This world is filled with trouble. Every person suffers and every person inflicts suffering on others.
We all have trouble with our physical bodies that fail us with as mundane things as forgetting to mail a bill to as weighty a problem as contracting Lou Gehrig’s disease at age 40.
We all have struggles with sin — things that dishonor God that we don’t want to do, but we do anyway, and things that honor God that we do want to do, but we don’t.
We all have people who sin against us — they intentionally give us wrong change when we make a purchase, they speak angrily and bitterly against us, or they take things from us that don’t belong to them.
Those realities are true for every one of the 7,896,686,893 people in this world, including the more than 237,000 that entered this world today. The suffering feels extraordinarily heavy at times, yet we only see the slimmest aspects of hardship. It has been noted that if we could see all the suffering of all the people in the world for even one fraction of a second, the weight of the burden would crush us.
So is there hope in this world? Sure. There are moments of joy and there are places where there should be less hurt and sorrow than others, but even in those places (like godly fellowship in a godly church), there is still an overwhelming amount of grief. In part, that is why Paul warned the Roman church at the end of his letter to them to be vigilant and watching for and guarding against false teachers that would creep into the church and upset the faith of some (Romans 16:17-19).
At the end of such a joyful, hopeful, Christ-centered, gospel-preaching book, those few verses seem to strike a note in the minor key that is particularly discordant — until we read the last verse of that section:
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
There it is. There is our hope, as believers in Christ. Whatever sufferings we experience are not the final experience of our lives. Whatever sin committed against us or by us is not the last word about our spiritual condition. Whatever difficult physical evaluations we face are not our final diagnosis.
The final word is that Satan will be crushed. Soon. And that crushing is not dependent on our finite abilities. God will do the crushing. And in crushing Satan, God will put that enemy under our feet so that we might “tread victoriously on him.”
That’s the final news.
To help us rest in the greatness of the news, consider just a few ways that Satan will be crushed and vanquished.
He will personally be bound and cast into eternal Hell and under God’s unrelenting wrath (Revelations 20). First, he will be bound by God for 1000 years as Christ rules on the Millennial throne (Revelations 20), and then after God releases him for a short time (Revelations 20:3), the devil and deceiver will be “thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelations 20:10). That is Satan’s crushing. There is no victory for him in Hell; he does not rule in Hell, he is ruled in Hell. He is tormented and punished with the unrelenting, fierce wrath of God. God is eternally, infinitely victorious.
He will be rendered powerless against believers (Hebrews 2:14). As believers, we no longer have to sin — we are not bound and enslaved by sin, incapable of doing anything else but sin. We are able to please God and do righteous things. But no man is perfect, and we still inevitably will sin. We will commit individual sins and, at times, fall into patterns of sin. But, there is coming a day (soon) when there will be no power left in sin or the Tempter of sin. He will be crushed, and in that crushing he will be incapable of enticing us to sin by any of his wiles. Sin and the originator of sin will be crushed, under our feet (and incapable of tripping us).
He will be incapable of tempting and leading believers astray (2 Corinthians 4:4; 11:14). In this world he purports to be “light” and “truth” with the intention of leading people away from the One who is the Light of the World (John 8:12; 9:5). But when he is crushed and we have minds that are fully renewed, there will be nothing that Satan could offer (if he could offer it, which he won’t be able to do) that would deceive us or lead us away from the truth and delight of Christ. His false light will be extinguished.
His false ideologies will be exposed and eliminated (2 Corinthians 10:5). The way that Satan deceives believers and unbelievers alike is by disseminating false ideologies and philosophies through the world system. And when Satan is crushed all those falsehoods will be crushed with him. The only philosophy, ideology, and worldview that will remain is, “Christ is King and in Him are all the delights of eternity.” And we will follow Him unflinchingly. There will be no need to question or examine what we hear from our King for He cannot lead us to error and He will only teach us what is good and His truth will be in us (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
The death that comes from sin will be vanquished (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). No death is ever “friendly.” No death is satisfying. No death is good news. Death is ever the enemy of mankind. Death always stings. But “the last enemy that will be abolished is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). Satan’s stinger of death will be removed. What Satan designed to destroy us — death — becomes the redemptive mechanism that God uses to take the believer victoriously into Heaven. There in God’s presence, death will cease being a threat for the believer (and death will no longer be a “hope” for the unbeliever who seeks to escape the consequences of his sin). When Satan is crushed, death will finally and fully also be crushed.
The fallenness of creation will be restored (Romans 8:18-21). Not only do believers suffer from the effects of sin that come from Satan, but so does creation. As beautiful as our creation is, it works imperfectly: plants and animals fail to flourish and die; both plants and animals turn against us killing us with venom and violence; and storms arise in nature to destroy and kill. All that will be crushed along with Satan so that no plant will kill us when we eat it, no animal will attack us, and the weather will not harm us (Isaiah 65:25). All aspects of creation will work as God intended them to work on the days He created them. When Satan is crushed, the creation will be restored.
Everything that comes from and through Satan will be destroyed and we will be free from every kind of deluding influence that comes from him.
As you look at the brokenness of the world around you, do not despair. Yes, at this moment relationships are not restored, illness fills hospitals (and hospitals are unavailable to far too many), governments lead corruptly, husbands and fathers abuse those under their control, wives and children incite anger by hostility and manipulation, bosses are vindictive and employees don’t work, tornadoes arise and destroy homes, and more. Far more.
But the believer must remember that none of those things is the end of the story.
The end of the story is that God of peace will crush Satan under our feet. And if we are in Christ, we will live in victory and joy with Him, eternally.