Jesus was teaching the people. He wanted them to understand the power He held. The people were having a hard time understanding, so he explained. “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace” (Luke 11:21). This “strong man” he is referring to is the prince of this world, the devil. (See Ephesians 2:2: “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”) We are to understand something very important. However, in order to understand this, one must know the difference between one who belongs to Jesus and one who does not.
One, who believes in Jesus by faith, belongs to Him. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Also, understand it by the following verse. “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe” (Galatians 3:22). We then declare that a Believer (Christian) has Jesus in their heart.
A person who does not have Jesus in the heart (an unconverted sinner) does not have Him in His rightful place. Instead, by default, Satan has taken up residence (“a strong man keeps his palace”). In this condition, the person sins willfully, which is a picture of Satan’s “goods.” This is the place where Satan dwells, where he works. This becomes his stronghold, the place of which he wants to keep away from Jesus. Satan then can continue to do his wickedness. That is the condition of all without Jesus in their heart. Moreover, all seems well in that life, until there is a challenge to this status quo. When Jesus is presented, the battle begins.
As Jesus continued teaching them, He told them of a Stronger. “But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils” (Luke 11:22). Jesus is the Stronger One. Notice what He did. Jesus has invaded what Satan thought was his territory. Jesus has been (and still is) destroying Satan’s armor and claiming his spoils. [“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8) and “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15.)] Understanding this, we can learn that one who has repented of their sin, asking forgiveness from God, has been freed from the strong one (Satan) and belongs to the Stronger One (Jesus). A decision has to be made by each individual, for there is no neutral ground in this conflict. If one thinks they can remain neutral and stay out of the conflict, this is what Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” (Luke 11:23). A side must be chosen.
When one believes in Jesus by faith, that heart is now clean. The difference (of the decision) is whether the individual has accepted Jesus into that heart, making His residence permanent. Remember the following must happen: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This decision has to be made. The danger of trying not to make a decision is pictured in what Jesus told them immediately after explaining all of this.
See what happens when one does not become a “new creature” in Christ (believe in Jesus by faith). When one cleans up, lives good for a while without actually having a nature change that is required to live as a true Christian, read what happens. “24. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Luke 11:24-26). When one cleans up, lives religiously, or just in their own righteousness without the true righteousness that comes from Jesus’ finished work on the cross, the last state of the person is worse than the first. That person is left with no hope and will suffer the wrath of God that is yet to come.
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13). Once sealed, always belonging to Jesus (the Stronger One).
Are you one who has cleaned up your life on your own (still bound by the strong one),
Have you become a new creature in Christ (belong to the Stronger One)?