To Demand the Withdrawal of the Oppressor
...to Live in the Presence of God
There are three powerful Statements in the New Testament regarding what the Lord Jesus, our Substitute, did to the devil, our oppressor. We need to learn these and hold them available for the Holy Spirit to quicken them in us.
We can be assured of this: our conflict with the oppressor will continue. The intensity of his attacks will increase. But—our faith and security in the Lord will become stronger and stronger as the Holy Spirit brings upon us an anointing of confidence. In the accompanying “prayer starters” we are going to ask for this, with a strong confidence that our prayers will be answered.
The context surrounding the three following statements are important. Seeing them alone, however, helps us remember them so they can more easily become resident within our minds and hearts. Mark them in your Bible. Write them out on cards and place them in a prominent place. Memorize them. Meditate on them. There is a power within them that will work in you.
•Colossians 2:15—And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
•Hebrews 2:14—Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
•I John 3:8—He that committeth sin (whoever makes a practice of sinning) is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
Take special note of the three words we’ve enlarged. Each of them is from a different word in the Greek New Testament. Our understanding increases as we see their meanings.
In Col 2:15 spoiled is from the Greek apekdúomai, a word meaning “to strip someone of authority”—to despoil, to defrock, to defeat to the point of humiliation. Jesus did this to principalities and powers, the spiritual forces under Satan who oppose the earthly rule of Christ. In opposing Him, they stand against us with the hope that in our weakness we may crumble under their attacks.
But, picture if you will a band of captives brought back from battle, defeated and humiliated, paraded in chains for all to see. See that the most prominent ones in the display are the principle ones who led the attack. This is what Jesus did to the principalities. They are the giants of Satan’s dark spiritual realm, the ones next to him who oppose the spreading of God’s Kingdom. Knowing how Jesus stripped them strengthens us in our authority to resist them. We can say to the principalities and powers, “The Lord Jesus has stripped you of all your power. Withdraw from my life. I submit to His authority, not yours.” The only hope an evil prince has to accomplish his purpose is when we allow him to do so. They always seek to work in a clandestine manner. This is the reason we are opening ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit. He will release in us His operation Paul called discerning of spirits in I Corinthians 12:10.
This passage, that Jesus made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it, contains some powerful and important words. With boldness, Jesus made a public spectacle of the principalities and powers. Note the word openly. It is from the Greek parresía (par/rheh/SEE-a), an important word for us about which we shall see more later. It means “with open boldness.” The word triumphing is from a word that means to make a public show or spectacle. There was nothing private about the overthrow of Satan. The marvel for us is that we can participate with the Lord Jesus in making his defeat openly manifest.
In Hebrews 2:14 the word destroy is from the Greek katargéo. This means “to render someone powerless”—to take from them all ability to accomplish anything, to reduce them to complete inactivity. Jesus took our place to do this to the devil. He entered the ultimate stronghold of the satanic realm, Death itself, and destroyed him who held the dominion there. In Rev 1:18 Jesus said, I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
The word power in Heb 2:14 is from the Greek krátos, meaning “governmental power.” Thus, Jesus rendered Him powerless who held the dominion in death’s realm. No longer can Satan rule us from this sphere. For those of us committed to the Lord Jesus, the beginning of our life, its continuance, and its end are in His hands alone. For us, dying is but an entrance into a greater dimension of Life with the Lord Jesus Christ.
In I John 3:8 the word destroy is from the simple and beautiful Greek word lúo. This is the first Greek word I ever learned. I was taught it meant “to loose.” When I saw it in this verse, that meaning didn’t make sense. I pursued its meaning and found it means “to loose” in the sense of undoing something that has been done. It means to untangle, undo, dissolve. We need to know this regarding the works of the devil. The situations into which he brings some lives are so complex and hopeless that only the powerful work of the Lord Jesus Himself can undo the hopeless, tangled mess of them. This is where hopelessness takes exit and we see—over and over again, in person after person—that Jesus can untangle a mess. There’s no satanic complication in any life too great for our Lord.
