Satan Is Not Omnipotent: A Philosophical Arguments (8)
The Protection of the Blood:
What is the issue of Spiritual Warfare? Are we, as believers, set against Satan? Is that warfare an inner struggle within us? How should we define Spiritual Warfare? A symbolic picture of our redemption is seen to occur on the night Israel left Egypt in the event we call Passover. When the blood of an unblemished lamb was applied in obedient faith to a house portal, something extraordinary happened. Spiritual protection was afforded to the people in the dwelling. The angel of death could not get past that protection. We have already stated that the Lord did not traverse through the land of Egypt, killing the firstborn. Still, He did go through the land and cover-over (shield) those homes where he saw the blood so that the destroyer (Satan) could not get at the inhabitants (Exodus 12:23). You can also see that same protection over the lives of other Old Testament men who feared God. Consider Job. Could Satan touch Job? No. Job is called a “righteous” man. He is an Old Testament example of someone who is redeemed and given righteousness. Satan had to get permission from God before being able to afflict Job. For Satan to get at Job, the protection God afforded had to be lifted from around Job’s life.
These examples are a beautiful picture of our protection in Christ. When we put faith in the blood of Christ, we are “covered” by him so the enemy cannot touch us. “Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us” (I Corinthians 5:7). As a Christian, you have that same protection. Amazingly, even a believer who practices sin has this protection. In I Corinthians 5, we find the account of a man who committed incest, apparently with his stepmother. Paul instructs the Church to get together and lift the spiritual protection afforded the incestuous man so Satan can get at him and work him over. The hope was that when the man’s flesh was afflicted by Satan (as a discipline from God), repentance and a return to godliness would occur.
But before Satan could do his work, the Church had to exercise its authority and have God lift the protection afforded by redemption (Matthew 18:17-18). With spiritual protection granted to us based on our faith in the blood of Christ, we can eliminate the idea that Spiritual Warfare is our battle to keep out of the devil’s grasp. Satan does not have a free hand to do whatever he wants with us. We live under the security afforded by the righteousness of Christ. The greatest asset of Satan in his deception of the Church seems to be our ignorance. Many Christians do not understand how limited Satan’s power is and how he works to deceive a believer. He is on the prowl “as a roaring lion” (I Peter 5:8) but cannot get closer than making a lot of noise without God’s permission.
Martin Luther records an encounter with a roaring adversary on the eve of his move for Reformation by going public with accusations against Rome’s Catholic Church. He awoke during the night to some demonic hellion in his room. The apparition was fearfully grotesque in appearance and filled the room with a stench. Upon awakening, Martin looked at the being, uttered a calm, “Oh, it’s you,” rolled over, and went back to sleep. Such conduct is only possible when you know nothing can get through the protection afforded by the blood of Christ without God’s permission. This assurance that our lives are totally in the hand of God produces the liberty we need to “stand” (see Ephesians 6:11, 13, 14) in the Lord. And the strength of His might (Ephesians 6:10). Even then, we do not stand against the devil, but only against his schemes (Ephesians 6:11). If Christ came to release us from bondage to sin and transfer us out of the kingdom of darkness, then we have dominion of our lives returned to us. We do not need to fear the devil. We do not retreat in the face of Satan or his underlings but affirm the battle is already won based on God’s Sovereignty.
Hebrew Metonym And Exorcism of Space:
Not all evidence that seems to implicate Satan’s ability to intervene at will in human events is accurate. Part of this mystique is caused by the symbolic use of the terms “Satan” and “devil” in Scripture. Jesus said, “It is enough for the disciple to become like his teacher and the enslaved person as his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household.” Matthew 10:25 NASV.
In this teaching on discipleship, Jesus states a Hebrew understanding. Practitioners were commonly called by the name of those who influenced their thinking. Jesus called John the Baptist differently because of a specific man’s imprint in his ministry. He called John the Baptist by the name “Elijah” (Matthew 11:14). The same cultural understanding was at work when outsiders called early believers “Christ-ian.” Jesus also spoke directly to the Pharisees when he said, “You are of your father the devil” (John 8:44).
The Pharisees were not some Rosemary’s Baby or angelic hybrid. Again, Jesus merely substituted a word, identifying the trustworthy source and father of their reason. James takes some liberties when referring to the devil. “Submit yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). But when we look at the theme of the passage, we see that James refers to things in the world that can neutralize a Christian’s effectiveness. Pleasures and lusts for material possessions are expressly mentioned (James 4:1-4). The devil himself does not seem to be anywhere around, but selfish thinking introduced to this world through Satan’s influence is certainly present.
By reference, James has this selfish thinking in mind when encouraging the reader to submit to God. After Peter objects to the idea that the Lord must go to the cross and die, Jesus turns to him and says, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” (Matthew 16:23). What happened? Could Satan enter or control Peter at will? No, he addresses him by a metonym, observing Peter express his mind on the matter instead of supporting God’s plan. We must carefully interpret instances like these with a view toward what the rest of the Bible states about Satan’s abilities. The misunderstanding that his name is not always used as a direct reference to his presence can give a false impression that his power and ability are more significant than the case.
