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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Bound, but not Gagged

When temptations rise, what will you do?

“Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.”

   - Matthew 12.29

...the adversary can do nothing at all against property or people outside God’s permission; but often, as I have said, in the same service the enemy’s depraved will is fed on its own account and God’s good will is served by the dispensation of punishment or fruitful testing.

  - Anonymous, Liber de Ordine Creaturarum, Irish, 7th century

There can be no doubt that Jesus intended clearly to say to the religious leaders of His day that He had bound the “strong man” – the devil – and that from that moment forward He was in the business of plundering his house, and there wasn’t a thing the devil could do about it.

In recent years Christian fiction writers have reaped a good paycheck giving the devil more press than he deserves, even at times making it look as if his powers are almost equal to those of the Lord.


The devil was bound by our Lord at the temptation in the wilderness when he could not, for all his wiles and schemes, move the famished and weary Lord Jesus off His solid stance on God’s Word. At the height of his powers, Adam fell to the wiles of the devil. At the weakest and most vulnerable moment of His entire existence, the Son of God sent Satan scurrying, his tail between his legs.

“One little word shall fell him,” Luther reminds us. Or as Milton put it, regarding Christ’s power over spiritual forces of wickedness in high places, “Our Babe, to show His Godhead true,/can in His swaddling clothes control the damnèd crew.”

The devil and his henchmen have power and the ability to persuade us to wade into temptation, thinking we can survive unscathed. The devil is bound, but not gagged. But his hopes for our destruction – really, he doesn’t care a fig about us; it’s God he wants to ruin – his hopes for our destruction are squelched in the convicting work of God’s Spirit, as we come to our senses, confess our sins, repent, and are renewed in the Lord.

So why not deprive the devil of even the little tingle of joy the he gets in our momentary lapses by avoiding the lapses altogether?

When temptation comes we can either fall through it into sin, or grow through it into a greater measure of sanctification. So when it raises its head, no matter the form, know that it’s the devil – in chains – and don’t stray too close. Resist him, and he will flee.

Then flee to Jesus and the greater joy of your salvation.

Psalm 73.27, 28 (Ellacombe: “Hosanna, Loud Hosannas”)
Then let them perish who depart from You and from Your Word.
All those unfaithful in their heart You shall destroy, O Lord!
But as for me, Your nearness, Lord, is where I e’er will dwell!
I hide myself within Your Word, Your wondrous works to tell.

Lord, grant me the wisdom to recognize temptation and the will to resist and grow through it.

T. M. Moore
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Why does it matter that Christ has bound the devil? Order your copy of
Satan Bound, by T. M. Moore, and discover for yourself the power of Jesus for your sanctification.

[1] Liber, p. 14.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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