I’m just curious… in Romans 16:20 Paul says,
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
…and what I want to know is which of two phrases stand out most from this sentence? Is this the phrase that has always stood out?
At one time the crushing of Satan seemed paramount in the verse, but now the fact that God is a God of Peace stands out to me as the utmost. Perhaps for some the notable thing is under whose feet. Somehow in my post-charismatic viewpoint, the militant sword-rattling delight in the crushing of the Evil One takes a back seat to the nature of God as a God of Peace. What does this shift in viewpoint imply? If anything?
The irony of the God of peace crushing Satan under our feet is what stands out most to me.
Interesting juxtaposition! I don’t know that I’ve noticed that before. I think Paul perhaps is bringing to mind God’s promise in Genesis 3… but the radically subversive way in which he ended up accomplishing this is by the way of peace – Jesus’ death on the cross was the victory God won over evil, and we “crush” Satan the same way… hearkening back to an earlier point in the same letter, we might remember that Paul said:
“if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Having never been charismatic, I suppose I can’t be post charismatic; however, I’ve made the same shift in perspective. I now see the sentence and “God of peace” stands out more. I think part of my change comes from a realization that the greatest enemy I have is not outside trying to get at me (the evil one), but within me (the selfish one). How to interpret this verse in such a light? You tell me.
(Being Charismatic) I am totally amazed each time I run across the idea that “peace” can exist where “crushing” does not take place. Whether outside us or as the selfish one inside; Satan is an aggressor, a devouring, roaring lion. We will never have peace where he is not vanquished. Our militancy must never be directed against ‘flesh and blood,’ but neither do we forget to fight. Terms like ‘casting down,’ ‘wrestling,’ and ‘crushing’ are militant terms and they are in our new testament. I am seriously concerned when our proper emphasis on loving our neighbor, somehow, presupposes a lack of aggression against the evil around us. JJB
If the God of peace is doing the crushing, then perhaps the way we resist evil is not with a lot of loud declarations and shouting at the enemy.
I am concerned, however, that we think of a proper response to evil as ‘agression’ when that is clearly NOT how Jesus defeated evil. The Christian life, even in its “crushing Satan” manifestations, needs to be relentlessly cruciform.
I don’t think this means we aren’t resisting evil – it just means we resist evil the same way Jesus did: loving our enemies, praying for those who persecute us, forgiving those who mistreat us. Those ARE the “crushing” actions of the Christian faith, that is HOW we participate in God’s victory over evil. History has borne this out as well – most of the effective resistance movements against evil have been non-violent (Martin Luther King Jr. is a prime example – peaceful, non-violent resistance).
We confront evil, yes, but we do it like Jesus did it.
Is something wrong with my computer? I can’t read all of the comments – each one continues past the line for your sidebar. In fact, when I just typed this comment, I couldn’t see all of it as it wrapped around. Who knows what I’ll end up typing? Some of the text from the original post “hides” behind other text. Here’s the sentence as I read it: “Some Get Thee to a post-charismatic viewpoint” and later “the militant sword-rattling delight in the crushing Bookstore.” I’m sure that’s not what you’re saying. hehe
But, seriously, what is happening? I used IE (don’t hate me) for my browser. Help?
Otherwise, I think I like where you’re going with this. I have delighted more in crushing than I have in following the God of peace.
The display issue you’re having only occurs in IE — I haven’t taken the time to troubleshoot and fix it yet, but I really should do that soon… sorry! IE makes more work for me web designers :^( But I would never advocate crushing a bookstore.
Jacob, Maria, Benjamin,
I agree this is ironic, or paradoxical. In part that’s what I notice, the fact that rather than embrace the paradox of peace, we try to shout out the devil, destroying our own peace in the process. I’ve talked about some of this before, about mundane spiritual warfare and The Subversive Nature of the Ordinary.
Good point — I think for me the issue is more about focusing on militant terms to sword-rattling effect rather than being about the business of expressing the love of Jesus. Showing love to our neighbour displaces evil, which we could say does violence to the kingdom of evil… but simply attempting to drive the evil out merely creates a vacuum.
Not sure I have the best answer! But you touch on the same theme… selfishness vs. love for our neighbour. This is a battle in itself on grounds that we can make gradual progress… which of course in turn displaces the Evil One.