These weekly posts show the Triad teachings. Starting at week 1 and progressing through the weeks will help you see the logic of the series.
Spiritual warfare is often thought of as those direct encounters that took place when Jesus or the apostles were confronting demon possessed people.
Thus we tend to think of spiritual warfare in terms of Pentecostal/Charismatic power ministries or some form of group prayer designed to speak directly to a demon and command it to leave a person.
A variant of this deliverance ministry is the idea that an individual sometimes needs to speak directly to an evil spirit that is lying to them or tormenting them. That is, instead of only praying to God a person sometimes needs to take authority over an evil spirit and speak directly, out loud or silently, to this spirit. We command the spirit (to leave, be silent, stop threatening, etc.).
All the above are good and are part of spiritual warfare.
There is another equally important aspect to spiritual warfare however. Satan and his demons are pervasive in the world and consequently we need to fight the devil in ordinary life. That is, in our world view, behavior, thoughts, beliefs, emotions and speech.
In order to see this better we will look at some of the broader characteristics and functions of Satan and demons as revealed in the Bible. First, here are some of his characteristics and methods:
1. A liar. John 8:44. “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
2. An accuser. Revelation 12:10. “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”
3. A deceiver. Ephesians 6:11. “Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
4. A tempter. 1 Thessalonians 3:5. “For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.”
5. A destroyer. John 10:10 “The thief came to steal, kill, and destroy: but I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly”.
Secondly, here are some of his roles in society and culture:
The prince of this world ( John 12:31;14:30;16:11)
The prince of demons (Matthew 12:24)
The prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2)
The Ruler of the darkness of this world (Ephesians 6:12)
The spirit that works in all disobedient people (Ephesians 2:2)
The tempter (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5)
The god of this world (1 Corinthians 4:4)
The Unclean spirit (Matthew 12:43)
The wicked one (Matthew 13:19,38)
Now, looking at these broad lists one can see that the Bible describes Satan’s influence and power as vast. Thus, much of what we learn on earth, from our experience, from educational institutions, from history, etc. is not a reflection of God but of His enemy. Consequently our conclusions about God, based on our experience, are warped because Satan has interfered with God’s will and with his plan for humans and for us. The world is not heaven.
Now, how does that relate to spiritual warfare? Look at these statements:
I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
And the base things of the world, and things which are despised, God has chosen, yes, and things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
In short, there are 2 realms: the world and heaven; the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God; darkness and light; evil and good; falsehood and truth; temporary and eternal. Even though ultimate cosmic truths are black and white we usually live in a grey world, and discernment is difficult.
Much of spiritual warfare can be accomplished by basic spiritual livings: morality, humility, practicing the disciplines and loving those around us. However, the active malice of an enemy requires a renewed mind and a single heart that is following God and can hear His Spirit. So keep vigilant, do not blame God for Satan’s actions, resist the devil and submit to God.
This essay concludes our survey of basic Christian teaching on the role of deliverance in the process of sanctification. Next week we will begin to examine the concept of “transformation” that goes beyond both inner healing and deliverance in the process of sanctification.