Satan is referred to as the accuser. He is the exact opposite of love. Satan works to expose our sins and failures. God, who is love, worked to cover them: “Hatred stirreth up strife: but love covereth all sins” (Proverbs 10:12). Not only are we covered, but the blood of Jesus completely takes our sins away! When Jesus conquered the devil at the cross and rose from the dead, the victory was established. “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10).
Look how busy satan was, accusing day and night! We didn’t have a chance. But Jesus overcame him, silencing his accusations and bringing forth salvation, strength, and the kingdom of God to you and me. Now that he’s been cast down, satan has no access to God the Judge of all (Hebrews 12:23). However, he can still gain access to believers. He can get believers to accuse and divide within the church. And he can get them to accuse and alienate those outside the church.
If you want to overcome the devil, don’t be his mouthpiece. Don’t speak bitterly about others. Instead, mouth what the Lord says in the spirit of love. Love never fails (1Corinthians 13:8). Not only did Jesus’ supreme act of love overcome the devil, but the children of God continue to overcome through Christ: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Rev.12:11). Overcoming is connected to our words and deeds, as seen in this verse concerning testimony and the yielding of our lives. It’s all powered by love, and the most powerful love is found in the blood of the Lamb!
By the blood
We’ve been considering that the words we speak are important. Consider also that the blood of Jesus actually speaks. Our lives have been changed because of the blood. At some point, that blood spoke of the love of God to us. It spoke forgiveness, for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22).
The blood spoke of the ultimate sacrifice that was made on our behalf. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus spoke this as instruction to His disciples, that they would love one another. At least they were friends! But “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). WE were His enemies, and yet the blood spoke of loving reconciliation to God.
The blood spoke of God’s care for us, that it wasn’t acceptable that we should perish, but that the highest price should be paid for our redemption. Never let satan speak to you and accuse God of not caring! He cared so much to pay the price when He first looked upon us in our sins and failures. Now He looks upon us through the filter of His cleansing blood.
The blood speaks now, that you are free to approach a throne of grace. Nothing is being held against you! The devil holds much against you, but the blood rebukes him, saying, “Speak no more!” It has silenced his accusations from the time of the cross. Let it also silence your own self-accusations. Go before God in the boldness of faith. Because of the blood, nothing hinders.
In the old covenant, the priests had to have the blood of animals sprinkled on them, on their ear, thumb, toe, and garments, in order to make offerings. It was a bloody mess. One reason for this was to reveal how serious sin is. The witness of blood on the altar revealed the great need of mercy and atonement. Today there’s no longer need to bring such an offering, because the perfect offering has been made once and for all!
In this way, the blood not only speaks to us, but also to God. “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24). God the judge of all no longer hears satan’s accusations. He hears the blood of Jesus, which speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
What is it that Abel’s blood spoke? After Cain slew Abel, the Lord found Cain and asked, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10). Abel’s blood spoke retribution. It cried out for justice. The blood of Jesus speaks better than that, even as James confirms: “Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13; NKJV).
We are children of God’s favor, and that same blood covers us as the blood over the doorposts covered Israel in Egypt. Because it has cleansed us, the destroyer has no right to harm us. Nonetheless, Christians do suffer from the works of the enemy. But they don’t need to take it sitting down. Because of the blood of Jesus, the enemy has no right to do what he does, and he must be resisted. I believe God goes before us and shields us from more enemy influences than we realize. The blood again rebukes the devil and says, “Go no further.”
Some believers like to “plead the blood” in prayer or “claim the blood.” It’s a good idea. It’s not necessary to quibble about pleading or claiming. The point is that we need to appropriate by faith the power of the blood- for cleansing and protection. The blood testifies of Christ’s overcoming, and we get to share in it.
The word of testimony
His victory becomes our testimony. Because of the blood, every believer has a testimony. What comes out of your mouth testifies to what’s inside. That’s why it’s so important to line up our speech with the reality of Christ’s work, both in general and in our lives.
In general, the word of your testimony can simply mean declaring God’s Word instead of giving in to the desperate appearances of threatening situations. Quoting God’s promises can strengthen you and overcome the enemy, if you resist him long enough. On the other hand, speaking contrary to God’s word (like, “it’s hopeless!”) is self-defeating.
A testimony can also be the telling of your personal story. Scripture is loaded with testimonies from God’s people declaring what He’s done for them. Don’t be shy about giving glory to God and sharing with others how He’s working in your life. So many people gripe and complain about all that’s going wrong. This more or less gives testimony to what the devil’s doing. It’s better to speak of what’s going right and giving thanks to God.
