Excerpted from Life on the Highest Plane by Ruth Paxson (1928).
Hebrews 2:10: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
The believer should always look upon Satan as a defeated foe. He has already been overcome by the Captain of our host. Any power which he exercises today is only a permitted power that God may get greater glory to Himself through the victory gained by His child before a doubting world, and also that the Christian’s life in Christ may be deepened and strengthened.
Satan was permitted through his human tools to stone Stephen to death but through Steven’s gloriously triumphant martyrdom God won the crown jewel from Satan’s diadem, Saul of Tarsus. He was allowed through human instruments to put to death the Lord of glory but in doing it he sent himself to the bottomless pit.
That wicked one has no claim whatever upon one who is born of God and he has no power to harm or hurt him. The believer who is hid with Christ in God and who is one with his ascended Lord has the right to claim the perfect protection which that position provides and to reckon himself as a conqueror in Christ Jesus.
1 John 4:4: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
Words of Grace for Strength
We find four significant thoughts in this teaching from Ruth Paxson:
Satan is a defeated enemy.
The only power that he has is that which our Captain allows him.
And regardless of what we may suffer, or how we may be persecuted in this life, no eternal harm can come upon us because ultimately in our Captain we have won the victory.
The Captain of our salvation is Jesus Christ, and through His finished work on the cross of Calvary (His death, burial and resurrection being the proof of His victory), Satan has indeed been defeated. Yet, until our Captain returns in power and great glory to set His feet on the Mount of Olives and set up his earthly Kingdom, Satan remains the ruler of this world.
Therefore, we cannot afford to take Satan for granted even in his defeat, for without Christ we are weak, and the enemy is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). We are not to fear the enemy, for our Lord, our Captain, is greater; but we need be wise to his ways, discerning his intentions. Satan knows our weaknesses and he will exploit them unless we’re standing steadfast in the strength and power of Christ. Seeing Stephen as our example, though he faced a martyr’s death, without fear he proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and saw his Savior standing to greet him into eternal life.
There is one more lesson to be learned from this excerpt:
Our Captain, for His divine purpose and in His will, can change any life, even that of the vilest offender, and mold that life into one of victorious service.
Saul of Tarsus, Saul the persecutor, met the Captain in all His blinding Glory on the road to Damascus. And in Acts chapter 9:15 we are told that the Lord saw him as a chosen vessel, yet He also said, “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16).
The world is full of sinfulness and wickedness, and Satan will use every device he has available in these last days. One only need to read the book of Revelation to see that in the fullness of biblical prophecy. Yet, the outcome is known and will come to pass as prophesied.
In the meantime, we need to be obedient to our Lord, and serve Him, our victorious Captain, for there is work He would have us do, and He would not see us lost to the wiles of the enemy. Lost not to salvation, for that is as assured as is His victory over Satan, but we can be lost to usefulness in the present world, lost to work in the harvest ripe with opportunity.
Again, with Saul, now Paul, as our example we can say with him: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:16-18).
We would all like to hear a “Well done, good and faithful servant”(Matthew 25:21). We should all be willing to do the work the Master asks of us and therefore earn His praise; thus to have the opportunity to take the crowns He will place on our heads and cast them in praise and worship at His feet.
We are conquerors, with Christ as our Captain we are soldiers of the cross and nothing can keep us from victory and eternal life. Not even Satan himself.
Romans 8:37-39: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Finally, as soldiers of the cross we need to remember Paul’s words to Timothy.
2 Timothy 3:12-14:.“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them.”
Oh Captain, my Captain, my Lord and Savior, be the Captain of my salvation in Your death at Calvary. Your resurrection conquered sin, now you sit at God’s right hand, so life’s battle I can surely win, if in You I’ll therefore stand! —K D T Whitaker 1992
Dr. Tuck Whitaker and Andy Coticchio
Rafter Cross Ministries