Christ Destroys the Devil's Work

1 John 3:7-8

 

7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.

8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (NKJ)

This message was preached March 3, 2002 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com  

This morning we want to look primarily at verse 8.

It is kind of interesting. Of born again Christians some 25 to 33 percent do not believe in the existence of Satan.

Of course we might expect the enemy to not want people to know that he exists.

But even among the Christians, because of the so called moderate influence, many in the church today do not believe that the devil is real.

But it does not seem that John knows about the surveys. He says, in 1 John that he is real, that he has his own children, that he has his own works, that he has sinned from the beginning. But most importantly he says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.

  1. He who sins is of the devil.
    1. It is not that the devil has children by generation or creation.
    2. They are considered of him because the emulate him.
      1. Remember that the Lord Jesus said to the religious rulers of His day, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do …" (John 8:44). McGee
    3. We sin for the pleasure that we think it will bring to us; the devil sins as a matter of principle. Barclay
    4. He that committeth sin is of the devil . . . he that makes sin his business or practice Expositor's Greek Testament, Smith
    5. "He that committeth sin is of the devil." We need to recognize that the Devil is the source of all sin. He is the one who is responsible for sin being brought into the world. He is the one who led our first parents into sin. And the reason that you and I have a sinful nature today is because of the Devil. McGee
  2. The devil has sinned from the beginning.
    1. Throughout the Scriptures the devil is seen at work from the Garden of Eden to the end of the book of Revelation.
      1. He brought sin into the world along with death and sickness, pain and sorrow.
      2. Not from the beginning of his creation but from very early or from the creation of the world or of mankind.
      3. He started out sinning, and he has been at it ever since. He is in rebellion against God. McGee
    2. He is the very person of evil.
      1. He inspires the insanity that causes a mother to take the lives of their children.
      2. He inspires the terrorist to take his own life and the lives of others.
      3. Beyond him we could not explain the great wickedness of mankind who often is more savage than even the wild beasts.
      4. All the cancer, pain, suffering, death, disease, war, famine, natural disasters are the result of sin, and the devil sins from the beginning.
  3. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
    1. The Lord Jesus Christ died for the sin of the world. John the Baptist said, "… Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29) McGee
    2. When Jesus was here, before he went to the cross, He began to destroy them.
      1. Matthew 12:25-29 25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.
      2. Even then Satan had no power to stand against Him.
      3. He cast out demonic powers and manifest His power over them. Colossians 2:15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
    3. Have you ever wondered why Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil but not as yet the devil of himself.
      1. God would not make us robots, to obey Him without choice.
      2. He gives everyone a choice, God or Satan.
      3. There are only two choices.
    4. Jesus continues today to destroy the works of Satan.
      1. He takes the sinner and makes him whole.
      2. He changes the heart of the wicked and delivers them from the power of Satan.
      3. He changes you and me.
        1. It is not ourselves that has power of Satan, but the Lord Jesus.
        2. Jesus has taken the power away from Satan to control the children of God.
      4. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, and Jesus had a right, therefore, to liberate the captive, and to punish him who had possessed him. So Satan still considers it an infringement of his rights when God frees a "sinner" from bondage and destroys his influence over the soul. So he still asks to be let alone, and to be suffered to lead people captive at his will. Barnes on Mark 1:24
      5. The actual word used here, however, "to destroy" is somewhat unusual: the task of Jesus was to undo whatever the devil had achieved, to thwart whatever he tries to do. No doubt it is in his "work" of temptation and enslaving men that is in view. NICNT Marshall
    5. By His obedience and sacrificial death on the cross, He fulfilled that first prophecy in Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."

 

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil [1 John 3:8].

"He that committeth sin is of the devil." We need to recognize that the Devil is the source of all sin. He is the one who is responsible for sin being brought into the world. He is the one who led our first parents into sin. And the reason that you and I have a sinful nature today is because of the Devil. "He that committeth sin is of the devil." Remember that the Lord Jesus said to the religious rulers of His day, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do …" (John 8:44). The interesting thing is that we will take after our father. If your father is the Devil, then you are going to act like him. If your father is our heavenly Father, then you have His nature, and you are going to act like Him.

