We want to consider an important weapon that God has given us, by which we can overcome our spiritual enemy – Satan, and that weapon is His ‘Word’.
God’s Word is like a seed that brings us to being born again (1 Pet. 1:23). From 1 Peter 2:2 we learn that God’s word is like milk that helps us to grow. We also see in Ephesians 6 that God’s Word is like a sword – the sword of the spirit with which we can fight against Satan; ‘‘… and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God ’’ (Eph. 6:17). It is a wonderful weapon that God has given us to resist the attacks of Satan.
Many believers are discouraged – do you know why? Because they don’t know how to use this sword when Satan comes attacking them with discouragement. Many believers live under condemnation and feelings of guilt. Who gives it to them? Not God! Are you living with feelings of guilt and condemnation? Are you feeling uncertain whether God has accepted you -whether God loves you, whether God has forgiven your sins, whether God still remembers your past against you? These are some of the ways in which Satan harasses the believers. And believers are weighed down, around the world, with guilt which they should not be bearing.
How can they overcome Satan? How can you overcome Satan? Whatever feelings that come to draw you away from God – discouragement, condemnation, guilt feelings – every one of these can be overcome if you can take the Word of God as a weapon.For example, supposing you are not sure that Jesus Christ has accepted you; supposing the devil comes to you and says, ‘Oh yes, you think Jesus has accepted you? Jesus is far too holy to accept a sinner like you’. What are you going to do when he tells you that? Are you going to argue with him? Let me tell you, you will be defeated.
You can never argue with Satan.He is far too clever for you.You know when Satan tempted Jesus Christ, saying to him, ‘‘If you are the Son of God turn these stones into bread’’ (Mt. 4:3), he questioned Jesus – are you really the son of God? If he could put such a question to Jesus Christ Himself, do you think Satan will not try those questions with you? Of course he will. He will make you doubt whether you are a child of God. How can we overcome it? We need the Word of God. Here is a Word which you could use – Jesus said, ‘‘The one who comes to me, I will certainly not cast out’’ (Jn. 6:37).
When I was a young boy I had asked Jesus to come into my life for many years – not days, not months, but years. I lived in doubt, whether Christ had really accepted me. For all of those years in which I lived in doubt I did not make any spiritual progress in my life, and it is probably like that with you as well. But a day came in my life, over 38 years ago, when I believed this Word and I could say to Satan, ‘Jesus has accepted me just as I am, because He has said, “The one who comes to Me I will never cast out.’’’’ And I said to the Lord, ‘Lord Jesus, I have come to you.From today onwards I believe that you have not cast me out.’ It was like dropping an anchor. I have never drifted from that position for 38 years.
I want you take that Word and believe from today, if you have come to Jesus. It doesn’t matter if you are the greatest sinner in the world. If you have come to Him, He says, ‘‘I will certainly not cast you out.’’ There is a certainty about it. You don’t have to believe the devil’s lies anymore. Tell the devil, ‘Jesus says He has certainly accepted me.’
Now who are you going to believe from today onwards – Jesus or the devil? That’s your choice. If you want to continue to believe the devil, then nobody can help you. But if you will believe the Word of God – take up that sword and the devil will flee from you. And you will never have a doubt again for the rest of your life that Christ has accepted you.
Now some of you may have another problem. You may feel that there are certain sins that you have committed in your past life which were very, very bad -even serious. May be some of you have committed adultery or murder, or it could be any horrible thing. You may feel, well some of the less serious sins God has forgiven you, but some of those horrible, wicked things, which nobody knows but you, does God always remember them when He thinks of you? Is it like that?
You know how it is. Supposing somebody has killed your son, and you are gracious enough to forgive him. Yet every time you see him you will remember that this is the man who killed my son, even if you have forgiven him. Does God look at us like that? That every time He sees us He thinks of us as the one who did all those wicked things twenty years ago, or ten years ago, or last week. What does the Bible say? The answer again is to know the Word of God. Satan will come to you with all these torturing thoughts. His aim is to keep you far away from God. You cannot overcome him with arguments or psychology, or any such thing. You have got to quote the Word of God.
