June 20, 2021

Jesus Christ Gave You Authority To Tread On Serpents And Scorpions, And Over All The Power Of The Enemy, And Nothing Shall Hurt You. You're Not A Victim, But A Victor IN Christ. Claim It.

written by Ray Ortlund
[source: The Gospel Coalition]

“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” Luke 10:19

In Dynamics of Spiritual Life, Richard Lovelace proposes that one of the “primary elements of continuous renewal” in a church is “authority in spiritual conflict,” pages 133-144. We are not on the defensive. We have authority from Christ himself. The blows we do receive from Satan “come from a retreating enemy,” as Lovelace says, because of the decisive victory of Jesus on our behalf.

Lovelace draws from Scripture five fall-back strategies of Satan:

1. Temptation

“The enemy strategy here is either to disfigure a Christian’s witness through public scandal, to gain some evidence through which his or her conscience can be accused and discouraged, or to weaken faith in the possibility of sanctification in some contested area.”

2. Deception

“Negatively, demonic agents induce a strong conscious aversion to biblical truth, an inability to comprehend it and a distaste for what little can be understood. . . . Positively, the forces of darkness inspire and empower antichristian religious counterfeits . . . . The deceiving work of Satan can even be done in and through Christian believers, as Christ’s famous rebuke of Peter shows.”

3. Accusation

“Demonic agents italicize the defects of Christians and the churches in the minds of unbelievers and cause true Christianity to be branded with the image of its own worst exemplars . . . . They are also particularly active in dividing Christians from one another into parties . . . . Finally, satanic forces attack Christians directly in their own minds with disturbingly accurate accounts of their faults, seeking to discourage those who are most eager and able to work for the kingdom.”

4. Possession

“The Gospels plainly describe a condition in which human victims come almost helplessly under control of alien personalities.”

5. Physical attack

“From data in the Gospels it appears that demonic agents can occasionally cause illness, at least psychological and neurological ailments like dumbness and epilepsy.”

More should be said about all this, and Lovelace does say more. But he wisely affirms, “The battles we fight against [demonic powers] should not be occasions of anxiety. They force us back to reliance on Christ’s redemptive work and enhance our dignity and authority as redeemed saints who have the power to judge angels.”

[source: CSMonitor.com]

THE Bible tells us that Christ Jesus once said to his disciples unequivocally, `Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.' Was this intended to apply only to Jesus' immediate disciples and to sensational experiences like treading on serpents and scorpions? A lot of people take this view and feel that it would be presumptuous for us to aspire to such dominion and freedom. But others have found that Jesus' promises do apply to everyone, throughout all time, and that no circumstance is too small to prove it. Such proof does require more, however, than just repeating the Master's words in a ritualistic fashion. We have to grasp something of the teachings that underlie the promises and adopt this spiritual standpoint more completely in everything we think and do.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes: `Understanding spiritual law and knowing that there is no material law, Jesus said: `These signs shall follow them that believe,...they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them. They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.''' She later adds: `Jesus' promise is perpetual. Had it been given only to his immediate disciples, the Scriptural passage would read you, not they.''

A young man proved something of this for himself one day when he was dismantling some steel shelving. There was a collapse, and his hand was partially caught between two girders that closed on it with a pincer motion. At first the pain was intense, but as he extricated himself and turned his thought away from the physical injury, he prayed for reassurance. Then the Saviour's words ``Nothing shall by any means hurt you'' came to him with new meaning.

He remembered that someone had once told him that an understanding of this promise can be the most powerful pain-killer there is. He was a student of Christian Science and had previously experienced and witnessed a number of spiritual healings. As he pondered Jesus' assurance and walked away from the scene, the pain subsided within seconds. After a few minutes of being quietly grateful, he felt the pain stop completely. He looked at the hand, saw it was gashed, and wrapped it up. Then he felt confident enough to continue carefully with the job. After a few days the hand was healed with not a mark left. He was also in a better mental state than he had enjoyed for some time, as well as being more than ever convinced that the Bible promises are meant for us too.

Jesus supremely embodied the Christly power, but that doesn't mean his work was miraculous and unrepeatable. He expected his followers to be able to heal too. And he urged the people who came to him for healing to be fearless, trusting, and expectant.

One point that Jesus stressed was that we are all, in truth, the sons and daughters of God. And because God's offspring express His perfect nature, we are not actually the weak and suffering mortals we sometimes seem to be. Christian Science teaches that our true being as God's child is in reality spiritual and perfect, not material at all, and a growing perception of this fact underlies healing through spiritual means. But an understanding of this isn't just something to ``turn on'' when danger threatens. We have to learn to know more of what the children of God know and act more the way His sons and daughters act.

What does this entail? It means among other things expressing more consistently the spiritual qualities that so distinguished the character of Jesus, such as wisdom, strength, love. And above all, we must seek the humility which realizes that the healing power, as well as any other power for good we have, comes from God, and not from any human ability of our own. Understanding this makes it possible to prove this power progressively in our lives, no matter how harsh circumstances may seem to be. And each added proof, however small, helps to make our spiritual conviction deeper and more unassailable.

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