How to Win the Battle

How to Win the Battle

God desires to be in relationship with those whom he’s made in his image—which includes everyone. He created us for relationship with himself and one another. Yet after the Fall, this default setting of loving God and others was broken. Once our first parents succumbed to the enticements of the serpent in the Garden, human nature became selfish—and unkind—and possessive—and avaricious. Rather than looking upward to God and outward to others and the creation he had made, human natured turned downward to the serpent and inward to itself. Love for self took the place of love for God. Suspicion of others took the place of reaching out to them. Humans began to live according to the values of the serpent rather than the values of God. Consequently, instead of peace, they experienced war. Instead of making a truce with God and others, humans took upon themselves all sorts of battles. But we can take heart. All is not lost. For in this morning’s passages, we’re provided principles that teach us how to win the battle against our foe.

Turning first to where we left off in Exodus 17, we see that having escaped the pursuit of the Egyptians by way of the LORD’s miraculous provision, the Israelites once again found themselves under siege, this time by the Amalekites. As stated in verse 8, “The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.” Although no reason is given for this attack, we know that the Amalekites were descendants of Esau,[1] Jacob’s twin brother[2] which, as one scholar notes,[3] may indicate the origin of an enmity stretching back hundreds of years. If you’ll recall, the source of the enmity between them escalated when Esau sold his birthright to Isaac[4] and, by Isaac’s deceit, Esau was later deprived of his blessing and inheritance.[5] If, over time, a pattern of resentment and hostility developed between the nations that descended from the brothers, this may be part of the reason for the Amalekites’ attack upon Abraham’s—formerly known as Jacob’s—descendants now. What is more, when Scripture later looks back upon this incident, it notes that the Amalekites “had no fear of God.”[6]

Whatever the precise reason for the Amalekites’ attack, Moses, God’s chosen leader over his people, rose to their defense. At stated in verse 9, he told Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” Although this is the first time that Joshua is mentioned in Scripture, it won’t be the last for eventually he’ll succeed Moses as Israel’s leader. But for now, this battle would be fought not only by Moses having Joshua rally the troops but also by his turning to the LORD. As Joshua prepared his men to fight, Moses set out to stand on the top of a hill with his staff—the very staff he had had with him when God first sent him to lead the nation of Israel after appearing to him in a bush that, though burning, wasn’t consumed.[7] This was the staff that the LORD had turned into a snake—and back again—in order that the Israelite people might know that it was indeed the LORD, the God of their fathers—of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—who had appeared to and sent Moses to lead them.[8] And, as we noted last week, this was the staff that Moses used to turn the Nile River into blood in the first plague against Pharaoh[9] and that subsequently, as stated earlier in Exodus 17, struck the rock at Horeb to provide water to the thirsty—and grumbling—Israelites in the desert.[10]

The roles of both Joshua and Moses are highlighted in the battle against the Amalekites. As stated in verse 10, “So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.” Whereas Joshua set off for battle, Moses, his brother Aaron, and Hur “went to the top of the hill.” Concerning Hur, one commentator notes that in later tradition he was “attested…as the husband of Miriam, Moses’ sister, [and] was possibly the grandfather of the famous artisan of the tabernacle, Bezalel.”[11] But the curious part in this narrative is found in what occurred next. As related in verse 11, “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.” What this verse makes evident is that Joshua and his men couldn’t win this battle by relying solely on their strategic know-how. In order to win, they needed Moses standing “on top of the hill with the staff of God in [his] hands” (verse 5). As long as Moses held up the staff with his hands, the Israelites would have the advantage; but when he lowered his hands, the Amalekites would. Now if you attempt to raise your hands over your head for any length of time, you quickly become aware of Moses’—and therefore Israel’s—problem. For holding our hands over our heads isn’t a resting position. After a while, we need to put them down again. Yet if Israel was to have any chance of winning the battle against the Amalekites, Moses’ staff needed to be held overhead. Therefore, what was Moses to do?

