The Christian Warfare

December 10, 2005

Read: Eph 6:10-12; Luke 22:31; Rom 7:15-20; Rev 12:7-12; 1 John 5:18-20

Comments on Eph 6:10-12: At the conclusion of Ephesians Paul focuses his exhortation on the Christian war against spiritual powers of darkness. The Christian is to be strong “in the Lord” which excludes strength in oneself. After all this is a battle not against flesh and blood but wily spiritual powers which are located “in heavenly places.”

Questions to think about: How is this battle to be fought? Offensively or defensively? Who actually does the fighting? If these forces have been put under Christ’s feet (Eph 1:20-22), why do we still need to do battle with them?

Some Christians get preoccupied with a “spiritual warfare” in which they become preoccupied with the powers of evil and defeating these powers. Some of them claim that they can recognize these powers in other people by just seeing them and speaking with them. Is this healthy spiritual life? What are its dangers?

How does one explain the Biblical position of the reality of evil beings to those who protest that there is enough of a devil within each of us to account for the reality of evil without positing evil influences of some beings we cannot see? This is a position frequently held by modern Christians.

The expression “ruler of the power of the air” obviously referred to Satan back in 2:2. Furthermore, apart from the previous references to the heavenly place of God’s dwelling, the expression “in heavenly places” is also curiously used here to refer to the location of principalities and powers and the spiritual forces of evil (6:12). This creates a bit of a puzzle since the location of the fallen angels is presented in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 variously as in “hell” (tartaroo), “chains of darkness,” “deepest darkness,” “eternal chains of deepest darkness.” What does this say about the N.T. authors and cosmology? Should one try to harmonize these statements or should we just allow the different views to stand side-by-side?

What does the New Testament say about the access Satan has to those who are God’s children? Cf. 1 John 5:18-20.

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