"Discerning the Times in the Light of the Word"
This excerpt is from chapter one
of the book
YOU are in a War!
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh...
II Corinthians 10:3
Every Christians life is a warfare with Satan, and his principalities and powers, with the world, the men and lusts of it, and with the corruptions of their own hearts; and much more is the life of a minister of the Gospel, who is called forth to meet the adversary in the gate; to stand in the hottest place of the battle, and sustain the whole fire and artillery of the enemy; to fight the good fight of faith, endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ, and with the weapons he is furnished with to war a good warfare: which is not done after the flesh; in such a manner as the men of the world wage war with one another; or upon carnal principles; or with carnal selfish views; or in a weak way and manner; but in a spiritual way, with all simplicity and disinterested views, with great courage and intrepidity of mind.
John Gill, Pastor, Strict
Since the first confrontation with Lucifer in the garden of Eden, mankind has been engaged in a spiritual struggle. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, we are all in a spiritual war. The hard reality is that if you are breathing, you are in this war and will be until you take your last breath here on earth. While this statement may be a revelation to some, it may well be dismissed by others but nonetheless, it is true. It appears to us that many Christians believe that somehow they are immune to this fact. There is no doubt that every born-again believer has been positionally delivered from the kingdom of darkness as Colossians 1 declares. But this deliverance from being members of Satans kingdom does not obscure us from his attacks. In fact, they are an inevitability we can count on. Your position as a believer does not change Satans plan for your life. It hasnt changed at all and he will continue to steal, kill and destroy! Thankfully, in the verse where we learn this (John ), Jesus goes on to say that His plan is to give us life and life more abundantly! There is the difference. Before we became Christians, we had no defense and probably little or no understanding of the Evil One. Now, covered in Jesus righteousness, we can be victorious over the Ruler of Darkness and his forces! Regardless though, every reader seeing these words is indeed in a war, as is every other person living on the planet. The real question are: whose side are you fighting on, and which kingdom are you a part of?
Many saints of God are unrealistically desiring to be permanently immune from knowing about, being subject to, or participating in Spiritual Warfare. As pleasant as this may sound, its not going to happen until we get to Heaven. As long as were here, we are going to be in the arena of Spiritual Warfare. However, if our hearts and lives are right before God, Warfare may often be likened to sitting inside an armoured tank. An adversary outside may be shooting a small caliber weapon at it and those inside the tank may indeed be aware of the assault , feeling the concussion of the bullets as they strike. However, regardless of the knowledge or awareness of the attack, those inside the tank are well protected from the potentially deadly yet inferior assault taking place. Yes, there is a war going on but they will not be harmed in the b attle. In fact, the weapons at their disposal from inside the protective covering are far more powerful than anything the enemy has to offer. Just one shot from the tanks cannon and the enemy is toast! Praise God.
The Biblical Proof of the Spiritual War
To the skeptic, you must understand that these authors are Bible-believers who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture from Genesis through Revelation. We believe that if a person makes claims on being a Christian, then he or she should understand the complete and utter reliance we must have on the Word of God. That being the case, please carefully examine the following Scriptures which clearly announce that there is an ongoing spiritual conflict between the kingdom of darkness and the army of God.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Our warfare is not waged against humans, but against the echelons of evil in the spirit realm.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Walking under the lordship and command of God while making a stand against the adversary guarantees ultimate freedom!
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
If there were not a war and an enemy attempting to steal and pervert our faith then why would Gods Word instruct us about the need to contend for it? While we must be ready to give every man answers for why we believe (I Peter ), the evidence from Scripture here again indicates that we are to be mindful of the enemys accusations against the truth.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
I Peter 5:89
In I Chronicles 12 were told about the leaders of the tiny tribe of Issachar who had understanding of the times in which they lived and knew how to respond in those times. In this passage from I Peter, God instructs that we are to be constantly alert, ready, comprehending our enemy and the danger he represents and understanding that he is seeking someone to devour. Note that Peter says someone to devour, which indicates that he cant get everybody - only those unaware of how to resist him. We also see here that Satan is on a worldwide mission to inflict damage on Christians! (So much for the false teaching which perpetrates the lie that Christians are immune to spiritual attack!)