Exorcism of Space:
People are not the only abode of the spirits. They will also occupy space from time to time. The old ghost stories that seem so otherworldly are grounded in the reality that spirits come to live and hang out in particular places. Houses need to be blessed for this reason. Where someone has died, this is especially true. It is especially true when there has been any occult practice. If a place may have been cursed, this is especially true. It is not a matter of what we see or feel. It is a matter of the spiritual reality that surrounds us. The world is cluttered with a spiritual mess. We have been sent to clean it up.
Believers’ Warfare With Flesh:
A believer is a derivative of the word ‘Belief.’ In modern English, Belief is “Faith,” trust in a person”; so Believers in Christendom are those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ; those that have Faith in Him as “Son of God.” The people that recognize the truth beyond the sphere of sensible observation or demonstrative proof that Jesus died for Man’s sins; Arose, on the third day, ascended to Heaven where He now sits at the right hand of God, the Father, and that He will surely come again.
In simple terminology, Believers’ are Christ-followers; the genuine – Born again Christians; also known as ‘Regenerated Christians.’ There is no doubt that believers are called to holiness, and believers are to be renewed in the image of God. Jesus Christ is the Holy One and has anointed believers to know the truth. Therefore, believers’ primary duty is to practically flee from sins of the flesh and uphold the integrity of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
The word ‘Flesh’ is used both in the OT and NT, but the NT usage has greater theological significance.
The word “flesh – sarx” is used in the Scripture to express:
- The substance of the animal body, whether of man or beast – Genesis 41;2
- The whole human body – Exodus 4: 7
James Hastings in Hastings Dictionary of the Bible says the explanation of this use of the term ‘flesh’ is that man has fallen; sin comes by natural inheritance (Flesh), whereas goodness is given by supernatural grace (Spirit). However, it is to be noted that in this use, the ‘flesh’ is not conceived as an exclusively material substance, for among the works of the flesh are idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, etc. (Galatians 5: 20).
All these works of the flesh are evil. Fleshly is that which belongs to the flesh, carnal, as Col. 2: 18 implies – fleshly mind, as opposed to spiritually-minded. In Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT), Eduard Schweizer presents the word during six historical periods; Schweizer’s study of the varied uses of ‘Flesh’ in the NT agrees with Elwell’s views.
The flesh is worldly and so loves the things of the world. According to the Bible, man’s mind is a battlefield where Satan and the evil spirits battle with the truth and battle with the believer. The believer’s warfare with the flesh is predetermined by the condition of the believer’s Spirit. Nee says if a believer fails in prayer, he fails in everything; a believer’s Spirit can be affected by either the Holy Spirit or the evil spirits. Spiritual warfare is a battle between the believer’s Spirit and the Evil Spirits of the enemy. If a believer is under deception, his warfare is a battle for freedom; if a believer is free already, his warfare is a battle for the deliverance of himself and others. Nee’s main point is not to allow our spirits to become passive but to continuously stir up our zeal for God and war against the enemy. Nee calls for a believer’s discernment, which occurs when our intuition- the organ where the Holy Spirit works can distinguish between right and wrong. The flesh is drawn to the world and worldly affairs to conquer warfare; the Spirit must move towards God. Nee mentioned six kinds of ground that believers could give to evil spirits:
- The un-renewed Mind;
- Improper Thoughts;
- iii. Misunderstanding God’s Truth;
- Receiving suggestions – evil spirits frequently inject their thoughts into the believer’s mind
- Being empty in mind; and
- Passivity in mind – when a believer’s mind falls into passivity, many thoughts will be injected into him from outside, like unclean thoughts, sinful thoughts, and confused thoughts.
Evil Spirit causes instability, talkativeness, stubbornness, and the phenomenon of the eyes to believers’. Nee said that when the believer’s eyes are opened to see his condition, he naturally wants to seek deliverance. Nee said God’s purpose is to bring every thought into the obedience of Christ – 2 Cor 10: 5, so it is essential for believers to continually ask God to purify their minds and keep them fresh. The will is man’s self and the faculty that motivates the whole man; it is the organ of man that makes decisions. A believer’s flesh (body) is to glorify God.
First, the Lord is for the body because the Lord desires to deliver our body from sin. Second, the Lord is also to heal our sickness. Third, the Lord wants to be the strength and life of our body so that our body would live by Him. Fourth the Lord is for the glorification of our body. The highest point that we can attain today is to live by Him. Some believers’ primary problem is the flesh, mostly when they are filled with anger, pride, unrepentant sins, and refusal to humble themselves. These sins of the flesh quickly provide an avenue into demonic influences.
Each individual has a choice, a choice between obedience and disobedience to the word of God, a choice between good and evil, a choice to love God fully by submission to His will and guidance, or a choice to submit to self or Satan. Choosing Satan’s side in the cosmic struggle between good and evil places an individual at risk of coming under the control of demonic agents. In simple terminology – ‘Demons flow where sin adheres.’ Paul’s exhortation to believers in Rome, as written in Romans 6: 12-13, speaks to today’s believers:
Believers’ flesh is the greatest enemy of any believer, and until the bondage to the flesh is broken, there will be no effective deliverance for demonized believers’. In conclusion, believers must heed Paul’s advice and put to death the flesh’s works to become victorious in warfare with the flesh.