“For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev. 12:10b-11)
In Part One of this series we emphasized the first part of our text regarding knowing our enemy. In Part Two, we are emphasizing the last part of our text regarding overcoming our enemy.
Indeed, we have a formidable enemy whose abilities far surpass our own. In A Mighty Fortress is Our God, Martin Luther says it well: “For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; his craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal. Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.” As sinful children of Adam, we do not have in ourselves the moral ability or the legal right to withstand and overcome the accusations of the devil. The fact is that we are guilty sinners under the moral dominion of sin and the legal domination of Satan.
But our text indicates that while we have a powerful and relentless enemy, he may be overcome. For example, Paul commands us, “Neither give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27). This means that we are to have nothing to do with him. We are never to scoot over and give him a seat. He is able to bring thoughts and feelings to us that are not our own. We’re not to allow him a place in our minds, our hearts, or our lives. We are not to pay attention to his thoughts and feelings. Whether the devil comes as an “angel of light” (II Cor. 11:14) or as a “roaring lion” (I Pet. 5:8), we must not allow our hearts to be troubled because of him, nor give him the advantage of doubts and fears.
Further, James indicates that the devil is to be recognized and resisted, with the promise that he will flee from us (4:7). And Peter says, “Whom resist steadfast in the faith” (I Pet. 5:9). This means that the enemy cannot be successfully resisted if we are unsure of our relationship with God. It may not always be easy, but the enemy can be overcome…if we are strong and stubborn about believing God.
In our text there are three factors mentioned that enable God’s people to be victorious over the enemy. The first is the blood of the Lamb. The Lamb referred to is Jesus Christ, who served as God’s appointed sacrifice for sin, just as the sacrifice of a lamb prefigured Christ’s atoning sacrifice throughout pre-Calvary times.
When Adam obeyed Satan in the Garden he mortgaged himself and all his posterity to the devil. The human race, as well as the earth over which Adam was governor, fell into the hands of Satan and became his property. Because of Adam’s sin, Satan had both a legal and moral claim on our entire race. His legal claim rested on Adam’s obedience to him. His moral claim rested on the pollution of Adam’s nature. The plight of man and his earth was desperate.
John depicts this plight in Rev. 5: 1-5. He wept much because no one was found qualified to wrap up God’s plan of redemption. But his weeping was interrupted by the proclamation that “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, had prevailed” (Rev. 5:5). John looked to see the Lion and saw instead a Lamb. God in his love and mercy entered the human arena in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, in order to pay the universal penalty for sin for Adam’s entire race and to buy back all that was lost to mankind by Adam’s fall.
The shedding of Jesus’ blood is the greatest and most profound act in human history. The blood of heaven’s Lamb forever broke the legal claims of the devil on our race and set us free from the accusation and condemnation of a broken law. By the removal of the claims of the broken law, the blood of Christ has also set us free from the bondage of moral pollution and the default necessity of human sin. Through faith in the blood of the Lamb we can find freedom from both the bondage and the pollution of sin.
Jesus said, referring to His soon victory at Calvary, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome….” (Jn. 16:33) Because he overcame Satan and sin, we are privileged to share eternally in His victory. (Rev. 3:21) It is because we have trusted in Jesus’ blood for salvation that we now have the legal right to walk away from Satan’s bondage. Having been purged from our sin through the blood of Jesus Christ (I Jn. 1:7), we now have a new moral obligation and right, not to serve sin, but to stand firm in our faith, withstand the devil and his accusations, and live holy lives to the glory of God. The blood of Jesus Christ furnishes us with the only basis by which we can overcome Satan. By often pleading that blood and standing firm in our faith in Jesus, we can withstand and overcome the enemy of our souls.
But our text mentions two other means whereby we may be overcomers over the accuser. We may be overcomers by “the word of our testimony.” This simply means the public declaration of our faith in Christ as well as our continued declaration of the Gospel message. Satan seeks to defeat us by silencing our personal testimony and our message. But a strong and firm declaration of our faith is a powerful thrust against the enemy and a wonderful means of putting the enemy to flight.
The third and last means of overcoming the devil is that “they loved not their lives unto the death.” Jesus often indicated that in order to follow him we must not love and seek to preserve our lives; that instead we must let go of our lives and follow Christ even unto death. (Jn. 12:25) It is this settled attitude of eternal commitment to Christ regardless of the cost that defeats Satan.
It is interesting to note that our text indicates that the future Tribulation believers will overcome by dying. While this would seem like a defeat, it is in fact an eternal victory. The glorious truth is that those who trust fully in the blood of Jesus, who refuse to silence their testimony, and who die in the faith rather than give up Christ, overcome their enemy forever and ever. Hallelujah to the Lamb!