We’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. In particular we’ve been looking at how Christ was exalted by his resurrection. We’ve seen that Christ was exalted by moving from a dead state to a living state and by the fact that all three members of the Trinity raised him. We’ve also seen that Christ’s resurrection declared that he was the Son of God, he had satisfied divine justice and he had defeated death. Today I want to demonstrate that Christ’s resurrection exalts him as it shows he has defeated Satan.
Satan has been an enemy of mankind from the beginning. He approached Adam and Eve in the garden and encouraged them to disobey God. We read: ‘Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”‘ (Genesis 3:1-5).
Satan lied. Adam and Eve did die because they ate the fruit. And mankind has died ever since as they have believed the lies of Satan too.
Yet Jesus has shown by his resurrection from the dead that he has defeated Satan. Satan continues to triumph over mankind by bringing about their deaths, just like he did with Adam and Eve. But by his resurrection, Christ has shown that death can no longer keep people in the grave, which means Satan can no longer keep people in the grave either. The author of Hebrews says precisely this: ‘Since the children have flesh and blood, he [Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death’ (Hebrews 2:14-15).
When Jesus spoke to the Jews, he described Satan as a murderer: ‘You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies’ (John 8:44).
Yes, Satan is a murderer. But Jesus is far greater. Jesus is described by Peter as ‘the author of life’ (Acts 3:15). Why? Because Christ now gives life after death to all who trust in him. This means we should no longer fear death and we should no longer fear Satan. Both of our old enemies are defeated by Christ’s resurrection.
Thus Christ is exalted by his resurrection as it demonstrates his destruction of Satan.
So do you believe in Christ and so you have defeated Satan through him? Do you exalt Christ as a result?