Many believers live day-to-day in discouragement and even despair over their sin. They erringly believe that they cannot escape their sin. They rightly believe that there is forgiveness and cleansing for every sin, but they wrongly believe that their sinful habits and patterns cannot change.
In Colossians 2, Paul articulates two glorious truths for the believer. First, the believer has been made alive in Christ by the forgiveness of our sins (vv. 13-14). And secondly, with that life and forgiveness, He also has disarmed the rulers and authorities — that is spiritual, angelic rulers, those who are sometimes called the spiritual forces of wickedness. In other words, Christ has granted new life (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17) and given us the ability to live a new way, and He at the same time has stripped Satan and his evil henchmen of their power over us. Satan, on the basis of Christ’s work, has no more right to make accusation against us to God and he has no more right to rule over us and dominate us.
Sin is defeated. Satan is defeated. There is an ability for the believer to live a new way. He is not consigned to continue in sin.
The victory of Christ over Satan is extensive. He demonstrated His power:
- over Satan in the wilderness of temptation (Mt. 4:1-11)
- in binding the power of Satan (Mt. 12:29)
- in repeatedly casting demons from people (cf. Mk. 1:22ff)
- in preventing Satan from carrying out his plan until it became God’s time (Lk. 22:53)
- by taking away Satan’s right to accuse believers (Col. 2:14-15)
- by sealing Satan’s fate of death & stripping his power (Heb. 2:14)
Christ is victorious over Satan, and because we are in Christ, we also are freed from Satan’s dominion. F. F. Bruce summarizes the position of the believer in Christ well:
“Christ by His cross releases His people not only from the guilt of sin but from its dominion over them. Not only has He canceled our indebtedness but He has subjugated those powers whose possession of the damning indictment kept us in their grip.…There is only one message of hope to modern man in his frustration and despair, and it is the message which Paul proclaimed to the Colossians. Christ crucified and risen is the Lord of all; all the forces of the universe are subject to Him, not only the benign ones but the hostile ones as well.…to be united to Him is to be liberated from their thraldom, to enjoy perfect freedom, to overcome all the power of evil because Christ’s victory is ours.…The Conqueror who is enthroned at God’s right hand, supreme above the universe and filling it with His presence, is the One who reigns as King in each believer’s heart.…we are assured that because of His redemptive act, all creation will yet be ‘delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God’ (Rom. 8:21).”
Yes, we still have two foes — Satan and sin — against us. But consider this well: they are defeated foes and they have no dominion over us. We can live free from their power.