How Jesus Destroyed the Devil’s Work

Jesus defeating the devilFrom Destroy the Devil’s Work, a post by Jeremy Myers:

Jesus certainly did come to destroy the devil’s work, but His route for doing so was not conventional. Or at least, it was not the way any human would seek to do it. He did not rain down fire and death from the skies. He did not raise up an army and march off to war. He did not call on political leaders and those with money, power, and prominence to exert their influence and bring about change.

No, Jesus destroyed the devil’s works by doing the exact opposite things of the devil. He loved the unlovable. He forgave the worst of sinners. He healed the chronically sick. He fed the hungry. He empowered the weak. He extended grace to those who showed none. He was patient with repeat offenders. He did not seek to control. He never sought to enslave. He always refused to punish or condemn.

Amen!

16 thoughts on “How Jesus Destroyed the Devil’s Work

  1. In Australia Good Friday is a public holiday & people attend church services! Monday is also a public holiday in lieu of Easter falling on the Sunday!

  2. 1/ Jesus destroyed the devil’s work through substitutionary atonement; by taking the punishment that we deserved for the sin of rebelling against God.

    2/ Why do you say Jesus never condemned anyone? He made it clear that those who refused to acknowledge him as Lord were condemned to hell,that those who trusted in their own righteousness or Jewish tradition (Jn 8 34-47) were condemned to hell. The whole of Matt 23 is pretty condemnatory speech from Jesus’s mouth as he issues seven woes to the Pharisees.

    Jn 8:44 “You belong to your father the devil.”

    Mt 23:33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”

    Jn 3:18 “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already…”

    Jn 5:22 “the Father judges no-one but has entrusted all judgement to the son…”

    Jn 5:29 “those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”

    Rom 8:34 “Who is it that condemns? Christ Jesus…”

    Rev 19:15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.

    Rev 20:12-15 The dead were judged….If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    Try googling Lordship Salvation/Easy Believism eg on Theopedia, and make sure you are in the Lordship camp!

  3. Helen, I am not disputing that substitutionary atonement is one good way of describing how Jesus destroyed the devil’s work. As for “condemn”, I would agree that there were those who Jesus did condemn, and so disagree with Jeremy Myers, although he might want to clarify what he meant when he used that word. But I note that the ones Jesus condemned were not those who sinned by breaking laws and commandments, but only “those who trusted in their own righteousness or Jewish tradition”.

  4. A few of my thoughts…

    “He did not rain down fire and death from the skies.” Yes, He did, and He threatened to do so as well. Ananias and Sapphira died, and the great fear came upon all the church and upon everybody who heard about it, as we might expect (Acts 5). Jesus also threatened to kill church members at Thyatira if they refused to repent (Rev 2).

    “He was patient with repeat offenders… He always refused to punish or condemn.” It would be more accurate to say Jesus warned against repeat offenses and threatened punishment for repeat offenses. To the woman caught in adultery, Jesus commanded, “Sin no more” (John 8:11). To the healed man who was crippled for 38 years, Jesus warned, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14). Can you imagine something worse than not being able to walk for almost forty years? Jesus told him if he continued in sin then something worse would happen. And what about the church at Corinth? Many were sick and died because they didn’t discern the Lord’s body (I Cor 11:30).

    This is all very serious. But I’m so thankful for His goodness, longsuffering, and mercy, or we’d most likely see more sickness and death than we do. His desire is to see all come to repentance.

  5. Kathleen, I think Jeremy was referring to Jesus’ time living on earth as a man. So what happened in Acts or Revelation doesn’t count. Yes, he warned against repeat offenses in advance, but after the event he was patient. I don’t see anything wrong in what Jeremy wrote.

  6. Well, I very respectfully disagree — with his depiction of Jesus, as it’s not completely scriptural, and with the idea that only the red letters in the gospels count, so we can dismiss the rest of the NT as our basis for seeing Jesus. To know Him and His nature, we must take all of it, particularly His firm warnings to the seven churches.

    Today, people have rejected the truth that God (Jesus) is wrathful. They want to see only His love and nothing else. This has led some to reject the doctrine of eternal punishment in a burning lake of fire, and yet Jesus spoke more about hell than anyone else in the Bible.

    So we must be careful. To think He “always refused to punish” when He spent so much time warning others of impending judgment and everlasting punishment in literal hellfire is dangerous.

  7. Kathleen, let me just clarify what I said before, that Jeremy was explicitly writing about what Jesus came to do, in the past, when he destroyed the work of the devil. Unless you dispute Jesus’ cry “It is finished”, that work was finished on the cross, and so what Jesus did and said, or will do and say, after that is irrelevant to Jeremy’s point.

    But yes, Jesus did warn about sin and teach about future punishment. Jeremy did not deny this, although he did correctly point out that Jesus never administered immediate punishment, and his warnings were intended primarily to provoke repentance which would avoid the punishment. There is no need for us to disagree on that.

  8. I don’t see it as irrelevant at all. Jesus continued destroying the works of the devil, after the cross, through the Holy Spirit that He said He would send to fill believers so they could carry out His will. You can’t divide God up. Jesus was acting in Acts, destroying the devil. Jesus had His hand in the immediate deaths of those two believers in chapter 5 and the many in Corinth. There shouldn’t be a need to disagree here either. The reason people tend to overlook the tougher passages I cited is they have a lopsided view of God’s nature.

  9. Good stuff Kathleen!

    Peter, perhaps Jeremy Myers observed a lack of condemnation from Jesus in the gospels because he didn’t appear to condemn on the spot?? But he made many many references to FUTURE judgement and condemnation (at the great white throne judgement), as my above examples illustrate.
    I agree with Kathleen, that too many today ignore God’s wrath and imply that God loves everyone regardless.( Hence my reference to the heresy of Easy Believism. But rather: “Unless you repent ,you too will all perish.” Lk 13:3,5
    Of course coming to Christ is a work of grace; “All that the Father gives me will come to me..”

  10. Helen, indeed Jeremy was referring to Jesus not condemning on the spot. He was not referring to the final judgment, and I am sure he would agree that Jesus taught about it. He is not denying God’s wrath, nor am I. But it doesn’t have to be mentioned in every paragraph he writes or I quote.

  11. Thanks for posting this, Kirk. And I see it sparked a bit of a discussion.

    As you suggest, I do believe that the way Jesus is depicted in the Gospels trump what we might read about Jesus in the book of Revelation. It is a highly symbolic book, and we must be careful about taking what it depicts Jesus as doing at face value.

    As for condemnation, wow, all the verses which were quoted above I read in exactly the opposite way in which they were quoted….

    For example, John 3:18 says that people who do not believe in Jesus are condemned already. It does not say that Jesus condemns them, but that they stand condemned already. Jesus delivers us from condemnation!

    Then Roman 8:34 is pretty severely misquoted there. The problem is the \”…\” that is left there. Paul is not saying that Jesus Christ condemns, but that Jesus Christ is the only one who could condemn, but doesn\’t! Instead, He intercedes for us (cf. also Rom 8:1).

    And so on….

    It all comes down to what Jesus is doing on the cross. For me, the cross of Christ is the center of my theology. It tells me what God is like, and how God acts toward us sinners.

    Anyway, thanks for posting the quote. Glad it sparked some thinking.

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