You know when Jesus was tempted by Satan. What did He say? He only said, ‘It is written, God’s Word says this.’ The second time Satan came to him with another temptation and Jesus said, ‘God’s Word says this.’ Satan then came to Him quoting a Word of God, but Jesus’ answer was, ‘But it also says in God’s Word, this.’ Every single time, in those three temptations in the wilderness, Jesus overcame Satan only by quoting Scripture – no discussion, no argument, nothing. Eve was the one who discussed and argued with Satan and you know what happened to her – she fell.
Jesus never did that. He just quoted the Word of God, and that is what you need to do too. Here is a promise – God says, ‘‘I will be merciful to their iniquities and I will remember their sins no more’’ (Heb. 8:12). Not only ‘I will forgive your sins‘ – that in itself is wonderful – ‘but I will not remember your sins anymore against you.’ That means, when God looks at me, He does not hold against me any of the sins I have committed in the past; not the ones I committed 40 years ago and not the ones I committed yesterday. If I have confessed my sins, the Bible says that ‘‘God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins; the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins.’’
These are powerful weapons. These Words of God are like swords. We can say the Bible is like an armoury with many swords and you need to take out the appropriate one when the devil comes to you with one or other type of attack. When he reminds you that you have sinned so much in the past, you can say, ‘well the blood of Jesus has cleansed me from all sins’. Satan is a great accuser. He seeks to accuse, torment, and harass believers, preventing them from being happy. So many believers go around with long faces. That is not God’s will for you, my friend. Do you think God wants you to go around in this world with a long face? How can you ever draw anyone to Christ if you go around with a long face? How can you be happy? You can’t psychologically work up happiness, can you? You must know that your sins are forgiven; you have been accepted by Christ. Not only that, but God will not remember your sins anymore.
Now I want to lead you one step further. It is not only that God forgives our sin. It is not only that He doesn’t remember our sins anymore, but He does something more. There is a word called ‘justified’ used in Romans – that God has justified us. It says, ‘‘Having been justified by faith’’ (Rom. 5:1). Do you know what justified means? It means ‘declared righteous’. That means God has declared you to be a righteous person. Now let’s use an illustration: supposing I have been accused of a crime, and I have been taken to court. The judge says, ‘okay, you are forgiven.’ I am happy, because I come out of the court forgiven, but I still hang my head in shame, because I am accused of a terrible crime. But on the other hand, if the judge says, ‘Well, after considering all the evidence I don’t believe you are guilty at all. There is no need to be forgiven, you are righteous. You can go home.’ Righteous! Then I come out of the court, not just as a forgiven criminal, but as one with my head lifted up. This is the meaning of justification. It is more than forgiveness and many Christians haven’t understood it.
God not only forgives, He justifies. He declares me righteous. In other words, He clothes me with the righteousness of Christ. He puts the goodness of Christ over me as my dress. Can you think of it – the goodness of Christ clothing you? How do you look when you are clothed with the goodness of Christ? I will tell you: Perfect. Do you believe it? Oh that is where the problem lies, you don’t believe it! Then it will never be true for you. It says justified by faith. Do you believe God puts the goodness of Christ over you? Thank Him for it and resist Satan with this weapon of the Word of God. Say, ‘I have been accepted by Christ.’ Say it right now, ‘I have been accepted, I have been forgiven. God does not remember my past against me anymore. I have been justified. I am a righteous person clothed with the goodness of Christ over my life. I am just as precious to God as Jesus Himself is.’
These are the weapons by which Satan will flee from us.
This is part of the Basic Christian Teachings Series, a set of 72 short messages presented by Zac Poonen. You can download the audio mp3 files or listen to Basic Christian Teachings by clicking here.