Meditations in Colossians 2: 16: Complete Triumph
Col 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Since Creation there has been a battle going on. God created two perfect beings; their vulnerability was their free will and Satan (the snake) played on this and the Fall took place. From then on, there was a division between Man and God.
We are given another clue to the war in Revelation: “Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.” (Rev 12:3,4) and then later, “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” (Rev 12:7-9) This all takes place in heaven, outside of time but we are shown a dragon who is identified as Satan, who appears to have led a rebellion that swept away a third of the angels with him and Satan and his angels fought against the remaining hosts of heaven – and lost. The end result was that Satan was cast out of heaven and carries on his disruptive rule over sinful hearts here on earth.
These fallen angels appear to be organised into a hierarchy that holds sway over different geographical areas – see Dan 10:12,13 / Eph 6:12 – which Paul in our verse above calls powers and authorities. The higher demonic authorities would appear to hold sway over unbelieving and godless countries, areas, towns etc. until either God moves in sovereign reviving power, or the church in that area/town comes in repentance and prayer to release it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. At the lower levels of the demonic hierarchy are the individual evil spirits or demons who the individual comes against. It would appear that God does not let the powerful princes come against the individual; they appear restricted to warfare with other angelic beings. Our contact appears, therefore, to be limited to dealing with individual spirits who seems to be identified simply by their activity, e.g. 1 Kings 22:22 / Lk 13:11.
Now how do all these ‘enemy agents’ – whether it be Satan himself, his powers and principalities of fallen angels, or simply his demons – operate? How do they hold sway over human beings? Their primary means appear as follow:
- Deception: seeking to lead people’s thinking astray to believe a lie – there is no God, it doesn’t matter what you do, you will be all right. Within this strategy they seek to impose doubt and fear, both of which rely upon lies.
- Temptation: seeking to lead people into doing that which is contrary to God’s design for human beings. Very often temptation is linked to deception –“You will not die” (Gen 3:4)
In one sense Satan has a starting advantage in that every single human being is born with Sin in them, this propensity to be self-centred and godless. The Lord does speak, I believe, to every single human being on earth in their lifetime to counter Satan’s lies and seek to draw every person to Himself.
Now when Jesus died on the Cross, it was a declaration to the whole world that God loves this world and has made it possible for every single human being to be forgiven. Suddenly all of Satan’s lies about God and about us are rendered powerless in the face of the truth: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (Jn 3:16,17)
Now the truth is out there for any seeker to see: God loves you! He really loves you! God has done all that is necessary for your sins to be forgiven and for you to enter into a new life of purpose and direction, filed with the love of God. As the Good News has been proclaimed, drug addicts have been delivered from their addictions, prostitutes have been delivered from their slavery, murders have been forgiven and given a new life of hope. Those who were spiritually blind have been enabled to see; those who were spiritually deaf, have been enabled to hear, and it is all because of what Jesus did on the Cross.
Anything which caused separation between God and man was dealt with. Anything that brought condemnation to man, was dealt with. The truth was made clear, hope was given of a new life, a new way, a new power, and a new relationship. Whereas the powers and principalities sought to impose fear, it was cast out by perfect love (1 Jn 4:8). Where they sought to impose guilt, it was removed by the work of the Cross dealing with the reason for it. Suddenly Satan and his minions have no weapons to brandish against whoever would come to God, they are disarmed.
Yes, they will continue to speak lies to whoever is foolish enough to listen, to anyone foolish enough to fail in seeking the truth. The evidence for all of this is clearly there and seen in many ways by anyone who goes looking with an open heart. A proud heart, as demonstrated by the Pharaoh who opposed Moses, is the one thing that Satan knows will keep people from God. Pride that seeks to bolster up self, that generates an arrogance that screams and shouts against God, or even the possibility of a God, joins Satan in denying the truths of the Bible. Yes, the Lord does allow people the freedom to scream and shout – and even write books against God – for He knows that one day they will stand before Him, powerless but accountable. Free will – and certainly pride – is a scary thing!