"For the devil sinneth from the beginning"--that is, he started out sinning, and he has been at it ever since. He is in rebellion against God.

"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." Only Jesus Christ can deliver you, my friend. Go to Him. Don't come to me because I cannot help, and no one else can either. But He can, He is the Great Physician, and I urge you to go to Him with your problem.

The Lord Jesus Christ died for the sin of the world. John the Baptist said, "… Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). He took away the penalty of sin. Since you've trusted Christ, your sins are behind you, and you are saved in Him. Your sins will never again be brought up as far as your salvation is concerned because you have trusted Him. But John tells us here that the Lord Jesus not only takes away our sin, but He also was manifested to take away our sins--plural. He was without sin--He had no sin nature. "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners …" (Heb. 7:26). But He was a human being, and He died as our sin offering, paying the penalty for our sin. But John also says back in verse 5 of this chapter that He was "manifested to take away our sins." The word our is not in the better manuscripts; it is literally "manifested to take away sins"--that is, to take away the sins of all believers. In other words, He died to make it possible for you and me to live the Christian life.

This brings us right to the subject of this section from verse 4 to verse 24: every believer has two natures. This is what Paul talks about at length in Romans 7. He says there, "For the good that I would [the desire of this new nature that I have] I do not [that is, the old nature which has been in control so long takes over]: but the evil which I would not, that I do" (Rom. 7:19). The new nature desires to do good, but the old nature drags its feet. The old nature will not serve God; it is in rebellion against God. Paul writes further, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:7-8). You cannot please God until you are born again. "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you"--there is no idea of a condition here, but rather Paul is saying, since "that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9). Let me be very clear that we are talking about born-again believers. We are not talking about professing Christians; we are not talking about church members; we are not talking about those that have simply been baptized without ever having been saved; we are not talking about those that go through a ritual or belong to some system. We are talking about those that have been born again. The Lord Jesus was manifested "that he might destroy the works of the devil," to make it possible for you and me to live for God.

McGee

 

# (iv) He tells us whence sin comes. It comes from the devil; and the devil is he who sins, as it were, on principle. That probably is the meaning of the phrase from the beginning (1Jn.3:8). We sin for the pleasure that we think it will bring to us; the devil sins as a matter of principle. The New Testament does not try to explain the devil and his origin; but it is quite convinced--and it is a fact of universal experience that in the world there is a power hostile to God; and to sin is to obey that power instead of God.

# (v) He tells us how sin is conquered. It is conquered because Jesus Christ destroyed the works of the devil. The New Testament often dwells on the Christ who faced and conquered the powers of evil (Matt.12:25-29; Lk.10:18; Col.2:15; 1Pet.3:22; Jn.12:31). He has broken the power of evil, and by his help that same victory can be ours. Barclay

Matthew 12:25-29

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

Luke 10:18 And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

Colossians 2:15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

1 Peter 3:22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

All who habitually and characteristically sin are of the devil." This latter was evidently the principal idea in the mind of the apostle. His object here is to show that those who sinned, in the sense in which it would seem some maintained that the children of God might sin, could have no real evidence of piety, but really belonged to Satan. Barnes

 

Heb 2:14 then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

 

He might destroy--That he might "subdue," or that he might overcome him, and "destroy" his dominion. The word "destroy" here is not used in the sense of "closing life," or of "killing," but in the sense of bringing into subjection, or crushing his power. This is the work which the Lord Jesus came to perform--to destroy the kingdom of Satan in the world, and to set up another kingdom in its place. Barnes on Heb. 2:14

 

"The Devil is the source of sin, and therefore the one who leads a sinful life is spiritually connected with him" (Vine). It is in this sense that the person who continually sins belongs to the devil. The devil cannot create or produce children, but men become children of the devil by imitating him. the devil sinneth from the beginning--The devil sinned even before the creation of the world; and ever since, as the prince of this world, he has been both sinning and causing men to sin. destroy--to break down (see Eph. 2:14), to undo. the works of the devil--sin, and all its awful consequences. John argued that Christians cannot be involved in what Christ came to destroy. New Commentary

 

"The devil made no one, he begot no one, he created no one; but whosoever imitates the devil, is, as it were, a child of the devil, through imitating, not through being born of him" (Augustine).