A solution is provided in verse 12: “When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” Perfect! The men found a rock for Moses to sit down upon so that even with his hands raised overhead, they could be reached and held up by his brother Aaron on one side and Hur on the other. These two men were able to keep Moses’ hands steady until sunset. That’s a long time both to hold up your own hands and for others to help hold them up. But in the end, it was worth it for, as stated in verse 13, this was how “Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” Joshua won this battle not only with a sword but also with the staff of Moses, the LORD’s prophet.

Now the Amalekites’ defeat wouldn’t be temporary. Although God’s people would again face them in battle,[12] for having thus attacked the Israelites now, one day they would be wiped out. As stated in verse 14, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.’”[13] This was a battle for Joshua, destined leader over Israel, to remember. In the future, whenever he looked back upon this day, he would know that the LORD had delivered him from the evil of the Amalekites not only at the battle of Rephidim but, one day, forever.

Subsequently, as stated in verses 15–16, “15 Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. 16 He said, ‘Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.’” Moses’ reliance upon the LORD resulted in the defeat of Israel’s enemies, the Amalekites. Whereas the Amalekites’ hands had been “lifted up against the throne of the Lord,” Moses lifted up his hands to the LORD. And hereon in the LORD would “be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” So yet again in this account we see the LORD teaching his people that he could be trusted to care for them in battle. Indeed, that Israel turn to and rely upon him was the constant lesson the LORD taught them:

When they were enslaved by Pharaoh;

And when they were trapped between the Red Sea and the Egyptians;

And whenever they needed water and food.

The LORD desired his people to turn to and rely upon him—because they were his. Because he created them for himself. Because he desired a relationship with them. Because he wanted them to know that he was God and they were his people; he was their Shepherd and they were his sheep.[14] In all things, the LORD wanted his people to know that he could be trusted to provide—and watch over—and deliver them from evil.

And so does the LORD still desire his people to know. As we turn to our New Testament passage from Ephesians 6, Paul exhorts the Ephesian believers, verse 10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Those who belong to God in Christ are to be strong not in ourselves—but in the Lord; not in our power, but in his mighty power: On the one hand, as was true for the Israelites, we’re to place our trust in him as we turn to and rely upon him at all times; on the other, as was true for the Israelites in their battle against the Amalekites, we have a part to play in this battle. For whether we’re aware of it or not, all who know, love, follow, and seek to serve Christ Jesus are involved in a battle. This isn’t a physical battle as was the case for the Israelites but a spiritual one against a foe who, though invisible, is real—and evil—and ferocious.

Therefore, as stated in verses 11–12, Paul urges believers: “11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Though many today might roll their eyes at the thought of Satan, the devil, or find belief in him to be quaint, they would be unwise to do so for our foe is an ancient one who is alive and well. He’s the very devil who lured our first parents away from God in the Garden of Eden and he continues to do his dirty work. His existence is why we need “the full armor of God” so that we can take our stand “against [his] schemes.” Again, though we may not be involved in a struggle “against flesh and blood” as the Israelites were when attacked by the Amalekites, make no mistake: Whether or not we’re aware of it, all who know and love Jesus Christ are under attack. All who know and love Jesus Christ are in a struggle against an invisible foe and his minions, “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Concerning this list, one scholar notes, “these terms all refer to powerful spiritual beings that make up the ‘power of the air’…ruled by Satan.”[15] As Satan sought to destroy God’s good creation in the Garden of Eden, so he continues to seek to destroy God’s good creation now. He does so by seeking to keep blind the eyes of those who have not yet believed and received the Son of God, Christ Jesus, as their Savior and Lord; and he does so by waging battle against those who do believe and have received the Son of God, Christ Jesus, as their Savior and Lord. In this passage, Paul is addressing the latter.

Because of “the devil’s schemes” (verse 11), you and I are called to be ready to do battle against him. If we’re to take our stand against him and be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power (verse 10), then, Paul repeats, we’re to: “Put on the full armor of God” (verses 11, 13). We’re to put on God’s full armor “so that when the day of evil comes,” verse 13, “you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Only being strong in the Lord and putting on his armor will enable us to stand for the day of evil is happening now. As Paul states earlier in his letter, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”[16] The days are evil now because the devil is on the attack now. As Peter similarly urges,

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.[17]

Peter, too, strikes a balance between relying on God in Christ and resisting the devil. Although Christ will, without question, one day return as judge to deliver his people from evil once and for all,[18] until he does his followers need to realize that they’re engaged in a battle against evil. And, again, in order to win this battle, we need to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (verse 10) and “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (verse 11).

