Evil and the Power of the Cross

Written by Jeffery Carlson on . Posted in Local

cross9The central story of the Christian Faith is contained in the Gospel. At its' heart the Gospel declares that Jesus died on the Cross to forgive our sin and rose from the dead to give us a resurrection or new life with the Lord.

For most of the Church world, the Cross then is the instrument that the Lord used to forgive sin through the Lord Jesus' atoning death. And while that is gloriously true, there is one aspect of the Cross that is not discussed much these days. The Cross was also the instrument that dealt a death blow to evil. You see behind human sin lies powers and principalities that are often hidden and unseen. For many Christians this dimension of the Cross is hard to talk about, but surely it is important.

A good example of this principle is the idea of the sin of murder. Many people are murdered in our world today, but not all of those crimes are the same from a spiritual standpoint. People kill others for many reasons, but at the heart of some murder is a deeper spiritual power and enmity against the Lord that lies behind it. Something like this is best seen through the Holocaust of World War II. The Nazis didn't just kill the Jews, but their murder was carried out with an irrational hatred against the Jews and ultimately the God of the Jews. If ever the world saw spiritual evil behind sin, it was during the Nazis period of history. Many such examples could be given.

So when the Bible talks about the Cross, it also talks about it with reference to defeating the power of evil that comes from the spiritual realm that is behind it. The Apostle Paul addresses this issue directly in Colossians 2:13-15 where he states:
"God made us alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open same by triumphing over them in him".

The Apostle Paul is telling us that the Cross was the Lord's instrument to publicly defeat sin AND the evil powers and authorities behind it all. In other words, everything behind sin on any level was destroyed by the Cross. This lets us know that Satan and the spiritual realm have been dealt with and that they cannot stop the work of the Lord and His redemptive work on the Cross. The ultimate spiritual battle against the principalities and powers of a fallen world had been dealt a death blow by the Lord Himself.

Now this distinction is very important to the believer. The reason for that is simply this. The believer has not only been forgiven, BUT has been given authority over the spiritual realm that contains evil. This power and authority is the exactly what the Lord Jesus told His people in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18 that He had given when our Lord states, "all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me". Our Lord had been given authority over every demonic spirit and realm of evil that lie behind the sin of the world. Our Lord had won that authority through the power of the Cross. The Cross dealt a death blow to all the claims and accusations against the goodness and justice of the Lord for this world and His people. Satan's lies were publicly answered through the power of the Cross.

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For many believers today, being forgiven by the Lord of their sins is central to our lives as Christians. However, just being forgiven can fail to remove our fears of facing this world and its system of sin and the evil powers behind it. When we understand what the Cross has accomplished regarding evil, we can stand up to it, knowing it is a defeated foe. That evil may disguise itself in many ways, but it always ends up opposing the Lord and His purposes. Such evil is not just a flesh and blood issue (Ephesians 6:12). These are strongholds that the Lord has sent us out to defeat by the power of the Cross. These are the strongholds that the Lord Jesus reminds us of in Matthew 16:18 when He says, "The gates of Hell will not prevail against the church".

We all are living at a dramatic time in history. We are seeing more and more of the face of evil before us each day. As we continue to see this power of evil unfolding, may all of us understand who we are in Christ and what the Cross had accomplished on our behalf in triumphing over the ruler and authorities of this fallen world. May we all find the faith and power to live a truly victorious life in the Lord.
Author Information
Jeffery Carlson
Jeff Carlson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs. Jeff came to personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as a college freshman through the witness of a campus evangelist. He graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois with a degree in engineering and worked in the corporate world for several years before his call to ministry. Following graduation from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California Jeff came to Oakhill Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he currently serves as pastor. Jeff has a tremendous passion to teach, preach and communicate God's Word in simple and clear ways that the average person can understand.

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