But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
II Corinthians 10:25
Dont expect to win any popularity contests for speaking up about waging Spiritual Warfare. There are many around us who attempt to deal with spiritual issues by using completely worldly means. That is what Paul is referring to here in II Corinthians 10:2. For example, what is the first remedy the world around us employs when someone exhibits signs of demon possession? Secular psychiatry, of course. If a few visits to the shrink doesnt fix the problem, then certainly a prescription or two will do it. All the while the victim is probably receiving nothing more than medication to disguise the symptoms but absolutely nothing to alleviate the cause. Thats why we cant afford to fall into the trap of walking according to the flesh as have the majority of those with careers in the psychiatric health community today. Please note that while were certainly not opposed to doctors or medicine in general, secular psychiatry cannot cure the demon possessed and can at best only rearrange a persons emotional and mental problems. Doctor Jesus can cure them completely, set them free, and make the broken soul whole!
Moving on in II Corinthians 10:25, we see other important information relative to our discussion of Spiritual Warfare. Verse 3 states, For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh... An accurate translation of this could be, Though we live in natural, human bodies on the earth we do not carry out acts of Warfare in the same way and with the same means that the armies of the world do. The underlying point again here is that Scripture clearly indicates that Christians are in a war. It is interesting that the Apostle Paul doesnt stop here to elaborate. He just announces we wage war, but not as the world does. One would think that the carnally-minded Corinthians would have needed a little more instruction about this. Whats more troublesome is that 2000 years later, so many Christians seem unaware of this simple yet vital fact.
Verse four holds the keys to demolish the strongholds of the Devil through the power of God, and in verse five the Apostle Paul outlines exactly where the battlefield is and why so many end up on the losing end in Spiritual Warfare.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
II Corinthians 10:5
The battleground of Spiritual Warfare is the mind, and it may be either our old conceptions about Warfare that need to be retooled; or perhaps we simply need Gods truth to fill the void ignoraqnce. Either way, if our thoughts run contrary to Gods changeless Word by allowing anti-biblical arguments, pretensions and thoughts to dwell there, were destined to be less than what Jesus sacrifice insured we could become. So if this Spiritual Warfare stuff seems foreign to you, or youve never heard about it before, or have been taught against it, we invite and encourage you to take captive every thought and make them obedient to Gods Word. Change your mind and get in agreement with God. Youll be glad you did!
So once we ascertain that there is indeed a war going on, what is it that is first under attack?
Satans First Point of Attack - The Word of God!
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15
One need only examine the early pages of the Bible to see that Satans first assault on mankind was his attack on the validity of Gods Word. Inferring that God didnt really say what He said, and that He really didnt mean it if He indeed said it, led to the fall of mankind into original sin. It doesnt take long to figure that the Devil hasnt changed his tactics and that they are still working some 6,000 years later.
Today, theological institutions, churches, denominations and seminaries that not long ago preached the authentic Gospel message, have become shallow, empty tombs resorting to the social doctrines of a worthless gospel which does little more than tickle the ears. It is not as if God didnt give us ample warning about the current conditions of some sectors of the church.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers...traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away...Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
II Timothy 3:2a, 45, 7
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
II Timothy 4:34
Maintaining sound doctrine in these perilous times may indeed be the biggest battlefield. Indeed, it seems to us that one cannot be effective in any other area of Spiritual Warfare without first examining, understanding and then firmly standing on the essentials of Gods Word.
There are people all over the proverbial landscape who claim to be Christians yet disavow the historic central doctrines of the faith as carefully passed to us by the Apostles, early church fathers and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Though this book will aim in a different direction than to simply preach basic beliefs, we would be remiss unless we mentioned that the readers will find no lasting victory in Spiritual Warfare unless they first ground themselves in the foundational doctrines of the faith. Perhaps there is so much disagreement and confusion about Spiritual Warfare among those claiming to be Christians because there seems to be such a large doctrinal void in the lives of so many who, by virtue of breathing air, are ensnared in an ongoing battle with satanic forces. The point is: FIND OUT WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES, READ IT; LEARN IT; AND HANG ON TO IT! This is the key to everlasting victory over the forces of darkness around which everything else revolves.
All rights reserved. Copyright 2002, Eric Barger and David Benoit