Good is always stronger than evil

War, pandemic, climate change: bad news dominates the media and makes it seem as though the good in this world were practically invisible. What is quickly forgotten is that victory over evil has long been a reality—and that each one of us can share in it.

The gospel of Luke relates that Jesus sent 72 disciples into the surrounding cities and villages which He planned to visit. Their task was to prepare the residents for His visit by bringing peace into their homes, healing the sick, and announcing His coming. Upon their return, the seventy-two related their experiences with great excitement, expressing particular joy that they had even wielded power over demons.

However, Jesus drew the attention of His disciples to the real reason for rejoicing, namely that their names were written in heaven. And He clearly told them: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10: 18).

The origin of evil

This remark of Jesus can be understood as a reference to the manner in which evil came into the world. God’s creation was originally—and without exception—good. Satan, the devil, is a spiritual being created by God, who was cast out of heaven and the fellowship of God owing to his disobedience, envy, and lies. That is how it is explained in Question 74 of the Catechism of the New Apostolic Church in Questions and Answers (CNAC-QA) .

Satan fell from heaven like lightning. The origin of evil does not lie with God, however. Rather, evil arises from the will to be independent of God. This power completely changes those who fall prey to it: angels become demons, human beings become sinners. (CNAC 4.1.1 ).

The effects of evil

The urge to become independent from God leads human beings to a dead end. As a result, sinful mankind continually responds to the inspirations and influences of Satan. Christians are also vulnerable to these impulses, which often result in loveless, selfish, or self-righteous actions.

The urge to become independent from God automatically leads to a state of remoteness from God. One no longer considers oneself dependent on the grace of God and instead falls for a deceptive illusion of freedom. After all, human beings can only exist in complete dependence on their Creator. Man was created from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2: 4b–25), and after physical death, he will return to dust again.

Christ is the victor

Even though people today are still influenced by the ideas of Satan, he has already been conquered. Apostle Paul describes this in his letter to the Colossians: “He [God] has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1: 13–14).

Evil has already fallen and has already been conquered. All those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour will share in this victory. Paul describes this as follows in Galatians 5: 1: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free!”

Indeed, true freedom lies in complete dependence on Jesus. Believers are thereby liberated from their dependency to sin by making themselves totally dependent on Jesus and His teachings. Those who keep His word will truly become free (John 8: 31–32)—free from old attachments, negative character traits, and feelings of guilt. Ultimately they will even become independent of the influences of the evil one.

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Simon Heiniger
Bible, Divine service, Doctrinal instruction