Paul goes on to metaphorically describe the battle gear, the armor of God, that followers of Christ need in order to wage battle against the evil spiritual forces that are at work. As stated beginning with verse 14, believers are to “Stand firm then,”  

First, “with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” As our Lord Jesus proclaimed himself to be the way, and the truth, and the life, the only way to our heavenly Father,[19] so the lives of those who follow him are to be characterized by truth. The only way to win battle against the devil, the father of all lies,[20] is by living and speaking the truth of who Christ is and what he taught;

Second, believers are to stand firm “with the breastplate of righteousness in place.” This is not our righteousness, but the righteousness given to us by God in his Son, Jesus Christ.[21] For our righteousness is the result of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. Having taken our sins upon himself, he has given us his Holy Spirit in order that we might obey him. And the best way you and I can thank him for his sacrifice on our behalf is by seeking to live as he did and, in so doing, demonstrate that we belong to him. As John similarly teaches,

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.[22]

In addition to being people of truth who act rightly, believers are to stand firm, third, verse 15, “with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” As those who believe Christ and his Word, Jesus’ followers shouldn’t be surprised by evil, but instead should be ready to combat it with the gospel of peace. For only by way of Christ, who came not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him,[23] will human battling end and God’s peace result. As one scholar notes, “Ironically, the peace that comes from the gospel readies one for war against evil.”[24]

Fourth, Paul states in verse 16, “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” This faith isn’t placed in ourselves or in our own ability but in Christ and his Word. For we can be certain that the flaming arrows of the evil one will come and, when they do, Christ is the only one who can extinguish and shield us from them. For this is why Christ came to earth; this is why he was sent to earth by the Father: to extinguish those flaming arrows and the one who is slinging them. As the author of Hebrews states concerning Christ:

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death…. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.[25]

The fifth and sixth pieces of the armor given us by God to protect and help us take our stand against the devil’s schemes are found in verse 17: “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The message of salvation in Christ and Scripture—his communication of who he is and who we are and of how we can know him—need to be disclosed to us. That disclosure is found in the Son he sent and the Scriptures he left by the Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to the truth of who God in Christ is;

Seventh and last, as stated in verse 18, followers of Christ Jesus are to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” As the Amalekites couldn’t be defeated by Israel’s power alone, Satan cannot be defeated by our power alone. We need both God’s power and one another to win this battle. We need to pray to God “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” We need to bring him big requests—and small requests; we need to bring him our requests not only on Sunday but also tomorrow and four months from now and four years from now.

But we shouldn’t only bring our own requests before God but also the requests of all the Lord’s people. Here at Linebrook, we seek to be fierce and fearsome pray-ers. This is precisely what our awesome Jesus wants us to be. As he taught his disciples, and as we pray each week, he wants us to be those who:

go to our Father in heaven and praise his name;

and pray that we’ll live according to his kingdom’s values;

and pray for our daily bread, our most basic needs;

and ask his forgiveness when we sin and forgive others when they sin against us;

and turn to him that he might deliver us from evil, from Satan, the evil one;

and give him the glory both now and forever.

Again, we’re to pray these things not only for ourselves but “for all the Lord’s people” for we are one with him and with one another by virtue of his Holy Spirit who seals, indwells, and binds us together.[26]

Now although the devil is a fearsome foe, those who believe in Christ must never forget that his forces are no match for Jesus Christ who, “having disarmed the powers and authorities, …made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”[27] As Paul states earlier in Ephesians, God’s power “raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.[28] Therefore, we can take heart in knowing that the outcome of our battle, like that of the Israelites against the Amalekites, is a done deal. Though we will continue to do battle against Satan, our ancient foe, one day, as the name of Amalek will be completely blotted out from under heaven,[29] so, too, will Satan’s. As John proclaims in the book of Revelations, “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”[30]

