READING: Romans 14-16
The story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3 does not name the serpent as Satan, but it does show that someone from the seed of the woman would defeat the serpent and his seed (Gen 3:15). It’s Paul who gives us more details as he concludes his letter to the Romans: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom 16:20). The serpent of old would not win in his conflict against God and His people.
How helpful those words must have been to Paul. He had served God faithfully after his conversion — including planting churches throughout portions of the Roman Empire — and still he longed “to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation” (Rom 15:20). He was willing to go anywhere, to pay any cost, to speak to anyone who did not know his Lord. He knew that his faithfulness put him on the front lines of the spiritual battle with Satan’s forces, contentious Jews, and government and religious officials out to destroy him. What he needed to know was that God was still fulfilling His promise of Genesis 3:15 — He was in the process of crushing Satan. Evil would not be the victor.
Moreover, Paul did not have to fight the battles alone. He had God’s Word, the “prophetic writings” (Rom 16:26) to guide him. Through the Scriptures, he would learn endurance and find encouragement that would give him hope (Rom 15:4). The Spirit of God who lived in Paul brought peace and joy (Rom 14:17), power (Rom 15:13, 19), sanctification (Rom 15:16), and love (Rom 16:30). And, Paul’s brothers and sisters in Christ, including those who worked hard for God and stood the test (Rom 16:3-16), could join him in his struggle through prayer (Rom 15:30). Even Timothy, Paul’s beloved son in the faith, was with him as Paul wrote the letter to the Romans (Rom 16:21).
The Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the people of God — that’s quite a combination that guarantees us victory in the battle. It’s a good, good God who not only provides us such power, but who has already guaranteed that our enemy will be crushed.
- Prayerfully consider if God might be calling you to proclaim the Good News where Christ is not yet known.
- Read Romans 16:3-16 again, considering this question, “What would others say about me when they describe my life?” If you don’t like your answer, ask God to change your heart today.
PRAYER: “God, I praise You that You have already defeated the enemy. Thank You for Your Word, Your Spirit, and Your people.”
TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Corinthians 1-4