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Read Introduction to Ephesians

12 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.


Verse 12 gives us the nature of our supernatural spiritual enemy. We need to identify the kind of enemy we face. This is the major point upon which the Holy Spirit focuses in the section on spiritual warfare. If the Christian is not fully cognizant of his enemy, he will be vulnerable to spiritual defeat. Most Christians are dull to this issue in their lives.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,

The Holy Spirit lifts the veil of the reality of our spiritual battles. The believer’s struggle is not against the physical but against the spiritual realm. Our primary battle is not against men but the devil.

“Wrestle” implies that this spiritual battle is hand-to-hand conflict. Our battle with Satan is a very personal thing. “Wrestle” was a common athletic term used for contestants attempting to throw each other to gain supremacy. Christians are in close-quarters conflict against the demonic world.

“Wrestle” in the Greek implies ongoing combat. Wrestlers poked out the eyes of the loser. This struggle is not with other people but is a wrestling match within our souls against an infernal foe, against the demonic realm. This involves a whole set of philosophical and ethical issues that include every person on earth.

PRINCIPLE:

Christians are in close-quarters conflict with supernatural forces.

APPLICATION:

Pagan ideas of our day reject the supernatural and operate on their own biases of the natural. There is a personal devil who governs a system to undermine the Christian life with his stratagems. What we deem are political issues are often satanic and demonic problems. It is a question of the source of evil.

Pundits of our day explain terrorism and social evils with superficiality. People are left in a vacuous state without answers and truth. There is evil behind of the darkness of our day (Jn 8:44; 2 Co 4:4). The world today follows Satan with all his schemes. Christians who seek ultimate answers in the political realm deceive themselves. They reject what the Bible and Christ Himself have to say about these things.

Some Christians pin their hopes on the future of the United States or a political party. How vacuous is that? To put hope in something other than God’s plan is to set us up for disappointment and despair. We are left with a secular view of the world.

Trying to resolve societal problems by strictly human means is an attempt ending in futility. These people think that, if they shift the pattern, it will take a different form. However, they have only dealt with symptoms. C. S. Lewis put it pointedly: “No clever arrangement of bad eggs will make a good omelet.” Man’s solutions of education and legislation have a way of repeating themselves. Neither of these methods address the fundamental problem, which is the soul of man.

Only regeneration will solve man’s fundamental problems. To educate an evil mind will only make evil more effective. Improving a man’s environment will not fundamentally change him, because he is left to his own devices. He remains in dark, deep despair. This is the essence of the human dilemma. We cannot deal with the problems of society without addressing the nature of man.

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