For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same…
In God's original empire everything was happiness, and joy, and peace. If there be any evil, any suffering and pain, that is not God's work. God may permit it, overrule it, and out of it educe much good; but the evil cometh not of God. The devil's reign, on the contrary, containeth nought of good; " the devil sinneth from the beginning," and his dominion has been one uniform course of temptation to evil and infliction of misery. Death is a part of Satan's dominion, he brought sin into the world when he tempted our mother Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, and with sin he brought also death into the world, with all its train of woes. Since that time Satan hath ever gloated over the death of the human race, and he hath had some cause of glory, for that death has been universal. There is something fearful in death. It is frightful even to him that hath the most of faith. It is only the gildings of death, the afterwards, the heaven, the glory, that maketh death bearable even to the Christian. Death in itself must ever be an unutterably fearful thing to the sons of men. And oh I what ruin doth it work! Now, this is Satan's delight. He conceives death to be his masterpiece, because of its terror, and because of the ruin which it works. The greater the evil, the better doth he delight in it. And death is very lovely to the devil for another reason — not only because it is his chief work on earth, but because it gives him the finest opportunity in the world for the display of his malice and his craft. Usually with many of the saints, if not in the last article of death, yet some little time before it, there is a ferocious onslaught made by the great enemy of souls. And then he loves death, because death weakens the mind. The approach of death destroys some of the mental power, and takes away from us for a season some of those spirits by which we have been cheered in better days. It makes us lie there, languid and faint and weary. "Now is my opportunity," says the evil one; and he steals in upon us. Hence I believe for this reason he is said to have the power of death; for I cannot conceive that the devil hath the power of death in any other sense but this, that it was originated by him, and that he at such time generally displays the most of his malice and of his power.
I. BY THE DEATH OF CHRIST THE DEVIL'S POWER OVER DEATH IS TO THE CHRISTIAN UTTERLY DESTROYED. The devil's power over death lies in three places, and we must look at it in three aspects.
1. Sometimes the devil hath power in death over the Christian, by tempting him to doubt his resurrection, and leading him to look into the black future with the dread of annihilation. But by the death of Christ all this is taken away. If I lie a-dying, and Satan comes to me and says, "Thou art to be annihilated, thou art now sinking beneath the waves of time, and thou shalt lie in the caverns of nothingness for ever; thy living spirit is to cease for ever and be not," I reply to him, "No, not so; I have no fear of that; O Satan, thy power to tempt me here faileth utterly and entirely. See there my Saviour! He died, for His heart was pierced; He was buried; but, O devil, He was not annihilated, for He rose again from the tomb. And now, O Satan, I tell thee, thou canst not put an end to my existence, for thou couldst not put an end to the existence of my Lord. But now for a more common temptation — another phase of the devil's power in death.
2. Full often the devil comes to us in our life-time, and he tempts us by telling us that our guilt will certainly prevail against us, that the sins of our youth and our former transgressions are still in our bones, and that when we sleep in the grave our sins shall rise up against us. Thou pretendest that thou art one of the Lord's beloved: now look back upon thy sins: remember on such a day how thy rebellious lusts arose, and thou wast led if not quite to indulge in a transgression, yet to long after it. Recollect how often thou hast provoked Him in the wilderness, how frequently thou hast made His anger wax hot against thee." But now see how through death Christ has taken away the devil's power. We reply, "In truth, O Satan, thou art right; I have rebelled, I will not belie my conscience and my memory; I own I have transgressed. O Satan, turn to the blackest page of my history, I confess all. But O fiend, let me tell thee my sins were numbered on the scape-goat's head of old. Go thou, O Satan, to Calvary's Cross, and see my Substitute bleeding there. Behold, my sins are not mine; they are laid on His eternal shoulders, and He has cast them from His own shoulders into the depths of the sea." Once more, you may suppose a Christian who has firm confidence in a future state. The evil one has another temptation for him.
3. "It may be very true," saith he, "that you are to live for ever and that your sins have been pardoned; but you have hitherto found it very hard work to persevere, and now you are about to die you will be sure to fail." "O fiend, thou temptest us to think that thou wilt conquer us; remember, Satan, that the strength that has preserved us against thee has not been our own: the arm that has delivered us has not been the arm of flesh and blood, else we had long since been overcome. Look thou there, fiend, at Him that is Omnipotent. His Almightiness is the power that preserves us to the end; and therefore, be we never so weak, when we are weak then we are strong, and in our last hour of peril we shall yet overcome thee."
II. But now I want to show you that not only has Christ by His death taken away the devil's power in death, but HE HAS TAKEN AWAY THE DEVIL'S POWER EVERYWHERE ELSE OVER A CHRISTIAN. "He hath destroyed," or overcome, "him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." Death was the devil's chief intrenchment: Christ bearded the lion in his den, and fought him in his own territory; and when He took death from him, and dismantled that once impregnable fortress, He took away from him not only that, but every other advantage that he had over the saint. And now Satan is a conquered foe, not only in the hour of death, but in every other hour and in every other place. He is an enemy, both cruel and mighty; but he is a foe who quakes and quails when a Christian gets into the lists with him; for he knows that though the fight may waver for a little while in the scale, the balance of victory must fall on the side of the saint, because Christ by His death destroyed the devil's power.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
WEB: Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,