Uplook Fridays: The Triumph of the Cross

Here is a matter which is often overlooked at the Lord’s Supper. It is
the Lord’s total destruction of the power of the enemy ({{Colossians
2:15}}). Satan’s power through the sin of his rebellion lay in the
setting up of a kingdom here on earth to forestall the kingdom which
God intended to establish through His beloved Son. This was a challenge
on the part of Satan to the dominion and authority of God, whose throne
is in the heavens and whose “kingdom ruleth over all” ({{Ps. 103:19}}).

God is infinite in His authority, and He prepared the course of the
universe for the well-being of all His creatures. God alone had
absolute right over all things within the circuit of heaven and earth.
In his challenge to this authority, Satan and his cohorts “kept not
their first estate” (Jude 6), which meant a rebellious break from the
place of God’s assignment and an invasion into an area God had reserved
for man’s dominion.

This rebellious spirit infected man when he listened to Satan’s
voice in temptation and followed him. Man then came under the power of
Satan, becoming his slave to do his dark and devilish works. This
brought man into very great misery. He could never, in this condition,
be an essentially happy man, nor have any expectation of happiness in
the eternal world to come. He had hewn out for himself broken cisterns
that could hold no water.

It was necessary, therefore, that the Lord Himself come into this
arena of earth, first to destroy the power of the devil, and thereafter
to deliver men from under Satan’s power. Through satanically controlled
man, God’s purposes for man’s well-being had been disrupted. The Lord’s
advent, then, into this sphere of things had a double purpose which He
Himself declared. The first would be the overthrow of Satan: “Now shall
the prince of this world be cast out,” and secondly the salvation of
man: “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me”
(Jn. 12:31-32). These tremendous accomplishments could be worked out
only by His entering into death. This is clear from John 12:33: “This
He said, signifying what death He should die.”

Our Lord’s Personal Triumph
Lord had a personal score to settle with Satan. There would have been
little point in saving man if He had left the power of Satan over man
intact. That power first had to be broken if man was to be saved and
set free. As our Lord went to the cross, therefore, with respect to His
contact with Satan, He went forward as a conqueror. In entering into
death, He was entering into the citadel, the stronghold of Satan. Death
was his mighty fortress, and the Lord entered that fortress that
“through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that
is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). And this He did. He utterly disarmed Satan
of his power, and “having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a
show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Satan was caught in a
classic trap set by divine wisdom.

God had allowed Satan power over man, since man had followed that
prince of evil. It was part of the punishment of sin to be brought
under Satan’s power. Because God sent forth His Son into our humanity,
Satan supposed he had that same power over the Son of God, now that He
had become Son of Man. This thought must have been strengthened in
Satan’s mind when he saw the Lord reduced to physical weakness on the

But Satan had no power at all over Christ as the Son of Man.
Therefore, in attacking our Lord, Satan fell into the trap and met the
almighty power of the One who was the God-Man. Satan was therefore
spoiled so that he could never again rise to challenge the Lord Jesus.
The victory of the cross was final and complete as far as our Lord was
concerned. It was His personal triumph.

Our Lord’s Triumph on Our Behalf
deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject
to bondage” (Heb. 2:15). The devil had power over men. He derived that
power from man’s surrender to him when presented with temptation’s
snare. Man became Satan’s vassal. The power of Satan over man lay in
sin, and the strength of sin was the law, which condemned sin and so
condoned Satan’s power over sinful man. But in the cross three things
were effected by our Lord.

First, God was able to forgive sins on the basis of righteous
justice. It provided a way whereby God is “just, and the justifier of
him which believeth in Jesus.” By that cross we are redeemed, ransomed,
bought with a price, reconciled to God, adopted through grace, because
our Lord made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, a satisfaction
for the sins of the whole world. All the punishment which sin incurred
was borne by the Lord, so that man could be “forgiven…all trespasses”
(Col. 2:13). The sin question was settled at the cross once and for
all. Coming to Him, a sinner receives the everlasting benefits of
pardon and forgiveness and everlasting life.

Secondly, there was the “blotting out [of] the handwriting of
ordinances that was against us…nailing it to His cross” (Col. 2:14).
That means that all indictments of law were answered and fulfilled on
our behalf. The law was made honorable and, being satisfied with
payment made in full, blotted out the handwriting of ordinances which
was against us.

Thirdly, and importantly, “having spoiled principalities and powers
[on our behalf also], He made a show of them openly, triumphing over
them in it” (Col. 2:15). The Lord Jesus, in His cross, deprived all the
hosts of hell of their power over believers, and has shown them off to
believers as defeated foes. This is to the shame of such evil powers
and to the honor of the Son of God. The cross provides certainty of
complete and permanent triumph on our behalf, and thus enables
believers to live in the good of that victory. The keys of death are
now in our Lord’s hands and under His control. He is Lord even over the
devils and the damned.

Thus, being made partakers of our Lord’s life and victory, every
believer should live free from Satan’s power, and go forth with freedom
to do the Father’s will in the strength of our Lord’s risen and
triumphant life. There need be no defeat ever.

Yet even in our moments of weakness, our Lord triumphs. If we call
upon Him in the moment of danger, we find that “The name of the Lord is
a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Prov.

Sunk in ruin, sin, and misery,
Bound by Satan’s captive chain,
Guided by his artful treachery,
Hurrying on to endless pain,
My Redeemer, my Redeemer,
Plucked me as a brand from hell.

Mine by covenant, mine forever,
Mine by oath, and mine by blood;
Mine, nor time the bond shall sever,
Mine as an unchanging God.
My Redeemer, my Redeemer,
Oh, how sweet to call Thee mine!
—Author Unknown

From "Worship & Remembrance" by Daniel Smith
Published by Gospel Folio Press

Used by Permission. This material is protected by copyright. © 2005 Uplook Ministries.


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