When Jesus came, there was something He needed to set straight — a certain legal transaction that can be traced almost to the beginning of time.
As His finishing touch on Creation, God set Man as keeper and ruler in the Garden. Adam’s dominion was sovereignly established.
But when Adam and Eve thought they had a better plan and rejected God’s authority, their dominion was legally lost — lost to Satan — until a Savior could come to righteously restore what had been legally lost.
Jesus first presented Himself to the nation Israel in His hometown synagogue. He stood to read from the scroll of Isaiah and announced clearly why He had come:
“…to preach the Gospel to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19)
Clearly Jesus came to set things right again. God owes the devil nothing. But true to His own righteousness, justice and truth, God did not simply snatch that authority back from Satan, kill the devil and give it to Adam. It had been lost by a man, the first Adam, and it would be regained by a Man, the second Adam — the Lord Jesus.
We can now live in victory because Jesus delivered us from three kinds of bondage.
The Bondage of Spiritual Death
And you, being dead in your sins, hath he quickened [made alive]. Colossians 2:13
If you’re not a Christian, spiritually you’re dead. Not spiritually sick — dead! But when Jesus Christ came, He gave life to us through His death and delivered us from the bondage of spiritual death. But there’s more…
The Bondage of Staggering Debt
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross. (v. 14)
We owed a debt that must be paid. In Bible times, an accusation against a criminal (called a “certificate of debt”) would be written out and given to a civil magistrate. If at trial the lawbreaker was found guilty, they would nail that “certificate of debt” to his prison door. Anyone passing by could see what he had done and the penalty assessed. When he had served his time, a clerk would carry the certificate of debt back to the judge, and the judge would ask, “Has he served his time? Paid the debt?” “Yes, Your Honor, he has paid the debt.” The judge would then write across it one word:tetelestai, “finished, paid in full, done.” Then he would give that man his certificate of debt, proof that he had paid.
Each of us had a certificate of debt against us. Satan, the accuser, comes and whispers, “You’re not good enough. You don’t deserve it. Your sins haven’t been forgiven,” and he will say to God the Father, “You claim to be so righteous. Adrian is a sinner. If You’re righteous, You will fling him into hell.” That’s when my Advocate steps forward — hallelujah! — my Lawyer, who says, “Yes, Adrian has sinned, but for those sins I died, and here is the ordinance, the certificate of debt, signed in My crimson blood, paid in full.”
Friend, the devil will accuse you to your face. Next time, get your certificate of debt and wave it in his face. Jesus paid it all, “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us.” Nailed to His cross! Therefore, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”(Romans 8:33).
Lastly, there is not only what Jesus did for us…but what He did to Satan.
The Bondage of Satanic Dominion
And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in His death upon the cross. (v. 15)
Notice what the Lord Jesus Christ did to Satan.
He spoiled him. The word spoiled in Greek means to undress, to strip, like you would strip the medals from a general or the royal robes from a ruler. Here’s Satan in all his arrogance, all his dominion, wearing all his medals from hell, and the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross strips Satan. He takes away all of his authority.
He “made a show of them openly.” Jesus Christ humiliated Satan’s army. Not only is he stripped, but he’s standing there naked, as it were — no more authority, no power, no dominion. Stripped and shamed. He has been made a show of openly. He doesn’t want you to understand that he’s an emperor with no clothes!
He triumphed over him. He is subdued. Next time you think about Satan, think: stripped, shamed, subdued. How? By the cross.
Not only did Jesus pay your debt — nailed to His cross “Paid in full” — but He took Satan’s dark kingdom and said, “You are stripped of your authority, you are shamed, and you are subdued. You rule a doomed domain. You sail a sinking ship.”That’s the message we must learn. God has given us kingdom authority. Victory is not our destination; it’s our point of origin. We don’t pray for victory; we have the victory. We stand in victory.
You may already be sure that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. But let this book reinforce your faith and help you to share it with others. There are many today who are trying to make their way through a world of darkness, having never heard the gospel. Read John’s account with that in mind, and discover new ways you might introduce others to the Light of the World (John 8:12).