Summary: In the battle that rages about us, many are taken captive. Many more are unawasre that we are at war. However, the Bible insists that we are engaged in war with a brutal enemy. Are we ready?
THE RAGING BATTLE
“Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
If you seek a religion that will make you comfortable, Christianity is not for you. Despite the emphasis on peace and benefit that emanates from Christian pulpits, Christianity is not a religion for the weak or the lazy. Christianity is a religion that demands strenuous effort, ongoing sacrifice and a willingness to engage in spiritual warfare. There is a battle going on! Though many people imagine that spiritual warfare has nothing to do with them, Christians do not live in neutral territory—we are on the front lines.
For the average Christian, this means that our goals are wrong. Contemporary Christians tend to seek a life defined by an absence of conflict—a life that is carefree and quiet. However, honesty compels me to remind you that we Christians are not called to tranquility, but to war. To be certain, we who are followers of the Risen Son of God are called to peace, but the peace to which we are called is peace in the midst of struggle. We will know that peace only when we have been thoroughly trained and when we have confidence in the training we have received. The peace of God will not permit us to become passive Christians, nor will it permit us to be inactive in time of battle. Rather, the peace of God will demand obedience to God’s will; and that means that we must engage the enemy at every turn, resisting his attacks and holding the ground that the Master has entrusted to us.
This is war! Though western governments spend incredible amounts of money on defence, our way of life is nevertheless being destroyed. Our heritage as a nation founded on Christian principles is being jettisoned as rapidly as possible by cultural mavens. Our houses are equipped with locks to deter wicked people from entering to rob or to kill; yet, we sacrifice our integrity and yield our children to the prevailing culture without a murmur of dissent. Our schools and universities have largely capitulated to evil; they are, for the most part, no longer willing—perhaps even unable—to encourage righteousness in the students entrusted to them. The judicial system and governments at every level have surrendered their responsibility to do good; today, they promote wickedness and attempt to indoctrinate the citizenry to call good evil and evil good. Our entertainment, in large measure, consists of viewing the vilest forms of depravity and listening to the most demeaning speech, as if lewd and lascivious behaviour or crude and salacious talk will make as a better nation. Many churches that once stood solidly for truth and righteousness have deserted the field. It seems that in the midst of these spiritual hostilities, many of our fellow saints have been taken captive, and the churches that once trumpeted forth a militant note are now silenced. There seems to be scant difference between the professed people of God and the world in which they momentarily reside.
We did not start this war now raging, but we are certain how it will end. During the course of repeated assaults, we have seen some of our fellow believers injured—and many more will be wounded as the enemy continues his ferocious assaults. Of those wounded, some will be dreadfully disfigured and incapacitated—removed from the conflict as result of their injuries. Tragically, some of the wounds are self-inflicted, and some are the result of “friendly fire.”
Whether we fight with honour or whether we cower in the trenches depends on whether we recognise the nature of the enemy and the nature of the battle. We are fighting as mere mortals in “the heavenly places.” Most of us are sensible only of the physical world, but we must make ourselves aware of the spiritual realm. In order to prepare us for the conflict, let’s learn about the enemy and the conduct of the war through looking into the Word of God.
THE ENEMY — We had an introduction to the enemy in a previous study. We must not underestimate the wicked one; however, neither should we give him more credit than he deserves. Satan is a created being—he is neither omnipotent nor omniscient, he cannot be omnipresent. In short, the devil is not a god—he is an angel created by God.
In adhering to God’s Word, we walk a narrow line. Though the Bible speaks of Satan’s existence and warns against his schemes, it does not glorify him or exalt his power. Satan is a powerful individual; but his doom is certain. On the other hand, we live in a day in which the majority of preachers no longer believe there is such a being as the devil. They have imbibed deeply of the intoxicating philosophies of this dying age, and thus dismiss any talk of the devil as hopelessly out of touch with reality. Therefore, if we will be faithful to the Word, we must know our enemy without giving him authority that he does not possess.