kept her for eighteen years?" So Jesus has a sense of urgency in defeating evil in all its forms on our behalf.

Answer by Dr. Jimmy Agan

Dr. Jimmy Agan is Associate Professor of New Testament and Director of Homiletics at Covenant Theological Seminary.