For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. -Mark 5:8
How complete is our Lord’s power and authority over the devil.
We see it in the cry of the unclean spirit, ‘I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.’ We see it in the command, ‘Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit’, and the immediate obedience that followed. We see it in the blessed change that at once took place in him that was possessed: he was found ‘sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind’. We see it in the petition of all the devils, ‘Send us into the swine’, confessing their consciousness that they could do nothing without leave. All these things show that one mightier than Satan was there. Strong as the great enemy of man was, he was in the presence of One stronger than he. Numerous as his hosts were, he was confronted with One who could command more than twelve legions of angels. ‘Where the word of a king is, there is power’ (Eccles. 8:4).
The truth here taught is full of strong consolation for all true Christians. We live in a world full of difficulties and snares. We are ourselves weak and compassed with infirmity. The awful thought that we have a mighty spiritual enemy ever near us, subtle, powerful and malicious as Satan is, might well disquiet us, and cast us down. But, thanks to be unto God, we have in Jesus an almighty Friend, who is ‘able to save us to the uttermost’. He has already triumphed over Satan on the cross. He will ever triumph over him in the hearts of all believers, and intercede for them that their faith fail not. And He will finally triumph over Satan completely, when He shall come forth at the second advent, and bind him in the bottomless pit.
And now, are we ourselves delivered from Satan’s power? This, after all, is the grand question that concerns our souls. He still reigns and rules in the hearts of all who are children of disobedience (Eph. 2:3). He is still a king over the ungodly. Have we, by grace, broken his bonds, and escaped his hand? Have we really renounced him and all his works? Do we daily resist him and flee? Do we put on the whole armour of God and stand against his wiles?
*Excerpted from Day By Day With J.C. Ryle: A New Daily Devotional of Ryle’s Writings by J.C. Ryle (Christian Heritage, 2011).
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