Off Limits

Off Limits
By Steve Johnson

March 2010
Here's a thought: this Easter, while commemorating Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, why not celebrate yours as well? Make it a part of every Easter. Even better still, make it a part of the rest of your life.

Let me explain. One of the most important truths of Scripture is one of the least comprehended by many believers today. The result of this lack of comprehension is that we can end up living as victims instead of victors.

This came home to me again as I spoke to a long-time Christian friend. She had been considering suicide — thoughts fuelled by memories of a horrifically abusive childhood and stirred up through recent mistreatment by her family. In the course of the conversation I shared two significant truths that helped change her perspective.

The first significant truth, unpacked in Romans 6, is that when Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead, so did each and every believer — spiritually speaking. That is part of the result of being “in Christ.” That weekend in history 2,000 years ago has real, personal significance for me and for every Christian. Although the effects were not applied until I received Christ as my Saviour, His death, burial, and resurrection were also mine. It is something I can point to as an historical event. Paul goes on in Romans 6 to point out that one practical implication of our death and resurrection is that sin's power over us has been removed. It is no longer our master (v.9, 14). The war with sin and Satan was won and any battles we have with it now are fought from the position of victory over a defeated foe. One day, sin's presence will be removed from our lives — at our death or at Jesus' coming.

The second significant truth is one that John spells out in 1 John 5:18, 19. He indicates how the whole world (those not in Christ) is in the grip of the evil one, Satan. The world is under his rule and authority.

John goes on to point out how Satan cannot touch, that is, control, believers in Christ. Because Jesus triumphed over Satan through the cross and we are in Christ, we are no longer under Satan's control, rule, or authority. We are off limits to him forever. When the Holy Spirit opens our eyes and we see the truth of our sin and our Saviour, Satan has been thwarted in one of his objectives — that of blinding the minds of unbelievers to the truth that sets them free.

Satan knows he can never reclaim us because God who is greater has delivered us. But Satan can still strive for his other objective, which is to steal glory from God by tempting believers to sin and live in a defeated state.

How does Satan do this? Knowing that he cannot touch us he uses his arsenal of lies, deceptions, and half-truths to snare, trip, and trap believers so we fall.

Think of it this way. Imagine a large field with a fence running through the middle of it. On one side is Satan and his kingdom of death and darkness and on the other side stands Christ and His kingdom of life and light. As believers, we have been transferred from darkness to light by the action of our omnipotent God. It is irreversible because neither Satan nor we are more powerful than God.

Satan knows this, but he leans over the fence, as it were, and starts whispering to us. He utters lies about everything. He will tell us we are useless, worthless, not forgiven, unlovable — even lost. He tells us God doesn't care, can't be trusted, isn't in control, has abandoned us, and that Christ's work wasn't real, to name just a few of the usual lies.

When we start believing the lies instead of holding on to the truth, which was what my friend was doing, and looking at everything and everyone instead of fixing our eyes on Christ, we begin to falter. The next thing we know we fall into sin, despair, and, maybe even like my friend, thoughts of suicide.

Knowing all Christ has done for us through His death, burial, and resurrection — what our true position is in Him, and what Satan can and cannot do to us as a result of Christ's victory — gives us hope for everyday life. And in that hope we live and die with joyful confidence. “Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, [so] we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4, NIV). Jesus' resurrection is proof of our own.

This Easter, indeed daily, join me in celebrating Christ's death and resurrection by victoriously standing firm in the life brought about by our own death and resurrection in Him.
About the author:  Steve Johnson

By Steve Johnson