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It is war! Many believers today have no idea about the spiritual war in which they are engaged—knowingly or unknowingly. It is the purpose of my post to help make you more aware of this war in which we are as believers in Yeshua.
The Bible says it is war
I grew up in a Baptist family and congregation. Since childhood, I went to Sunday school and memorized scriptures and listened to the Bible stories. And for most of my life, I did attend Church services regularly. However, I do not remember ever being taught about the two kingdoms—the Kingdom of God and the pseudo (false)-kingdom of Satan—and the conflict between them. Not to mention hearing about principalities or the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. However, Ephesians 6:12 indicates that Satan was given power over some locations on earth (Rev. 2:13, 13:2) and has a certain power to work in the unseen spiritual world. It is war!
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (NKJV).
The kingdom of the enemy
When a person becomes a child of God, that person will start having an enemy that he or she did not have before—Satan. Because all of us, before we were translated into the Kingdom of God, did belong to the kingdom of Satan or the kingdom of darkness (Col. 1:13, 1 Pet. 2:9). We were darkness (Eph. 5:8) and separated from God because of our sin (Isaiah 59:2); we were God’s enemies (Rom. 5:10) and spiritually dead (Eph. 2:4-5). And the list could continue. So God did a miracle when He saved you and me and took us out of our miserable condition and changed our hearts and lives and moved us into His Kingdom. Before our salvation, we all were part of Satan’s kingdom, like it or not.
The kingdom of darkness is where all sin prospers—no matter what name that sin has. In the kingdom of darkness there is rejection, shame, guilt, fear, confusion, lies, hurt, unforgiveness, pride, lust, death, abuse, manipulation, control, the love of money, depression, sickness, oppression, hate, anger, misogynism, bondage, people dehumanizing people, pornography and any other type of sexual immorality, etc. And our list could continue for hours. God made a promise of deliverance in Genesis 3:15 and we saw it fulfilled in the life and ministry of Yeshua. God rescued us from the kingdom of darkness! My friend, it is war!
It is war—the enemy does not sleep
Satan’s purpose was and is to keep you in his kingdom blinded to the gospel and the things God has prepared for you (2 Cor. 4:3-4). However, after you became born again by the grace of God alone and by faith in Jesus Christ alone, Satan did not put his tail between his legs and walk away. No, he still wants you (and me) back into his kingdom.
He continues to attack believers and tries to do anything he can to draw us back under his dominion. 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV) says that very clear
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Satan is not a lion; there is only one lion, the Lion of the tribe of Judah—our Lord Jesus Christ! The Bible calls Satan a serpent/snake in Revelation 12:9. Nevertheless, Satan is not happy that he lost you and he wants you back. That’s why we need to know everything the Bible says about this war we are in because we live in a spiritual war. And it is a war we cannot see with the physical eyes, but only with our spiritual eyes, the eyes of faith. Therefore, we need to be aware of this reality. The good news is that by being part of the Kingdom of God, we are already on the winning side. It is war but the war was already won at the cross, by Jesus Christ.
The spiritual realm is real
C. S. Lewis said
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.
Pastor Jack Hayford said the same thing:
There are two groups of people that Satan absolutely loves and gets excited over: the skeptics and the superstitious.
Demons are like germs, someone said. Germs are all around us: in the air, in the water we drink, on other people and even on us (don’t panic). And unless you are a hypochondriac (neurotic, health-obsessed), one is not afraid of germs and does not even think about them. And the Biblical reality is that there is a spiritual world, not just a physical one. Satan and his agents (demons, foul spirits—call them as you want) are real. However, we should not be afraid of them or be obsessed with them. We need to focus on Yeshua and His Kingdom and wear the whole armor of God, every day. 1 John 4:4 says
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (NKJV).
And this is our assurance, that Jesus and the Holy Spirit who lives in us is greater than Satan and all his hosts. It is war!