A testimony is powerful in overcoming worldly objections. You can reason with obstinate atheists until you’re blue in the face, and they’ll continue to deny God’s existence. But they have a hard time refuting a testimony. In one discussion I said, “If there’s no God, how do you explain me? He changed me!” In other words, it’s not about philosophical arguments here. I actually know Him! Atheists don’t like that. They can’t explain how a selfish and hedonistic sinner suddenly changes and loves Jesus. One said to me, “Give yourself some credit.” Ha! It just doesn’t happen apart from God! With humor, I said something like, “I’m glad you think so highly of me, that I could make such an incredible change like that.”
The odds are against us in this world. If you became a Christian, it was supernatural. And if you’ve faithfully remained a Christian, it’s supernatural! It’s not because you were a supremely sensible and capable person, and you just happened to deceive yourself and think it was Christ. What keeps you from going back into the world and living sinfully? It’s the Lord in your life.
After my conversion to Jesus, I shared my testimony with nearly everybody. No one could deny that a change came over Rick. As a result, some of my friends and family believed. How you came to Christ can be a powerful witnessing tool.
But a testimony is more than just a conversion story. It’s also connected to our identity. What is the word of your testimony concerning who you are? Do you say, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace”? The Bible says differently. You WERE a sinner, but then you were saved by grace. You became a new creation (2Corinthians 5:17), and are now counted as the righteousness of God (2Cor.5:21). Don’t buy into the bad teaching that says you’ll always have to struggle with sin. The Bible gives a different testimony: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:6-7). Make sure your testimony lines up with what the word says, and you will find less struggles and more overcoming.
Some believers struggle with a sense of unworthiness. They subconsciously or consciously think, “How can God love me?” And the devil pipes in and says, “Don’t expect Him to bless you!” The word of your testimony needs to be in line with God’s word. That sense of unworthiness has to bow to the supreme love that God’s bestowed on us, “that we should be called children of God” (1John 3:1). God thought you were worthy enough to die for, and not just save, but make you his dear child. Otherwise, why would He have given the best? He paid the highest price, and you need to know “that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1Peter 1:18-19). If someone shelled out silver or gold on your behalf, you might feel pretty special. It would be a blessing. Yet God went further and shed blood for you. This is more personal than valuable rocks. It is the very life of God Himself. There’s absolutely nothing of greater value. This is your story. Testify of it when feelings of worthlessness come knocking on your door.
Loved not their lives
Understanding the significance of God’s shed blood for us should produce a response of love in turn. If God didn’t withhold His best, why should we? When you come to know and believe the love of God, nothing else seems to matter. It says that the overcomers “loved not their lives unto the death.” It’s God’s kind of love that overcomes, and this love is selfless. Many cannot comprehend this. They don’t realize that there’s actually great gain in letting go. As Jesus said, “he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39). It’s a simple exchange. You let go of the temporary in order to gain the eternal. You let go of what is small, tiny, and minimally satisfying in order to gain what is rich, full, and abundant.
It takes knowledge and faith to be able to make this exchange. Consider the parable of the merchant: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matt.13:45-46). This is often taught as Jesus giving up everything for His church, the pearl of great price. But I believe it simply teaches this principle of exchange. The merchant sold everything he had when he found that pearl of great price. Why? Because it was worth the temporary loss of his other inventory. He knew he could make an even greater return from that pearl than from all he had before. It was just good business. But it took knowledge and faith. He had to know about the value of the pearl, and he had to trust that his loss was really no loss after all.
When you get a revelation of the glory and love of God, it’s easy to let go of all else. Nothing compares! Even if loving not your life means “unto the death,” you’ve gained everything! Paul understood this. When a prophet revealed that great troubles awaited him in Jerusalem, the disciples tried to dissuade him from going. He responded saying, “What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). Paul was an overcomer, not loving his life unto the death. And the Lord preserved him anyway- he didn’t die at that time in Jerusalem! But he understood the cause of the kingdom. He lived for something bigger than himself.
Jesus offers us more than this life holds. He offers us a bigger cause than ourselves. The devil kicks and screams at those who take up this cause, but he ultimately fails. The secret of life is found in this pearl of great price. We’ve achieved victory when we can say like Paul, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
This is a difficult item to preach. No preacher can make anybody want to give up their lives for Jesus. They can try to manipulate and make you feel guilty if you don’t, but nobody can bring about a true change of heart except the Holy Spirit. Don’t feel condemned if you haven’t quite arrived to this yet. It’s a start that you are willing to be brought to this place of life-yielding in Christ. Go before the Lord and say, “I’m willing- make me able!” Delve again into the blood and discover further revelations of His love. Become knowledgeable of the pearl of great price. You will become bold and overcoming as you lose yourself in Him. Perfect love casts out all fear (1John 4:18).