Oh, let us know this!
When the power of the three statements we are considering resides in us, we are on our way to learning that we can exercise a bold authority to demand the withdrawal of the enemy. We cannot deny his determination to hold on, however, if he finds legal ground in us. This means, if there is ground in our life that belongs to his realm, he will harass us to possess it. Therefore, consider these two statements: •Eph 4:27—Neither give place to the devil. This means, “Don’t give him any ground in your life that he can claim as his own.” •James 4:7 —Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. There is a twofold requirement here: submit to God and resist the devil. This means, “Place yourself under the authority of the Lord God and stand in opposition to the devil.”
Not only did the Lord Jesus strip the devil of his authority, He also opened the way for us to come into the presence of God. Thus, He gives us a twofold freedom: to take leave of Satan and to come before God.
A friend drew my attention to that very important word parresía which we saw in Col 2:15. Literally it means freedom to speak with boldness and assurance. It is often translated confidence or boldness. We could translate it “bold freedom.” It is the true “freedom of speech” for which mankind longs. It reaches in two directions. It means boldness to stand before the devil and demand his withdrawal from any situation. But it also means bold freedom to come unto our Heavenly Father, converse with Him freely, and live in His Presence.
It is in the direction of these two freedoms that the Holy Spirit is quickening and empowering us. We find many people with their confidence weakened in these two areas. They are fearful and ignorant when it comes to dealing with the devil and they are fearful and ignorant when it comes to dwelling in the presence of God.
When I’m tired and bothered by what someone has done, when I’ve not been meditating on God’s Word, when I’ve not been still in His presence, my confidence becomes weak. The enemy rejoices in this. So, the Holy Spirit is drawing us to learn to wait on the Lord, to rest in His work, to give attention to Him instead of to those who provoke us.
Let me direct you to several places in the New Testament that use parresía to speak of our bold freedom in the Presence of God. Soak in these verses. They provide valuable information for the time of trouble that David tells about in Psalm 27:5. Make this whole Psalm one of the Scriptures in which you will soak.
In •Ephesians 3:12 Paul tells of Jesus Christ in Whom we have boldness (parresía) and access with confidence by the faith of Him. In Him we have freedom to come into the presence of God with an assurance that He receives us as He receives His Only Begotten Son. Paul says we come in Him. What confidence this gives us when we pray! And remember, we have a dual position with Jesus—on earth and in heaven. We are there in Him; He is here in us. With confidence, we can stand in the midst of trouble, demand the withdrawal of Satan’s forces, and, at the same time, rejoice in the presence of God without changing our physical location.
Then in •Hebrews 3:6 we have a further Word that will but strengthen us for the fray. See it and let it bring you through to a rejoicing place. ...But Christ as a Son over His Own house; Whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence (parresía) and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. As we receive our freedom in Christ, and hold it fast, and as we rejoice in the hope that becomes ours in every circumstance, we discover we are His Own house, His actual dwelling place. Even in the midst of trouble, He continues to live in us. We’re admonished not to let this go.
Going on in the same Book, see this powerful admonition with a powerful promise attached to it. •Heb 4:16—Let us therefore come boldly (from parresía, “with boldness”) unto the Throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. When we are going through difficulty, let us use the bold freedom that is ours to draw right on up to God’s throne where His enabling grace prevails. Here we find the very heart of God. The boldness that we have in Christ allows us to come into the Throne even when we feel unworthy in ourselves. This is the reason for grace.
In •Heb 10:19,22a we have a further powerful promise/admonition. Having therefore, brethren, boldness (parresía) to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith... Where does this boldness bring us? Right on into the holiest place of all. What we’re hearing is, “Come on in close, closer, closer still to the heart of God! Come in with a firm persuasion that He receives you because you come in the train of Him Who took your place in sin.” You know Who that was. It was Jesus!
