In Revelation 12, we are told that the devil deceives the whole world, but there are some who gain the victory: “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.” Verses 10, 11, first part. As we come to the cross where Christ gained the victory, we can have the victory too. The verse does not end there. Another word follows—and. “… and by the word of their testimony.”
Gaining the victory over Satan takes the efficacy of the cross, the victory of Christ, but we must also have the same victory in our lives. The union of the Divine with the human must be present. We must unite our lives with Christ’s.
What did Jesus say to those who desire to be His disciples? “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24–26. Oh, how few today have found that personal victory over Satan, but we may have the experience in our lives that happened in Jesus’ life!
“The young want just what they have not; namely, religion. Nothing can take the place of this. Profession alone is nothing. Names are registered upon the church books upon earth, but not in the book of life. I saw that there is not one in twenty of the youth who knows what experimental religion is.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 504.
What is “experimental religion”? That is when it becomes yours. That is when you have experimented with the promises of God and found them to be true. That is when you develop a personal testimony. Not one in twenty, we are told, have an experimental knowledge of religion. Oh, they may know how God delivered the Israelites from Egypt; they may know about Jesus in the wilderness; they may know a lot about Bible stories such as Daniel and the lions’ den, but they have never been delivered from the lions’ den. They have never been delivered from Egypt. They have never surrendered all of their life or self to the naked promises of God.
Not one in twenty knows what an experimental religion is, “but unless the spell which is upon them be broken, they will soon realize that the portion of the transgressor is theirs.” Ibid., 505.
“Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” Revelation 12:12.
How can we overcome the devil? From verse 11 we read that, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” There must be a union of the Divine with the human. Jesus’ experience must become ours. We must be able to testify that God is true. We must stand the test; we must overcome; we must have a testimony.
We cannot be saved by good sermons. We cannot be saved by listening to tapes and CDs or by watching videos and DVDs. They might all be right and good in themselves, but consider the example Jesus left for us. After He was with the disciples for three and a half years, He left them, and they each had to develop an experience of their own.
His experience was no longer sufficient for them. They had to develop their own experience. And so it is that God gives us various experiences and various trials to teach us and to give us this experience that we need, to teach us to trust Him.
Testimony of Victory
The question is, Do you have this experience? Do you have a testimony of victory in your own life?
This is a very serious question. Think of the three Hebrew slaves who were in Babylon when the decree went forth to worship the golden image set up on the plain of Dura. How easy it would have been for them to find it convenient at that particular moment to kneel down and begin to pray to God for help. They would not, after all, have been worshipping the image,
you understand; they would have been praying to the God of heaven. Do you think you could have rationalized like that? What would you have done? Would you have kneeled down and begun to pray to God?
If that had occurred, you could have come from that experience saying, “The Lord saved me from death,” but you would not have had a testimony. The three Hebrews received their testimony by going to the fiery furnace.
When we are at the point of an experience such as losing our job because we will not work on the Sabbath, and we step out on God’s promises, that is when we have a testimony. It is when we come to the place where everything is against us, we have nothing but the promises of God upon which to rely, and we take the stand that God can work. That is when we find that He is true. That is when we receive a testimony.
Too many of us do not have a testimony to bear for God because we have never tried Him. We have always knelt down when the decree went forth. Of course, we are pacified; we still think we are good Christians because we are not praying to the idol—we are praying to God, but we are kneeling down to the idol. We are afraid of that fiery furnace.
The testimony comes when we stand the test through the strength of God, and the test comes to everyone. Satan deceives the world, but we overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony, through the union of the Divine with the human. Jesus’ experience must become ours.
A Different Spirit
Peter noticed that there was something different about Mary, as she attended his meetings, conducted in the Portuguese language, in Quebec. Mary spoke Portuguese. But Peter noticed she had a far away look in her eyes, so he arranged to visit her as he visited all the interests from his meetings.
As Peter visited with Mary, he reviewed things the meeting attendees had been learning. Oh, she was thrilled about what she was learning; she believed the truths he was presenting, but there was something he had said that last night that bothered her, and that was when he saw that far away look in her eyes. The topic that brought that look to her eyes was about the state of the dead.
Mary, like a lot of young girls, had needed some attention, someone to love her, some years before when she was living in Paris alone. Through a friend, she met John, a tall, young man—blond, well mannered, muscular. He was everything that she ever wanted. He was respectful, and he understood her. She fell in love with him. They saw each other a number of times, and even though he visited her in her apartment, she remained pure. They were not cohabiting together. Then the time came that she moved to Quebec, Canada, and he moved with her.
What could be wrong with this boyfriend? It so happened that he was a spirit boyfriend. She did not know at first, but he turned out to be a spirit that had supposedly lived in ages past. Oh, the devil is working so hard on our young people to entrance them through their relationships. Usually, the devil can find a human being, too, that he can work through—just the right one, through whom he can create infatuation within a young man or a young woman whom God wants for His service, and who will distract them from God. In Mary’s case, it appeared as though Satan could not find anyone else, so he sent one of his angels.
Cost of a Testimony
Now, Mary had had this relationship for many years. Her heart was entwined around her boyfriend. But as Peter studied with her, the Spirit of the Lord worked, and this young woman wanted the victory that Jesus had. She wanted salvation. Consequently, she did something that I find very few young people are willing to do, sad to say. She broke the relationship. She and Peter knelt down and prayed, and she committed herself to the Lord.
The spirit boyfriend visited her that night. First, he tried to sweet talk her. When that did not work, he did something he had never before done. He became upset with her; in fact, he hit her in the mouth.
In spite of his warnings, she decided to go forth and be baptized. When the time came for her baptism, she told the evangelist, Peter, as she came into the baptismal pool, “He is here. He is right here in the baptistry with us.” She knew his presence; she had lived with him in her life for a long time.
As Peter commenced with the baptism, he tried to immerse her in the water of the baptistry, but a force held her up. Three times he tried to baptize her; he pushed with all of his might to get her under the water, but something pushed her up. The third time, she lifted right up out of the baptistry and landed in the congregation—wet, dripping, but not baptized.
What would you have done? Would you have continued with the baptism? Mary did. She walked back into the baptistry, and she was baptized.
She was asked to give her testimony at camp meeting that year, and she agreed to do it. As she was preparing, writing down her thoughts, the devil visited her again through her spirit boyfriend, John. He tore up her notes, and told her, “If you give that testimony, you will be dead in two weeks.”
Now, you and I have all heard stories like this, and we know when the devil says it, it happens, right? The person in some way is dead in two weeks. The devil has us all believing. But she decided to give her testimony anyway. She went ahead and gave it. She did not die in two weeks.
The devil is only as strong as God allows him to be. There is a protection that God puts around us. Do not believe everything Satan says. I am sure he would have liked to cause her death. I am sure he would have done anything to bring it about. But day by day she lives under the protection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the same as you and I do.
Ah, dear friend, the devil is seeking to deceive the whole world; he is deceiving the whole world today. But he can be overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony.
I invite you to come to the foot of the cross. Allow some of that blood to drip on you as you meditate upon the sacrifice of Christ. Then step out on the promises of God and determine to do what God says, come what may, and see how the Lord will work so that you might have a testimony also.
Steps to Life was founded by Pastor Marshall Grosboll and his wife Lillian. In 1987, a television program was developed and started to air on the local Wichita, Kansas, television station. A Bible Correspondence School was also started which still exists today. Returning from a camp meeting in July 1991 held in Washington state, Marshall and his family met with tragedy as the airplane he was piloting went down, killing all aboard including his wife and two young children.