Paul writes something rather striking in his letter to the Romans, “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16.20). If what is striking is not apparent to you yet, let me make it bold, literally, “the God of peace will crush Satan”. One of the first things that ought to come to our minds is the very first promise of the Gospel found in Genesis 3.15, “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
Paul is showing the church what God has done and continues to do, just as He promised He would do. God had promised in the Garden to one day strike down the dragon, to crush him under the foot of the faithful seed of Eve. This is the germination of the Gospel promise. Throughout the Old Testament, and in the New, the understanding of the Gospel promise is expanded, not narrowed. For example, many Christians think that the Gospel is merely the salvation of individual sinners, but that is only one part of the Gospel. Read Dr. Steve Jeffery for more on this topic here.
In Isaiah 9, for example, we see an aspect of the Gospel revealed when we are told, “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9.6-7).
Here we see that the coming Messiah will bear the weight of God’s Law, uphold God’s Law, and disperse God’s Law until all the world is under His rule. The government will be upon His shoulders, of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, and He will establish it with judgment and justice.
Now think of what Paul wrote in Romans 16.20, “the God of peace will crush Satan”. We often do not think of the peace of God being violent, and this is to our detriment. God’s peace can only come to His people by violent means (because the world is full of wicked men) and this, of course is exemplified in the cross where God was reconciling the world to Himself. The murder of God’s Son brought about the peace promised between God and His people. Why is this?
God’s Law is the answer. The goodness of God’s Law required the punishment of sin. God’s Law requires the crushing of Satan. These could only be accomplished by the sacrificial death of God’s Son. God’s Law will be upon the shoulders of Christ. God’s Law will extend from the throne of Christ to cover the earth.
When the Law of God is set in opposition to the peace of God we lose both.
If we want God’s peace, we must submit to God’s Law, and by the mercy and grace of God through the work of His Son Jesus Christ, we can and must do so. As Paul says earlier in Romans, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31).
Christ has crushed the Serpent and, as He reigns in heaven over earth, continues to crush the children of the serpent. For those of faith in the covenant of grace, there is no more accuser, and the Law of God continues to be established as Jesus reigns (not merely in our hearts) but over our churches and nations.
“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'” (Revelation 12.10)