The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
(I John 3:8)
'The thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat.' Does this saying have a familiar ring to it? It was popularized by a sports program that ran for several decades which took viewers around the globe to experience 'the thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat' in the world of athletic competition. Victory and defeat are really two sides of the same coin. In any contest that pits one side against another, whether on a field of play or a field of battle, there is one that triumphs and one that tastes defeat. The higher the stakes, the more on the line, the greater the thrill of victory…and the greater the agony of defeat.
"The reason the Son of God came was to destroy the devil’s work." He came to triumph over the devil, to deliver him a crushing defeat. You see, the devil’s work is to separate mankind from God. He led mankind into rebellion against God, driving the wedge of sin between God and man. This is how the Bible describes that wedge of sin: "Your wrongs have separated you from your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face so that He doesn’t hear you." (Isaiah 59:2) Left in our sins, we lay in defeat, cut off from life with God. 'The agony of defeat' has a familiar ring to it because we ourselves know it; we have felt it, and in a much deeper way than the dejection that comes with a favorite sports team losing. With our very lives on the line, we ourselves have experienced it, the absolutely agony of failing God.
But God had promised to send a Savior to crush the devil, to destroy his work. (Genesis 3:15)
So the Son of God came, and He came to triumph. He didn’t look triumphant at first – born to poor parents, His first bed an animal’s feeding trough, later growing up in a town that was despised by many. Then triumph was heard throughout the land when He began proclaiming the good news of the riches of God’s grace to those in the poverty of sin. Glimpses of triumph were seen when He performed miracles that showed His power over the ravages of sin – the blind seeing, the lame walking, the dead rising.
But any hope of triumph seemed to be snuffed out when He was nailed to a cross, condemned, with cries to His heavenly Father that were met with silence. Understand that He did this to suffer the penalty that was due us; this is what it would take to remove the wedge of separation between God and man. He took our wrongs that separated us from God and suffered that awful separation Himself; He carried our sins to the cross, so the Father hid His face from His one and only Son. Three days later Jesus rose triumphantly from death, showing the world that the Father accepted the Son’s sacrifice on behalf of mankind. His resurrection declares us right with God, triumphant with Him over sin and death! (Romans 4:25)
The Son of God has come and has indeed destroyed the devil’s work! "Destroy" has such finality to it. What Jesus has done cannot be undone – not by all the powers of hell nor by all the lies and hate of mankind. He stands in triumph, and the devil is crushed in defeat. "Christ died for sins, once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God." (I Peter 3:18) The devil’s work of separating you from God has been destroyed!
The question is, does this 'thrill of victory' have a familiar ring to it? I want you to know it; God wants you to know it. He wants you to experience it, this reality called the joy of salvation. Your sins needn’t separate you from God any longer. Repent and draw near to God through the triumph of Christ!
See how the blessings of Christmas extend throughout the year to fill your everyday life!
Follow "The ABC's of Christmas" series:
INTRO, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W
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Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.