Sixthly, we can remain free by understanding our victory over Satan in Christ: “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col. 2:15). These believers were being tempted to submit to elementary spirits and the worship of angels. This was very common in paganism. Pagans lived in fear of demonic spirits and would offer sacrifices and perform religious acts to pacify them. Paul says all these spirits have been disarmed and triumphed over in Christ. All these powers are in submission to Christ, and therefore we should not be enslaved by them. Satan no longer has power over the believer because he was stripped by Christ (Heb. 10:14–15).
Christ stripped the devil of his power over believers, including the power of death. The disciples fled in fear at the prospect of crucifixion right before Christ died, but after Jesus’s resurrection all were willing to die and give their lives for Christ. They had been freed from the power of Satan through Christ’s death and resurrection and therefore were willing to die. John taught the same thing about Christ: The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work” (1 John 3:8). Christ came to destroy the works of the devil.
The enemy and his demons (powers and authorities) were defeated on the cross and made a “public spectacle.” Paul is using the terminology of a conquering Roman General. After a victory, a conquering General would take the spoil from the enemy, take captives, and go through the streets of Rome in a parade. Christ did this in his resurrection (Eph. 4:8). Satan and his demons, figuratively, marched with their heads bowed low asconquered foes as Christ gave spiritual gifts to His saints. In Ephesians 4:11, Paul describes these gifts as people with the spiritual gifts of pastor, teacher, evangelist, prophet, and apostle. Christ is our victorious General; he defeated sin and the devil. This would have been particularly important for Gentile Christians in Colossae who had probably come out of demonism and idol worship.
They were now victorious in Christ and had nothing to fear from “elementary spirits.” This picture of Christ conquering Satan also specifically rebuked the false teachers who were worshipping angels (cf. Col. 2:18). In what ways can we apply Christ’s victory over Satan and his demons to our lives and ministry? One, Christ’s victory over Satan means that we must abide in Christ to walk in that victory.
Before Christ went to the cross, he told Peter and essentially the disciples that Satan wanted to sift them like wheat. He then told them that they must pray for an hour in order to not fall to the temptation (Mark 14:38). This happens to believers all the time. We cannot have victory over Satan in ourselves, but in Christ alone.
Therefore, we must abide in him through prayer and time in the Word to walk in that victory. A Christian who does not abide can still be taken captive in some area of his life. Two, Christ’s victory over Satan is very important in ministering to those who are demonically oppressed. Many times believers can stumble in some area of their lives, which opens the door for the enemy to oppress them. In ministering to them, we must help them understand their victory over the enemy in Christ. And, sometimes we may have to declare this victory over them in the name of Christ.
We see that the apostles would use Christ’s name to minister to those under demonic oppression (Acts 16:18).
Our weapons are not carnal but mighty in God for casting down strongholds (cf. 2 Cor. 10:3–5). Our general has stepped on the enemy’s head, and we must walk in that victory and help others do the same.