“For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Here, we learn about the character of the warfare in which we are involved. It is a fierce struggle against a strong foe. Satan is a determined and skilful enemy. Our battle against him is described as wrestling – “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers … “
Wrestling is a one-on-one sport. Satan’s activity is personal. Satan hates me. Satan accuses me. Satan tempts me. Over against this, we set the love of God and the salvation of God. God loves me. God forgives me. God sustains me.
In wrestling, the aim is to put your opponent on his back and keep him there. This is what Satan is trying to do to us: Get him down and keep him down. This is how we must wrestle against Satan. In the name and power of Jesus Christ, our goal is to get Satan down and keep him down. This will not be easy. Satan is both determined and skilful.
In this spiritual warfare, we are wrestling for God and against Satan. Never lose sight of whose side you’re on. Don’t let Satan trick you into taking sides with him.
To wrestle for God is to enjoy the promise of a sure victory. To wrestle against God is to be heading towards certain defeat. The final victory of God – This is what we must never forget if we are to keep our wrestling against Satan in its true perspective. The battle may be fierce, but the victory is certain: “Fierce may be the battle, strong may be the foe, but the King’s own army none can overthrow. Round His standard ranging, victory is secure, for His truth unchanging makes the triumph sure.”
In this battle, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood”, but against Satan, the enemy of God and His purpose in our lives. We do face our own weakness. We do encounter difficulties. There is more to it than that. There is Satan. He is always seeking to exploit our weakness for his evil purpose. Behind the difficulties with other people, Christians as well as those who are not Christians, we must learn to discern the activity of Satan. He is trying to bring us down. He will use anyone he possibly can.
“We are contending against the principalities … in the heavenly places.” Who is our enemy? – “the prince o this world” (John 14:30); “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). This is Kingdom against kingdom. This is a battle between two kingdoms which are completely opposed to each other. Satan is king in his kingdom. His kingdom is set over against God’s Kingdom.
As we consider this battle, we must never forget that it is an unequal battle. The Lord our God is the true King. Satan is nothing more than a pretender to God’s throne.
Notice that Satan is called “the prince of this world” and “the god of this world.” In the world to come, Satan will be seen for what he really is a pretender who has absolutely no authority in the Kingdom of God.
Satan is called “the prince of this world” and the god of this world.” We must never forget that there is a higher prince and god than Satan. In Isaiah 9:6, we have a great prophecy concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. He is described as the “Prince of Peace”. He is called the “Mighty God.”
How is Satan defeated?
C S Lewis died on 22nd November 1963, the day that John F Kennedy died. C. S. Lewis wrote “The Screwtape Letters” – an exposure of Satan and his evil activity. Satan cannot be silenced by an assassin’s bullet. Satan cannot be harmed by this-worldly weapons. The war against Satan is spiritual. Our weapons are spiritual.
A political assassination arises out of a conflict over politics, a battle for political power. The defeat of Satan takes place when the power of Satan is confronted by a greater Power – the Power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This defeat will be complete when Christ returns. Here and now, we must believe that the victory is certain. We must believe that this victory is ours in Christ.
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
“Christ died so “that , through death, He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).
This is why Christ died – to destroy the devil, and to destroy the works of the devil.
Day by day, through faith, we must enter, more fully, into Christ’s victory over the devil.
As we consider our conflict with Satan, we must have a healthy respect for him, but we must never fear him.
Satan has been described as “the strong man” (Luke 11:21) and “a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8). There is, however, a stronger Man, Jesus Christ – “the Lion of Judah” (Revelation 5:5): “For the Lion of Judah shall break every chain, and give us the victory again and again.”
How are we to enjoy the victory of Christ in our lives?
Satan is the ruler of this present darkness. The opposite of darkness is Light, Jesus Christ – “the Light of the world” (John 8:12).
We must expose the darkness by shining the Light upon it. the Word of God is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119: 105). God’s Word is a lamp to our feet, not our tongues. The Christian life is a walk with God, not just a talk about Him. We need to let God’s Word shine into our lives. This happens when we read the Word of God and hear the Word of God.
Some read a bit, then they don’t look at God’s Word for weeks. Some say that they want to know God better, but they hardly ever come to the place where they will learn more of God from His Word.
we dare not settle for a casual acquaintance with God, when He is calling us to a close friendship with Him.
In this life of faith, we encounter “spiritual wickedness.” In Satan, there is pride (Isaiah 14:12-17,19a). He seeks to reproduce this pride in us. He tries to make us think we are strong. he tries to make us forget that “our sufficiency is of God” (2 Corinthians 3:5); he tries to get us to say to ourselves, “Let the weak go to God for help. I can manage perfectly well on my own.”
God says, “Let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). The next verse contains a great promise of victory over temptation, but we must not take victory for granted. When we look at those who have fallen into sin, we should say to ourselves, “He fell today. I may stumble tomorrow.”
Keep wrestling. There’s a great deal at stake. There’s a war, going on in “the heavenly places.” Keep on believing that Christ has won the victory in “the heavenly places.” He has won the victory for us. He’s calling us on to “the heavenly places.” He’s leading us home to “the heavenly places.” In “the heavenly places”, there will be no place for Satan.
20.9.92 pm; lso 9.10.96 - Burnside Bible Study