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Today, I want to talk about God, Satan, Jesus, and you.
In Romans 16.20, the Apostle Paul brings all four together when he writes, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Let’s take a closer look at each phrase.
First, the God of peace. What a wonderful description of God, especially in the turbulent times in which we live! How many times have we turned on the TV news lately only to see stories about radical jihadists who are killing innocents in the name of God? Their god, it seems, is a god of war. But our Heavenly Father is “the God of peace.” He works to create peace between himself and us, not to mention between you and me. In the Christian tradition, in other words, peace is both vertical and horizontal. It pertains equally to our relationship with God and our relationships with one another.
And yet, that peace comes through warfare. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. How many times have we heard America referred to by violent jihadists as “the great Satan”? Too many times! But in Christian theology, human beings are not the enemies to be crushed. As Paul writes in Ephesians 6.12, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Human beings are the battleground over which God is fighting the devil. We are what he is fighting for, not what he is fighting against. And in this verse, God promises us ultimate victory over the spiritual forces that attempt to destroy our lives.
Third, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. How does God give us victory? How does he save us? As Paul writes in Ephesians 2.8-9, “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” I sometimes hear Christians speak of “spiritual warfare.” They talk about prayer and other spiritual disciplines. They also talk about “coming against” the devil. That’s all well and good, of course, but I don’t hear them mention that grace is the primary weapon God uses in his spiritual warfare for us. Remember, human beings are the battleground, not the enemy. Grace is what wins the victory.
Finally, you. On June 6, 1944, the Allies poured tens of thousands of men onto the beaches of Normandy in order to turn the tide of World War II. Wave after wave of soldiers sacrificed themselves that day to win Europe’s freedom. In the battle for you, God sends wave after wave of grace through Jesus Christ to rescue you and turn the tide of battle in your favor.
God is for you. Satan is against you. But God gives more grace so that you can have more peace.