We are wounded
Now, the story does not quite end here. When we enter into the Kingdom of God, we enter with the hurts and the problems we had before, even though about many of them we were not aware and did not consider them problems. And as we come into the Kingdom of God, the process of sanctification and discipleship starts, and we soon realize we need healing for some issues of the heart, we need some deliverance and we need to renew our minds continually and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
As David Guzik says
Paul here teaches the great principle of regeneration. Being a new creation doesn’t mean that we are perfect. It means that we are changed and that we are being changed. Living as a new creation is something God works in us, using our will and our choices.
We live after new principles; we have a new Lord, a new destiny, new life, new purpose, and we live in a new Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. So, all things have become new, praise God.
Isaiah 26:13 (ESV)
O Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance.
Indeed, before we became believers other masters had dominion over our lives. Moreover, their dominion over our lives did leave us with hurts and sinful behaviors and mindsets—it is war.
The process of sanctification
In God’s Kingdom, we are all in the process of metamorphosis or in the process of becoming more like Jesus. And this process will last as long as we will live. I am just amazed to see how many believers do not understand this truth. Somehow they believe that 2 Cor. 5:17 [Therefor if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things past away; behold, new things have come, NASB] cancels the process of sanctification. And this is a great error.
I like to compare my life with a house—a house that the old owner destroyed and damaged a lot. However, now the house has a new owner. And the new landlord starts to build something new and renovates the house. There is a lot of cleaning and repairing he needs to do. Moreover, in the basement, he finds some rats he needs to cast out. Therefore, the house enters into a process of ‘healing’ and restoration.
The new Owner, Jesus/Yeshua, did start to cleanse and restore my life. Nevertheless, He did not do it without my full collaboration. It is always a partnership. He bought me with a price, His blood, from the old owner, and now I am legally His. But this is just the beginning.
We are called to fight in this war
In Ephesians 1:4 we read that we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Moreover, we read that He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world (1:4) and that in Christ we have the forgiveness of sins and redemption (1:7), and an inheritance (1:11). In Ephesians 2:6 (NJKV) we read that
God raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly place in Christ Jesus.
I could continue to point out more scriptures that are talking about what we have and what we are in Christ. However, the apostle Paul does not stop with chapters one and two. He also wrote chapter six. After telling us about all we have and are in Christ Jesus, he is telling us, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to fight. And it is we (plural) and not I (singular) who needs to fight. Therefore, it is not enough to know who we are in Christ, but it is important also to know the responsibility we have as believers who are in Jesus. To be in Christ does not cancel our duty to fight! It is war!
Take this war seriously
We are all involved in this battle between good and evil. The battle is for our minds and hearts, and to win we need to put on the whole armor of God and remember that the battle is already won by Yeshua. Therefore, we need to discipline ourselves, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to always be praising, thanking, rejoicing, and blessing God for His triumph over death and Satan.
As believers in Yeshua, we live between the first and second coming of Messiah. In the meantime, we live in between the tension there is between the two kingdoms. The Kingdom of God presses in and the kingdom of darkness presses back.
The Holy Spirit has come, and He brings in and He bears witness to our new covenant relationship with God and that we are people of the new covenant that was fulfilled in Yeshua. Therefore, we live in this radical middle and we are to serve God and minister in this context.
We are sons and daughters of our Father’s business and we live under a mandate: to teach and preach the good news of reconciliation—heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, cleanse the lepers, bind the brokenhearted, set the captives free, open the eyes of the blind—make disciples who do the same. It is war!
It is war—look to Yeshua
First, we need to be set free and healed—at least in a decent measure, because as long as we live in our human bodies we will not be perfect but in a continual process of sanctification—before we can help others. In Luke 6:39 (ESV) Yeshua says
He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?
The key to success in spiritual warfare and our walk with God is to focus on Yeshua and practice His presence, and not to focus on Satan and his demons. This is such a big key, as many practice the presence of demons and not the presence of Yeshua. Many will quote C. S. Lewis’s statement from Screwtape to emphasize the error of falling into the trap of focusing on demons just for them to fall into this trap of the enemy. I’ve met so many people who seem to see demons everywhere and they have lost sight of Yeshua.
Always look to Yeshua to tell you that somewhere there is a demon, and just command it to go, in His Name. However, do not look for demons or for principalities or whatever, but look to Yeshua. This truth can save your life and will keep you safe from any error.
It is war!
Do you agree?
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