“Since people have a common physical nature as human beings, Jesus also became human so that through His death He could neutralize the devil who held dominion over death, and set free all those held in lifelong slavery due to the fear of death.” (paraphrased)
Because Jesus Christ is God, He could not die. Therefore He took on a human nature in order to redeem us. “Share” is koinonia, from whence the word “fellowship” is derived. As finite beings, we could not have related to Christ had He come to earth in angelic form (v. 16). To atone for sin, Jesus identified with humanity through His incarnation. He partook of our human nature that we might partake of His divine nature.
The Lord became “flesh and blood” to destroy the works of the devil (Jn. 1:14). “Destroy” (katargeo) means to render inoperative, ineffective or bring to naught. He conquered death and offered life in its place. The Son of God destroyed Satan’s kingdom and replaced it with God’s Kingdom.
The satanic temptations in Eden introduced sin into the world – and sin brought death as its punishment (Rom. 5:12). Our sinful world is now bathed in wickedness (I Jn. 5:19). The only way the power of death can be broken is to break the power of sin. Satan wants to enslave people for life, for after death their opportunity for salvation is eternally lost.
“By means of death” refers to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Death holds no threat to all who trust Him as Savior. Jesus promised, “Because I live, you will live also” (Jn. 14:19). Calvary negated the power of sin and death. His resurrection brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel (II Tim. 1:10).
Through His atonement, Jesus rendered Satan impotent by robbing him of his power over death. On Calvary, He disarmed all the powers of evil, celebrating an open triumph over them and putting them to shame. By His death, he defeated hell itself, spoiled demonic powers, and made a public spectacle of them by His triumphant victory (Col. 2:15). Through His resurrection, He has imparted to Believers the power of an endless life (Heb. 7:16). Satan comes to kill and to destroy, but Jesus is the Prince of life (Jn. 10:10 & Acts 3:15).
The concept of Satan having “the power of death” does not infer he decides when every person will die. It means death is the realm in which he operates. Satan has “the power of death” because he draws people into sin, which results in death. His primary sphere of influence stems from the power he wields concerning man’s fear of the afterlife. He is the master of discouragement, doubt, dishonesty, deception, and disobedience. He is described as an accuser, a liar, wicked, a tempter, a tormentor, and the god of this world (Rev. 12:10, Jn. 8:44, Mt. 13:19, Mt. 4:3, II Cor. 12:7, & II Cor.4:4). Satan is pictured as a lion who roams the earth, seeking souls he can devour (I Pet. 5:8).
There is a strong connection between the devil and human anxiety regarding the afterlife. “Fear” is phobos, from whence our word “phobia” is derived. This trepidation is rooted in the uncertainty of what lies beyond death’s door, particularly the questions regarding judgment and punishment. God has implanted this basic fear in every human being, for the dread of dying should lead people to prepare for it. Without Christ, people are literally slaves of fear. It is from this dreadful condition Christ comes to deliver us. “To this end was the Son of God manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (I Jn. 3:8).
Fear gives Satan power over death and he uses this to influence individuals, for terror breeds torment. Jesus removes the sting of death because He holds the keys of hell and death ( I Jn. 4:18; I Cor. 15:55-56 & Rev. 1:18). Christ came to offer eternal life in a kingdom where no one ever dies (Rev. 21:4). His vicarious sacrifice counteracted the devil’s power.
To “deliver” means to free from bondage. Jesus came to liberate us from the dread of both physical and spiritual death. Knowing what lies beyond the grave, Christians can view the future with unbridled joy and optimism. When one receives Christ there is no longer a reason to be apprehensive, for the question of judgment is settled. For us “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Death does not separate God from His children, but connects us with Him as we enter our eternal reward (Rom. 8:38-39).
Believers must trust God concerning the manner and time of their death. The tenure every individual has on planet earth is in His hands (Ps. 31:15). When one is born again, the Holy Spirit immediately provides the assurance of the forgiveness of sin. This results in a peace only the children of God can appreciate.
QUESTIONS: CHRIST GREATER THAN SATAN
1. According to James 4:7, what happens when we resist the devil?
2. What is Satan called in Ephesians 2:2?
3. What is Satan called in John 12:31?
4. What did Jesus see regarding Satan in Luke 10:18?
5. What does Peter tell us concerning Satan in II Corinthians 2:11?
6. What did the demons confess in Luke 4:41?
7. What happened to a group of demons in Matthew 8:32?
8. In Mark 16:17, what does Jesus say concerning demons?
9. In Acts 16:18, what did Paul say?
10. According to I Corinthians 15:26, what enemy of mankind is destroyed?
11. According to Revelation 20:10, what is the fate of Satan?