Paul, in his letter to the Colossians reveals that the life of Christ in the believer was a “mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.” (Colossians 1:26 NKJV). He calls this mystery “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27b NKJV). Only in Christ can we stand against the devil and his kingdom of darkness. Our natural man has no ability to take on the devil’s kingdom with its principalities and demons.The Holy SpiritTo begin with, we must be born of the Spirit of God. Jesus clarifies this need when He says to Nicodemus, a religious leader of Israel, “Most assuredly, I say unto you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.” (John 3:3–6 NKJV). There is a flesh birth through our parents, but there must be a spiritual birth as well in order to enter into the life of Christ as a new creation and overcome the evil one. Paul wrote about this new creation:Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJVThe new birth that is addressed in John 3 and the new creation spoken of in 2 Corinthians 5 is the process of being translated from one kingdom to another: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. Colossians 1:13 KJVAs the Holy Spirit gives life to our human spirit, we are placed into an eternal state through Him dwelling in us. We become part of the new creation which the Spirit of God is creating in the midst of the chaos of sin throughout humanity. Spiritually, He has placed us into heavenly realms where Christ Jesus is seated and reigns:But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4–7 NKJVThe work which the Father has done for us in Christ has an eternal purpose which He wants manifested in the here and now as well as in the ages to come. This work was established and completed for us even though we were dead in sin. The new creation that we became took place when we were born again and raised up in Christ. God seated us in heavenly places together in Christ. Therefore, our authority in spiritual warfare is found in our placement in heavenly places in Christ. As a new creation (because of our heavenly position in Christ), we are empowered to live our earthly life in victory for the Father.
Other verses to consider, which we should study and memorize include:· The devil oppresses:“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38 NASB· Deceit and fraud are evidence of being a son of the devil:“and said, ‘You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?’” Acts 13:10 NASB· The devil takes opportunity:“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Ephesians 4:7 NASB· The devil is a schemer:“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11 NASB· The reproach and snare of the devil:“And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” 1 Timothy 3:7 NASB“and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”2 Timothy 2:26 NASB· The devil is rendered powerless:“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,” Hebrews 2:14 NASB· The devil will flee:“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NASB· The devil is like a lion:“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”1 Peter 5:8 NASB· The devil has sinned from the beginning:“The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8 NASBConclusionWe must remember that Jesus warns us of the battle for which we have been fitted to fight: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV).The world includes the devil and his kingdom of darkness. He controls the systems of the world. Our flesh is affected by those systems. Our challenge is to say, “No,” to our flesh and, “Yes,” to the Word of God by being empowered by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. He is the intended overcoming life of Christ within us. It is God’s plan for His will and heaven’s kingdom to be lived out through His people whom make up His holy apostolic nation on earth.
The third enemy we must defeat is the devil. From the beginning the Bible reveals how the devil with his prideful arrogance first rebelled in heaven deceiving a third of the angels of heaven. We will deal with his fall more in chapter seven, but for now, I want to underscore his main strategies in fighting against the saints of God. These are his main weapons that he uses to draw us away from God and His eternal truth: pride, lies, and deception. The devil’s goal is to get us to trust in our own self-reasoning and not to deal with the objective truth of God’s eternal Word. He wants us to give in to subjective feelings that open the door to deception.We must first look at what the Bible teaches about the devil. Jesus gives a frank statement to the religious leaders of His day:You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 NASBIn Matthew 13:24–43 Jesus taught the parable of the man who sowed good seed in his field, but then an enemy came at night and sowed tares to choke out the good seed. After Jesus sent the multitudes away, He explained the parable of the tares to His disciples. He told them:“He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man…the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil.” Matthew 13:37b–39a NKJVIn context, Jesus is referring to people as the seed. All those who are born of the Kingdom of God are sons of the kingdom. The tares are the apostate religious leaders of Israel. In John 8, Jesus identified those religious leaders as sons of the devil. They were motivated by the devil to kill the Son of Glory.In John 10, Jesus teaches about the thief and the true Shepherd. In verse six, He states that the people did not understand His illustration concerning the thief. He illustrated it again in verse seven by clearly saying, “I am the door of the sheep.” Then Jesus declares:The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10 NASB
TOMORROW WE WILL LOOK AT: Other verses to consider, which we should study and memorize.
The FleshThe second enemy we must defeat is our own flesh. Our five natural senses keep us connected with the world. They are necessary for us to live in our natural, temporal bodies.Paul teaches us the difference between the two Adams spoken of in the Bible. The first Adam was created from the dust of the ground as recorded in Genesis 2:7. When God breathed into the man’s nostrils man became a living soul. The last Adam, which is Christ, by the resurrection, became a life-giving spirit. Paul wrote:And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45 NKJVAgain, Paul states: However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 1 Corinthians 15:46 NKJVIt is critical that we discern between self and the Holy Spirit. That is, discern between our natural weaknesses and the Holy Spirit’s overcoming strength. The writer of Hebrews states:Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.Hebrews 12:1–3 NIVIf we trust in our own ability, we will soon discover our inability to live the Christian life that God intended us to live by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is one reason why some believers become disappointed and disillusioned. The writer of Hebrews clearly states:For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 NKJVThe Adamic nature is earthly, selfish, contrary, temporary, and orientated toward consumption and self-gratification. Christ’s nature is heavenly, unselfish, cooperative, eternal, and orientated to giving through God’s agape love. Jesus knew the distinction. He discerned man’s problem without judging or rejecting him. Charles Simpson stated in The Covenant and the Kingdom, “He came to save us from ourselves. While He could see through us, He nevertheless came to see us through.”The book of Romans teaches us the stark difference between man’s sinful nature and the Law of the Spirit of Life that comes from Jesus’ resurrection life through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8 is Paul’s thesis on Life in the Spirit. It is only through the life which the Holy Spirit gives that we can overcome the kingdom of darkness. It is a life of humility and authority by knowing who we are in Christ and what He has mandated for us to do.