Dear brothers and sisters, the outcome of this battle is guaranteed. If we want to win the battle, let us stand firm by being “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (verse 10) and putting on the full armor of God (verses 11, 13) so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes (verse 11).  Therefore, today and every day, let us stand firm by:

Speaking what is true;

Doing what is right;

Not being surprised when the devil attacks by trying to make us question the truth of God’s Word[31] or the truth of God’s goodness,[32] as he did with Eve in the Garden;

Studying Christ’s Word and believing in its truth;

Resting in his salvation;

Praying—talking with him—at all times, in all circumstances, for all his people.

This is how we will win the battle—by turning to and relying upon him who is our Shepherd, Savior, Protector, and King.

Let us pray.

Benediction: Jude 24–25 24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

[1] Genesis 36:15–16: 15 These were the chiefs among Esau’s descendants: The sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau:

Chiefs Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, 16 Korah, Gatam and Amalek. These were the chiefs descended from Eliphaz in Edom; they were grandsons of Adah.

[2] Genesis 25:24–26: 24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 25 The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau.26 After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.

[3] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 17:8.

[4] Genesis 25:29–34: 29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.) 31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” 33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.

[5] Genesis 27:5–10, 22–29: Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the Lord before I die.’ Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. 10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies….” 22 Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he proceeded to bless him. 24 “Are you really my son Esau?” he asked. “I am,” he replied. 25 Then he said, “My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing.” Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here, my son, and kiss me.” 27 So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said, “Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed. 28 May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness—an abundance of grain and new wine. 29 May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.”

[6] Deuteronomy 25:17–19: 17 Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. 18 When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and attacked all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God. 19 When the Lord your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!

[7] Exodus 3:1–6: 1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

[8] Exodus 3:16–17, 4:1–5: Chapter 3:16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey….’ Chapter 4: 1 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”

Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

[9] Exodus 7:14–21: 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the river. Confront him on the bank of the Nile, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake. 16 Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened. 17 This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.’” 19 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs—and they will turn to blood.’ Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in vessels of wood and stone.” 20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.

[10] Exodus 17:5–6:The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.

[11] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 17:10. A reference is provided to 1 Chronicles 2:19–20: 19 When Azubah died, Caleb married Ephrath, who bore him Hur. 20 Hur was the father of Uri, and Uri the father of Bezalel.

[12] E.g., Numbers 14:41–45: 41 But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the Lord’s command? This will not succeed! 42 Do not go up, because the Lord is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies, 43 for the Amalekites and the Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the Lord, he will not be with you and you will fall by the sword.” 44 Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant moved from the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.

[13] Emphasis added.

[14] See, e.g., Psalm 100:Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

[15] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Ephesians 6:12. The note references Ephesians 2:2: 1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

[16] Ephesians 5:15. Emphasis added.

[17] 1 Peter 5:8–11.

[18] Luke 21:27: At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

[19] John 14:6: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

[20] John 8:44–45: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. 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. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!” [Jesus is speaking to Jews who were disputing his teaching]

[21] Philippians 3:7–9: But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.; Romans 4:3, 11, 23–25: What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” [Genesis 15:6]…. 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them…. 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.’

[22] 1 John 3:7–10. Emphasis added.

[23] John 3:17–18: 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

[24] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Ephesians 6:15. The note references Ephesians 2:14, 15, 17: 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

[25] Hebrews 2:14–16, 17–18. Emphasis added.

[26] Ephesians 1:13–14: 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.; 2 Corinthians 1:21–22: 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.; Galatians 4:6: Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

[27] Colossians 2:15.

[28] Ephesians 1:20–23.

[29] Exodus 17:14.

[30] Revelation 20:1–3, 7–10 (verse 10 quoted): “1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time…. When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” See also Revelation 12:9: The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray….was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

[31] Genesis 3:1 notes that the serpent asked Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Emphasis added.)

[32] Genesis 3:4–5 record how the serpent went on to contradict what God had told Eve, presenting God as one whose motives weren’t good: ““You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”