MANKIND’S SPIRITUAL BATTLEGROUND – THE CONTROL OF YOUR MIND
Jesus is the Messiah and the only source of redemption, through whom God seeks to redeem those who are estranged from him. Success in life from His vantage point, which is the “TRUTH,” is reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. There exists a SPIRITUAL BATTLE then to move people forward or away from grasping this reality.
The fall of man plunged mankind into two kinds of slavery: slavery to sin and slavery to Satan. In fact, fallen man willingly follows his new leader (Satan), because he doesn’t know any different because he was born into Satan’s world and that’s all he knows just like those Amazonian slave ants which I talk to you about and posted last week. Speaking of those who came to know the Lord; Paul says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the air, the spirit which now works in the sons of disobedience……. conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2; 2-3).” Even more, Paul says, in 2 Corinthians 4:2, “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving.” John writes in 1 John 5:19, “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
You wonder why things are a mess! This is part of the reason. Non-believers, according to Paul, are blinded by the god of this world, under his dominion and live in darkness; these people are held captive by him to do his will. If the whole world lies in the power of the evil one, do you think the people in slavery realize they’re enslaved? Generally speaking, are they aware of their captivity to Satan? The answer is “no.”
There is something that is going on that keeps them enslaved, but they are not aware of it because what is being used to enslave them is not some dark, supernatural force that is evident in their lives. They’re not demon possessed. The forces of darkness do not hold them down, as if they lived in a horror movie. They’re just living regular lives. Everything seems or appears to be just fine. They’re just being held captive by the ideas they believe.
Satan gained rulership from Adam and Eve originally by deception, and currently maintains it by craftiness, deceit, and subterfuge. This was his strategy in the Garden of Eden, and it is his strategy today. The devil does not stand in the “Truth.” Jesus said, “There is no truth in him.” What many people think is that what really matters is that you try and live a basically good life. This presumes that anyone can live the kind of good life that is necessary for salvation to satisfy God. Is that possible? It’s an idea called “moralism.” It is enough to keep a person from being saved, from humbling themselves before God, asking for forgiveness and asking Christ Jesus to come into their lives; to be reconciled to God and having a relationship with God because they basically think they are good people. But scripturally speaking, it’s enough to keep you separated from God for all eternity, just as Satan has intended, by getting you to think and believe that all you have to do is just try to be a good person. Your destiny will be sealed as is his destiny; thrown into the Lake of fire – separation from God for all eternity.
You see, when Paul gets precise about spiritual battle, he says, the battle that is being waged is not just a battle between flesh and blood, it is a battle of ideas (Eph.6:12). Where the idea gains ground, Satan captures people’s minds by feeding them falsehoods that they believe, and that’s all he needs to delude them and enslave them. The principal way that the devil captures and enslaves people in this culture is through false ideas, false doctrines, etc. And since I’ve become more, in a sense, sensitized to that, I have become more aware of the false messages that are preached all around me that hold people in slavery to Satan. They are “lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God (Prov.30:11-14).” They are speculations and they sound great. Just try to be a good person: that’s really what matters. But, friends, that is a lie directly from Satan because the truth is nobody is a good person. Jesus said it Himself. “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but God alone (Matt.19:17).” The fundamental nature of spiritual warfare is not, in my view, power encounters with the devil, but rather “Truth” encounters opposing the lies and the deception of the enemy.
Bank tellers are trained to spot counterfeit money by being so familiar with the real thing that they can readily detect the imitation. The fact is Satan counterfeits God’s truth. Our defense against Satan’s lies is to become so familiar with truth as revealed by God in Scripture that, when we are confronted with error, it can be readily detected.
Satan is a master counterfeiter and his plan and purpose has been, are, and always will be to seek to establish a rival rule to God’s kingdom. He is promoting a system of which he is the head, and which stands in opposition to God and His rule in the universe. If you grasp this, then you will be well on the way to a successful defense against him. If not, it will be all the more easier for him to deceive you.
