Snake Crushers

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The apostle Paul wrote to the Roman church, “For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (Romans 16:19–20).

In commending them for their faithfulness to the Lord, Paul assures these Christians that victory is theirs. Though Satan (perhaps through various persecutions in Rome) was seeking to trip them up, he assures the church that victory is around the corner, for “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” This reminds me of what I preached yesterday from Psalm 91.

God promised Jesus that he would be held in the palms of angels who would keep him from “dashing his foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11–12). The devil used these verses to tempt Jesus to presumptively tempt God. Jesus didn’t take the bait. In fact, by refusing to succumb to the temptation, he fulfilled Psalm 91:13. He trod under his feet the serpent, who was also the lion walking about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). This initial crushing of the serpent’s head would become an ultimate crushing on the cross. There, Jesus would defeat and destroy Satan. The rest of history is merely a mopping up operation. We Christians are a part of the mop.

Because we are in Christ, we too are snake-crushers. God makes it so.

By virtue of our being united to and in Jesus Christ (see Romans 6:1–14), victory over sin and Satan is ours. We are able to tread on the evil serpent and to escape being devoured by the devil who walks about as a roaring lion. How are we doing?

As we find ourselves deep into the second week of lockdown, perhaps temptation is becoming stronger. Perhaps the pull of viewing things we ought not on websites or TV is quite strong. This is a great time to rely on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and to do some serious snake-crushing.

Perhaps you are feeling the power of temptation to snap at others in your home or to selfishly retreat from engaging them. If so, lean on the Lion of the tribe of Judah and tread on the loud and ultimately toothless lion, the devil. Perhaps you are being tempted to despair as anxious thoughts flood your mind. That is understandable, but not inevitable. Looking to your heavenly Father provides you with the ability to crush the head of worry.

Fill in the blanks for your particular temptation. The point is that, in Christ, we share in his victory. We share in his crushing of the serpent’s head. His life, death and resurrection makes it so. Therefore, empowered by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, do some crushing today.

Doug