At his ascension, Jesus through his agent Michael cast the devil out of heaven and down to earth. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. And that work is the fear of death that enslaves us all. By conquering death, Jesus freed us from the slavery of the fear of death. Now we no longer live according to fear, which leads to sin. We aim to live by love, which when perfected, casts out all fear (1 John 4:8).
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil according to the plan of God. In fact, God created “eternal fire” for “the devil and his angels.” To follow the devil, then, is to follow him to eternal ruin. Hence, Jesus put an end to the devil’s schemes at the cross.
Scriptural teaching concerning Jesus’ Devil destroying mission
These introductory paragraphs come directly from scriptural passages. Besides the one noted above (1 John 4:8), here are a number of passages about Jesus’ Devil destroying mission:
“Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out” (John 12:31)
“And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Rev 12:9)
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Heb 2:14–15)
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt 25:41).
“[T]he devil … was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur” (Rev 20:10).
What does all of this mean?
Our three enemies are Satan, sin, and death. Satan uses the latter two (sin and death) as powers to enslave and to corrupt us (Rom 6). When we agree with Satan, we show that he is our father (John 8:44). He has been a liar since the very beginning, and he leads the world and its powers to deceive and to bring the world with him to eternal ruin. John writes, “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).
Jesus brings us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light (Col 1:13). We enter into the kingdom of God which is the presence of God and Christ his Son—light from light. Until the end, we live in a pitched battle of virtue. To love God and to do good vexes the enemy who wants to deceive us, to make us liars, to corrupt what is good and thereby turn it into vice.
Because he was cast from heaven, Satan rages against the church like a lion. But we have a crown of victory over him in Christ so that we can overcome sin: “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him” (1 John 5:18).
The Gospel alone can recreate us or make us born of God so that we can overcome the devil and his works through Christ. And this is the message that the New Testament emphasizes.