Jesus gives us many examples of Satan’s devices and deception. One good example is in the parable of the wheat and the tares found in Matthew 13:24-30 and explained by Jesus in verses 36 to 42. Here Jesus gives an example of Satan’s tactic in his sowing of tares among the wheat in this church age. Tares are the plant known as the “bearded darnel” which in the blade is indistinguishable from wheat. Since tares are unsuitable as human food they must be separated from the wheat, which can be done with greater ease when the grain matures. Sowing tares in a field for purposes of revenge was a crime under the Roman government. In the parable, our Lord likens the tares which Satan sows to children of the devil, while the wheat symbolizes the children of God. In sowing the two together in the field (which is the world), the devil today deceives many. People who are in reality tares may be deceived into thinking they are wheat because they have made a profession of Christianity and exhibit some of the characteristics of believers. This gives them a false sense of security. Undoubtedly there are many tares (unbelievers) sitting in church pews and serving on church boards who do not realize that they are headed for “a furnace of fire” where “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt.13:42).”
What we have here in this parable is a picture of professing Christendom (apostasy). Wherever true believers are found, Satan will also have his counterfeits. Just because a person goes to church, it doesn’t make them a true Christian. It’s just like if I go to a garage, it doesn’t make me a mechanic. They can sit right next to you in church and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference from their outward appearance; only God knows the heart. Only Jesus knows His sheep. In most cases their identity will not be known until Jesus comes back at the end of the age with His angels to separate the wheat from the tares, or to separate the possessing Christians from the professing Christians.
After reading this, some of you must be asking, “Why didn’t God just destroy Satan after he sinned?” You have to remember that one third of all the angels followed Satan in rebellion to God. If God had chosen to destroy Lucifer at that point; some of the angels would have served God from fear rather than from love. Lucifer’s influence and the spirit of rebellion would not have been fully eradicated. Instead, for the good of the entire universe through ceaseless ages, God allowed Lucifer to fully develop his charges against the divine government so that they might be seen in their true light. Sin must run its course for its enormity to be fully abhorred. Another thing, the angels in heaven are carefully watching events on earth to see how this conflict of the ages unfolds.
We know that God will one day defeat Satan once and for all by throwing him into the lake of fire where he will be tortured day and night forever (Revelation 20:10), but for the time being, it simply doesn’t suit God’s purposes to get rid of Satan. Perhaps we will never know God’s reasoning in this particular situation, but we do know certain things about Him.
First, we know God is absolutely sovereign over all creation, and this includes Satan, who is “on a very short leash.” Certainly, Satan and his demons wreck havoc in the world, but they are only allowed to go so far and no further. We also know that God has planned everything from the beginning of time to the end. Nothing can thwart His plans, and things are proceeding exactly on schedule. “The Lord of hosts has sworn: ‘As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand’ (Isa. 14:24).”
Second, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).” Whatever God has planned for Satan, that plan will be the best one possible, resulting in God’s perfect wrath and justice being satisfied and His perfect righteousness being glorified. Those who love Him and who wait for His plan to be fulfilled will be thrilled to be part of that plan and will praise and glorify Him as the scene unfolds.
Third, we know that calling into question God’s plan and its timing is to call into question God Himself, His judgment, His character and His very nature. It is not wise to question His right to do exactly as He pleases. The psalmist tells us, “As for God, His way is perfect (Psalm 18:30).” Whatever plan comes from the mind of the Almighty is the best plan possible. It is true that we can’t expect to understand that mind perfectly, as He reminds us: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).” Nevertheless, our responsibility to God is to obey Him, to trust Him, and to submit to His will, whether we understand it or not.
In the case of His timing for Satan’s demise, it has to be the best possible plan because it is God’s plan.
As I close; and added Comment:
Even though we may not understand or comprehend what is really happening around us in the spiritual realm: quite frankly, there is no need for us to know because there’s nothing we can do about it even if we understood. Thus for us, the fact that we gather so little in the Bible about angels and demons should give us a clue as to what is really important and that is loving each other and consequently, spreading the gospel and the good news about God’s love for the human race and what Christ Jesus accomplished for us on the cross of Calvary. By reconciling us to God we can have that relationship with God just as Adam and Eve had before they were deceived by Satan and before sin entered the human race.
> Oscar Leske
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Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man
Lian Muan Kim –
Koinonia Baptist Seminary- Yangon, Myanmar