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Authority of the Believer
by Tom Brown

The devil is defeated as far as the believer is concerned. Jesus has already won the battle, and He simply calls upon us to occupy until He comes. Jesus said, "Occupy till I come" (Luke 19:13, KJV). The word "occupy" is a military term. You have heard of an occupational force, haven't you? This is what we are: an occupational force.

An occupational force is sent in only when the war is won. The force then simply occupies by stopping any pockets of resistance that may still be lurking in the region.

This is what we are doing. We are reminding the devil that Jesus won the battle, that he is defeated and has no authority over the Church. Then we take our God-given dominion and use it to stop him. We are not even worried about the outcome, because we know that we are in charge--not him. Christ victory is our victory.

So our battle with the devil resembles more a guerrilla war, where you have rebels who refuse to acknowledge the right of the legitimate government to rule. Jesus Christ is the rightful ruler of the world, and Satan and his cohorts are the rebels who try to fight the Lord Jesus and His army--but they will not overrule God's government!

THE SUBSTITUTION

You may wonder how Christ defeated the devil for us. Jesus defeated the devil through His Substitutionary sacrifice on the cross.

Colossians 2:13-15 says, "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."

Jesus triumphed! He triumphed over the devil! And He did it for you.

Jesus stripped Satan of his authority over mankind. He needed to do this because the first man, Adam, handed over his authority to Satan. God gave Adam dominion over the whole earth (Genesis 1:26). Adam was in charge, but when he obeyed the serpent he became a slave of Satan. "You are slaves to the one you obey" (Romans 6:16).

So when Adam sinned he lost his authority and dominion over the world; and, instead, Satan took it. Satan then had dominion over Adam.

EAT THE DUST

Right after the Fall God asked the woman what she had done. She told God that the serpent had deceived her. So God spoke to the serpent. In God's words to the serpent, He hinted to the fact that Satan would be in charge.

He spoke to the serpent, who we know from Revelation 12:9, is the devil. He is called in that passage "the ancient serpent." He told the serpent, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life" (Genesis 3:14).

At first glance, it appears that God is humbling the serpent by making him crawl on his belly. But a closer look at the entire chapter reveals something else.

Remember the purpose of him crawling on his belly is to "eat dust." Now physical snakes do not eat dust. God is speaking of something else, something deeply spiritual. Let me explain.

Later in this chapter God spoke to Adam and said, "for dust you are and dust you will return" (vs. 17-19). Notice that God called Adam "dust."

Adam is "dust"; the serpent is told to "eat dust." Do you see the connection? The serpent was to feed on Adam's carnal nature. You've heard the phrase, "I am going to eat your lunch." This phrase means that "I am going to defeat you."

God was saying to the serpent, "You are going to eat Adam's lunch. You are going to defeat him." God was already declaring Satan's supremacy over Adam and his descendants. Satan would be in charge of the Adamic race.

However, concerning the war over the woman's offspring, God said to the serpent, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel" (v. 15).

God was declaring that her offspring, or literally, "the seed of the woman" would crush the serpent's head, or, in other words, deliver a deathblow to Satan. So while the serpent is defeating Adam and his offspring, the woman's seed and her offspring will defeat the serpent. This is what Christ has done. Christ is the "seed of the woman." He has defeated the devil, and He did it through His Substitutionary sacrifice on the cross. Jesus crucifixion is when Satan "struck his heel."

REST OF HER OFFSPRING

You might say, "Wait a minute. If Satan is defeated, then why does he seem to be defeating me?"

Because you do not realize that it is your responsibility to resist the devil. You are the one with dominion. You must put Satan under your feet. God is not going to do it for you.

According to Romans 16:20, the offspring of the woman is also you: "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." It is your feet that must do the crushing.

So it would be more accurate to say that the first born of the woman is Christ, and the rest of her offspring is us.

Revelation chapter twelve confirms this: "A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman...was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth...She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne" (vs. 1-2, 5).

It is clear that the male child which the woman gave birth to is Christ. However, Revelation continues the story of the woman after Christ is taken up into heaven, which we call the ascension.

"Then the dragon [Satan] was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring--those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus" (v. 17).

So you see that the woman in Genesis 3:15 has a first born Son, who is Jesus, but she also has more children after Christ is born. The rest of her offspring are those who confess Jesus as Lord--that's us!

So Satan's battle now is with us, not with Christ.

BATTLE IS THE LORD'S

You may have been taught that the "battle is the Lord's." It is true, the battle is the Lord's, but it is also our responsibility to enforce Satan's defeat. Let me explain.

God wanted to make us "more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37). I would have been happy if God just made me a conqueror. But He wanted me to be more than a conqueror.

What's the difference between being a "conqueror" and being "more than a conqueror"? Take a champion boxer, such as George Foreman, and put him into the ring. For the next twelve rounds he is going to put up a tough fight. He is going to be punched, bruised, cut and bloodied during the fight. Yet, in the end, he wins. George Foreman is a conqueror.

After the fight, the promoters hands him a check for several millions of dollars. He smiles as he drives home. He walks into his his home and embraces his beautiful wife. She looks George in the eyes and brags, "Oh, honey, you did such a wonderful job." She has compassion on her husband as she wipes away the puss and blood still dripping from the fight.

George lifts up the check to his wife and says, "Here's the money, honey." She grabs the check. She is more than a conqueror.

You see, Jesus did the fighting; so the "battle is the Lord's." The Lord was the one whipped, bruised, cut and bloodied. Through the cross, He defeated the devil. Then He smiles at us and says, "Enjoy the inheritance I purchased for you!"

The enemy has been beaten, and we enjoy the sacrifice that Christ went through for us. We are more than conquerors!

It is "enjoying the inheritance that Jesus purchased for you" that brings on the fight. After all, God sets the table before us in the "presence of our enemies" (Psalm 23:5).

You do have an enemy to fight in order for you to eat at the table. And it is your responsibility to use your God-given dominion to fight Satan so that you can enjoy your inheritance.

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