Summary: The church must comprehend, in these last days, that our real enemy is spiritual. Without Christ we can do nothing (#16 in The Christian Victor series)
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
“And tho’ this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us”
There has always been a curiosity among men about the spirit world. Modern cultures have largely ignored or scoffed at the idea of an unseen realm for the last few decades, as they put their faith and attentions more and more on the scientific than on the supernatural.
But science has not stepped up to the plate and proved itself to be the savior of man that it was expected to be, and as a result in recent years there has been more and more of a turning back to spiritual things.
The New Age movement has grown immensely. It has always been around; just hasn’t always been called that. It’s belief system hasn’t changed. Satan isn’t that imaginative.
In addition are all the novels, movies, plays and television shows centering on the supernatural.
For the most part, they are wrong. The truth is twisted in them, if there’s any truth there to twist. That all stands to reason, really. Those who have the Holy Spirit in them, and can therefore understand the scriptures and discern spiritual truth would not write about these things as entertainment anyway. The ones who do write about them, have no understanding in themselves, so they only have their fallen imaginations to work with.
Having said that, I want to avoid any further temptation to pick on the non-Christians, and focus on us; the church. Because we are the soldiers. We are the ones called to do battle, and if an army does not know its enemy and the enemy’s strengths, it is doomed to failure.
So let’s just move through this verse one step at a time, and learn what Paul wants us to know about our true enemy, so that as we go on and don our Armor, we’ll better understand why it is we need to wear it.
FLESH AND BLOOD
The first thing we need to be reminded of is that our struggle is not against a flesh and blood enemy.
Now I know I’ve had several occasions to make that point recently, and I don’t want to belabor it. I’ve been accused in the past of making a point too many times, and although the people who left the church because of it never got that point, still I can be teachable; so I will try not to be more repetitive than what I think is necessary for you, the listener, to retain the information.
The problem is, and here I repeat, the church has given itself a bad name in society by getting its aim and focus off its appointed duty.
I know and understand that the true church is always going to be the enemy of the world system and the spirit of this world. If she is doing her job she is going to be in opposition to the spirit of this world. That is expected. It was declared by Christ that we would have tribulation in this world, and that the world would hate us because it hated Him.
But when the church struggles against flesh and blood and neglects her spiritual duty, then she only puts a bad taste in the mouth of many who may otherwise respond favorably to the gospel message, if it was presented properly and in love.
And the same goes for individual believers. We must recognize that our real struggle in this life is a spiritual one. When we focus on what we see; blame the tool that the enemy uses instead of recognizing the true enemy, he gets the better of us.
Now that is not to say that anytime someone displeases us, or we have a disagreement or someone offends us, that it is entirely a spiritual problem.
Sometimes people beat us to the parking slot because they don’t care if we have to keep looking. It’s not because they know we’re Christians.
Sometimes we have a falling out with a person because we were the one being selfish or stubborn, not them.
Sometimes our difficulty with company policy is because of our rebellious nature, not because the policy is bad.
But all of that aside, Paul wants us to see that if we have our focus right, and we are being strong in the Lord and the strength of His might, and intent on doing kingdom work and seeing His will done, then there will be a struggle, and it will be a spiritual one; not against flesh and blood.