There is a great verse in the first letter of John which I discovered many, many years ago. It has given stability to my Christian beliefs and freedom to walk in faith and do what I hear the Lord telling me to do – at least to the best of my ability.
1 John 5:18 We know that those who have become part of God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot get his hands on them.
Jesus holds us securely. He purchased us with His blood and is very capable of “keeping” that which He has died on the Cross to redeem. He holds us tight and the Devil can not “get his hands on them”. Unless, of course, you chose to live contrary to God’s Word and/or walk away from your relationship with God. Then, by your own free will you have have chosen to place yourself where the devil can get his hands on you as you have left the protection and care of the Great Shepherd of the sheep.
Here’s what happened when you were saved or born again. The Holy Spirit came to live inside of you and like all good house guests he brought a house warming gift. This gift is called ‘eternal life’. We find this fact in Romans 6:23b which states, “and the gift of God is eternal life”. The definition of eternal life is found in the Gospel according to John, chapter 17 and verse 3, “This is eternal life: that you may know (have an intimate relationship with) God the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent…”
When this took place we were literally taken from the domain of darkness and transferred into the Kingdom of Light (Colossians 1:13) and the devil could not stop that transfer. He was powerless as he has been totally defeated by the blood of Jesus shed upon the cross of Calvary for the forgiveness of sins and the healing of our bodies. His defeat remains and he cannot touch us or harm us unless we open a door through disobedience or decide to walk away from our daily relationship with the lord Jesus Christ.
So, this brings me to my point. I believe there is too much emphasis on spiritual warfare today in the Church in general and in the life of the believer. I just don’t see that type of focus in the New Testament and in the early Church. Instead, I see them focused on what the Lord has accomplished and on what He has called the Church to do – “go into all the world and make disciples in all nations…” (Matthew 28:18-20).
As they did this there was, of course, opposition. Some of it was from the devil. However, they simply preached the “power of God unto salvation” and continued to stay focused on the Lord and their task -instead of being side-tracked into fighting every little DEFEATED demon of hell.
I am also of the opinion that then, like now, most of the opposition to the pure Gospel of salvation and the offer of Jesus Christ of eternal life comes from the flesh and not from the devil. He gets blamed for much too much in today’s world. The greatest opposition to people getting saved or born again is not the devil – it is man’s will and the flesh.
Guy Chevreau in his book “Spiritual Warfare Sideways” states, “Short of the end times, there is no New Testament use of either polemos or strateia for the spiritual war that engages believers directly with the demonic. As pervasive as the tern “spiritual warfare” has become over the last two decades, the phrase itself is not found in the Scriptures.”
He goes on to state, “Further, neither Satan nor the demonic receive any extended discourse anywhere in the scriptures. He and his horde are given only passing references. In the gospels there are a mere seventeen separate references to the devil, however he is named” (page 77).
Could not agree more. We need to take out focus off of what the devil might be doing at he was defeated on the Cross of Calvary and is still a defeated and conquered enemy today. He only has as much power in our lives as we let him have – which should be absolutely none. We need, instead, to deal with our own flesh and “man’s will” which is most often the greatest hindrance to walking closely with the Lord and enjoying intimate fellowship with Him and the Father daily.
I am excited with the change in focus that I sense has begun to happen in the Church – but also sense a need to state that when you take your eyes off of the things the devil might be doing you need to focus on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3) and not on angels and the “cloud of witnesses” or anything else that has now apparently come galloping in to take the place of the devil and his demons in our direct line of vision.
The Bible states: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven. Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don’t become weary and give up.
It is a full-time job keeping up with all the exciting things that the Lord is currently doing and what He is asking us to become involved in. We should not have time for anything else.