Sinneth The present tense indicates continuousness. He sinned in the beginning, and has never ceased to sin from the beginning, and still sinneth.

The Son of God For the first time in the Epistle. Hitherto the title has been the Son, or His Son. See on 1:7.

Might destroy (ëýów) Lit., dissolve, loosen. Compare Acts 27:41; 13:43. "The works of the devil are represented as having a certain consistency and coherence. They show a kind of solid front. But Christ, by His coming, has revealed them in their complete unsubstantiality. He has 'undone' the seeming bonds by which they were held together" (Westcott). Vincent

 

John gives several reasons why Christ was made manifest: (1) to reveal the Father and enable us to fellowship with Him, 1:2-3; (2) to take away our sins, 3:4-5; (3) to destroy (annul) the works of the devil, 3:8; and (4) to reveal God's love and bestow God's life, 4:9. The fact that sin resulted in Christ's suffering and death ought to be reason enough for the Christian to hate sin and flee from it. John defines sin as transgressing the law. The Christian who abides in Christ (this is the fellowship of chaps. 1-2) will not deliberately break God's law. Every Christian sins, perhaps without knowing it (Ps. 19:12); but no true Christian will deliberately and repeatedly defy God's Word and disobey Him. Wiersbes Expository Outlines on the New Testament

 

There is clearly a progression in the author's thought on sin in this section. He begins with the "sinfulness" of sin--viz., "it is lawlessness," rebellion against God (v. 4). Next he shows its incompatibility with Christ: "He appeared so that he might take away our sins" (v. 5). Then he shows its incompatibility for anyone who lives in Christ: "No one who lives in him keeps on sinning" (v. 6). Now he shows the diabolic nature of sin--its source is the devil who "has been sinning from the beginning" (v. 8). The Expositors Bible Commentary, New Testament

 

But he does not destroy the devil's works by means of his omnipotence: "he was made manifest," he came in his human nature in order by this to destroy the devil himself and his power of death, Heb. 3:11. Lenski

"The Works of the devil" are all that he has wrought. Some restrict the thought to the sins that he has produced (v-5), but John expands. Consider Luke 11:21. Why exclude the consequences of sin on the plea that these are the judgments of God? The effects accompany their cause, the Son destroys both and even him who is the personal cause of them (Heb. 3:11). This destruction began decisively when the Son come to earth; ti goes forward inexorably now; it will be consummated at the Son's Parousia. Woe to those who are the devil's children? Lenski

 

DESTROY (do away, break up, pull down: of a building, or a law or an organized whole) . . . And then, are we to include in the list not only sins, which manifestly belong to it, but also the consequences of sin, pain, sorrow, death? The fact would be true if we did: for Christ abolished death (2 Tim. 1:10). . . . These works the whole manifestation of Christ went directly to nullify: more especially His Death, in which His power over Satan reached its highest point, -the bruising of His heel, in which He bruised the Enemy's head:- for it was in that, that He won for us that acceptance which is sealed by His glorification, and in virtue of which the Holy Spirit is given us, of whose work in us it is said that we live by the Spirit and put to death the deeds of the body, Rom. 8:13. Alford

 

He that committeth sin, This word, to commit, or to do, refers also to outward works, so that the meaning is, that there is no life of God and of Christ, where men act perversely and wickedly, but that such are, on the contrary, the slaves of the devil; and by this way of speaking he sets forth more fully how unlike they are to Christ. Calvin

 

Some of these are scarcely in harmony with Scripture; none, perhaps, fit the context so well as the explanation adopted. If the devil committed the first sin, and has sinned unceasingly ever since, then whoever sins is akin to him, is morally his offspring (John 8:44). There is the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the evil one, and man cannot find or make a third domain; if he is not in the one he is in the other. Pulpit