Then, we have this firm admonition/promise that we dare not ignore. •Heb 10:35—Cast not away therefore your confidence (parresía), which hath great recompense of reward. “It will bring you rich rewards.”NIrV® Don’t let your confidence go! It is exceedingly valuable for the days upon us. In the days to come, when every sweet frame of life will face the battering rams of affliction, what we are laying out here will have more meaning than ever. Store it in your heart and mind. Practice living with confidence in His presence every day.
Now look at these three statements from John telling of the confidence Christ gives us to live in the presence of God. With the utmost assurance of His love and care, we can stand in the Day of judgment. We can come through any trial. We can ask anything according to His will and we can know that He will hear us.
Here we see John’s tender love for the people to whom he was writing. •I John 2:28—And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear; we may have confidence (parresía), and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. The word ashamed means “confounded and brought to disgrace.” Before the Lord Jesus returns, Satan will make every effort to strip us of our confidence, our bold freedom, and bring us to shame. But we have the secret of defeating him. It becomes ours when we learn to abide in Him, that is, Christ Jesus. According to the preceding verse, the Holy Spirit is teaching us now to do this very thing. John speaks: … even as it (the anointing of the Holy Spirit) hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him—I John 2:27b. What a powerful lesson He is ready to teach us all!
Then, the Apostle whom Jesus loved leaves us with this wonderful understanding he had gained: •I John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence (parresía) toward God. It is in our heart that our confidence develops. If our heart condemns us, then our confidence is weakened. The word condemn means “to find fault with, or to bring accusation against.” Frequently, when one’s ability to hold on to their confidence in the presence of God grows weak, it is because of something the heart knows but the mind refuses to admit. A lie, a misconduct, a point of bitterness, a jealousy, a perverse lust, an attraction to something unseemly all may lie in the heart while the mind may deny their presence. That’s the reason the Holy Spirit is getting deep into our hearts to cleanse us there, even beneath where our mind goes.
As we’ve written in The Human Spirit, Dumping Ground of the Emotions, many persons have thoughts and ideas that have so much emotional pain connected with them that they have pushed them down into their spirit. From there, beneath the level of everyday consciousness, these pains and ideas send signals to the mind and heart that they are not worthy to come into the presence of the Lord. They come to think of Him as an unapproachable Magistrate in heaven Who keeps record of all wrongdoing. Sin does demand judgment, but the Lord Jesus has taken ours and has opened the way for us to come on into His Father’s loving arms—with bold confidence.
But here is a wonderful Word of hope. •I John 4:17—Herein is our love (or “love with us”) made perfect, that we may have boldness (parresía) in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. When we are in Christ, no matter where we are or what we are facing, we remain in the presence of God. Just as the Lord Jesus, our Substitute, is there before the Father, so are we here in this world. Again, let’s hear it: we are there before the Father in Him; He is here in the middle of our mess in us. We can never say this too much. There is no conflict brought on by man, Satan, circumstance, or natural disaster that can alter who we or where we are in Him.
And then, to finalize it, see this: I John 5:14,15—And this is the confidence (parresía) that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us. And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him. Take note of the word know two times in this passage. It is from the Greek oída, an old Greek Perfect Verb form with the sense of the Present. It describes a kind of knowing that is based on what has been so tried and perfected that there is no room for doubt. It is a perfect knowing that even supersedes faith. Faith still has a reach in it as it lays hold on what it cannot fully see. But the tests that produce this kind of knowing have been so severe and the standard by which the judgment has been made are so final that nothing of doubt can intervene. What a place of confidence this is for whatever may come upon us!
Out of God’s grace and the finished work of Jesus Christ, there has come an anointing from the Throne that will teach us to walk in what Jesus completed for us when He brought down our oppressor. Therefore, we are not afraid of impossibility, nor are we fearful of the enemy. This is because we are learning to live in the presence of God with a bold freedom to know Him intimately. And, we are learning to come before the enemy with a bold freedom that leaves him helpless.
In my own early learning about our boldness before the enemy, two lessons stand out. The first is that he trembles at the Name of Jesus. My second lesson was that the enemy of our souls hates the Word of God. How much more important that we love that Word and feed on it daily! And oh, that we love the Name of Jesus!
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