By John C. Carpenter
The apostle Paul wrote the church in Ephesus, Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord,
and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in
the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate
of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith
ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which
is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and
supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery
of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak (Eph 6:10-20). In verse
12 above, the word wrestle is translated from the Greek word pale, which means to vibrate, to cast out, to pour out, strike, to throw
down with intensity or violence. Also in verse 12, principalities refers to magistrates or rulers, powers refers to authority having
supernatural power, rulers refer to a world ruler who has significant strength, and spiritual wickedness refers to depravity and iniquity
committed by non-carnal, demonic spiritual beings.
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH
Many believers in Christ believe that once
they come to a saving knowledge of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, their human and worldly struggles will cease,
or at least diminish. Christ, Himself, warns us that affliction and persecution will arise within the life of the believer (Mark 4:17).The truth is that when we come to a knowledge of Christ, our spiritual struggles have truly just begun, are more likely to increase,
and often those struggles are significant, painful, and lengthy. Believers in Christ are engaged in an intense and violent struggle,
not with our fellow man, but against non-human, spiritual rulers in the heavens. How do we know this? Well, the holy scriptures make
this very clear, and have much to say about the spiritual struggles, battles and warfare we will be forced to engage in.
the believer in Christ will be required to run spiritual races and conduct spiritual battles of faith. He or she will not only be
forced to fight, but to fight with purpose, determination, and persistence. Paul wrote the Corinthian church, Know ye not that they
which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery
is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly;so fight I [with discipline and purpose], not as one that beateth the air (1 Cor 9:24-26). In his letter to Timothy, Paul also instructs
us about the relationship of fighting the fight of faith to eternal life when he wrote, Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on
eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses (1 Tim 6:12). Later in his
life, Paul confessed, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for
me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them
also that love his appearing (2 Tim 4:7-8). In the letter to the Hebrew Christians, we are reminded by the author to call to remembrance
the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated [and came to a saving knowledge of Christ], ye [were subjected to and] endured
a great fight of afflictions (Heb 10:32).
Second, believers in Christ will forced to conduct war, not on a human and fleshly
level, but in the spiritual realm of obedience to God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Paul reminded the church in Corinth, For though
we walk [live] in the flesh [and in our earthly bodies], we do not war [serve militarily] after the flesh [that is in a fleshly manner,
according to our own carnal inclinations]: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down
of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing
into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience
is fulfilled (2 Cor 10:3-6). Paul also encouraged Timothy to faithfully continue his struggle of faith and good conscience by writing
Timothy, This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightestwar a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck (1 Tim1:19).
In warning about human lusts which war against our souls, Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote the strangers scattered throughout
Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts,
which war against the soul; Having your conversation [life] honest truthful and worthy] among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak
against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation (1 Pet 2:11-12).
Conducting literal and spiritual warfare was not uncommon to David, who wrote, He [God] teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of
steel is broken by mine arms (Psa 18:34). Warfare exists even in heaven. John instructs us, there was war in heaven: Michael and his
angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more
in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was
cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Rev 12:7-9). Even Christ, Himself, wars against evil, and on our behalf.
In John's revelation, John spoke of war when he wrote, I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was
called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war (Rev 19:11).
Third, another indication that believers
are in for a fight is the use of the word armor in the scriptures. Believers in Christ are to put on the armor of light, or revelation.
Paul exhorts Roman believers, and us, The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness,
and let us put on the armour of light [revelation, truth]. Let us walk honestly [decently, honorably, nobly], as in the day; not in
rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make
not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof (Rom 13:12-14). Within our subject verses, the apostle Paul instructs us,Wherefore take unto you the whole armour [instruments, weapons] of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having
done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And
your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench
all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph 6:13-17).
you have ever been in the military or in battle, bodily conditioning, especially running, is extremely important. Look what the scriptures
tell us about running. Paul mentions running in the context of self-control and of keeping his body under control in order to fulfill
all that God has for him: Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection:
lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (1 Cor 9:24-27). Encouraging them to reveal
the light of Christ and the gospel within themselves Paul and Timotheus encouraged the saints in Philippi, Do all things without murmurings
and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation,
among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not
run in vain, neither laboured in vain (Php 2:14-16). The scriptures exhort us to patient faith in Christ: Wherefore seeing we also
are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the
joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb 12:1-2).
Paul, although using natural events to make a spiritual point, Paul refers to prepare himself to the battle? (1 Cor 14:8). In God's
revelation to John, we see references made to the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads
were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men (Rev 9:7), who had breastplates, as it were breastplates
of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle (Rev 9:9). We also see a reference
made to the battle of that great day of God Almighty (Rev 16:14).
Sixth, another scripture reference which suggests that believers
in Christ will face struggles, conflict, fighting, and war, can be found in the word sword. Using the word sword to symbolize the
division, conflict, and isolation disciples and believers shall face within their community and family, Christ tells His disciples,Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace [quietness, rest], but a sword [battle, strife, fighting].For I am come to set a man at variance [set apart, alienate] against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter
in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household (Mat 10:34-36).
In his letter to the church
in Ephesus, Paul specifically refers to the helmet of salvation, and the sword [an instrument utilized in battle, conflict, fighting,
and strife] of the Spirit [Greek is pneuma, i.e.,which in context here refers to the spirit of man, not the Holy Spirit of God], which
is the word [Greek rhema, i.e., the operation of the Holy Spirit] of God (Eph 6:17). In this context, the sword is the word of God
and refers, not to the bible, but to the rhema, or the presence, operation, and working of the Holy Spirit, which brings about conflict
and division within the hearts and minds of believers and unbelievers. As Christ warned, the Holy Spirit will cause conflict and division
among families, a son against his father, as well as a daughter against her mother, because one responds to the Holy Spirit and believes,
and the other does not. The point is that the sword of the Holy Spirit of God is the instrument that brings about war, struggle, anger,
conflict and division between believing human spirits from unbelieving human spirits.
The holy scriptures also refer to another
sword, a two-edged sword; but this sword does not refer, as we saw above, to the Holy Spirit, but refers to Jesus Christ. The letter
to the Hebrews reads, There remaineth therefore a rest [from having to keep the law for righteousness] to the people of God. For he
that is entered into his rest [the rest of faith in Christ and not works which God the Father provides through His Son], he also hath
ceased from his own works [of having to continually keep the Jewish laws], as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into
that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief [regarding Christ]. For the word [Greek is logos, or Christ] of God
is quick [brings life], and powerful [active, operative, effectual], and sharper [reflects a more powerful, comprehensive, and decisive
cutting] than any twoedged [twice the cutting and separation ability] sword [instrument used during battling, strife, fighting, and
division; and a probable reference to the Holy Spirit], piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints
and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his [Christ's] sight:
but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him [Christ] with whom we have to do (Heb 4:10-13). Within the context of these
verses, it is obvious that is not the bible, but the logos, or Christ, who is quick, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword
[the Holy Spirit], piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the
thoughts and intents of the heart. But the point is, though, that another reference is made to that instrument of division, the sword.
more use of the word sword in the new testament scriptures that should be mentioned is found in the book of Revelation, and it is
a very clear reference to Christ and His speaking with the Holy Spirit: His [Christ's] head and his hairs were white like wool, as
white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice
as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance
was as the sun shineth in his strength (Rev 1:14-16). The two-edged sword referred to here that comes out of the mouth of Christ is
none other than the Holy Spirit, but, as the scriptures teach, we must remember that Christ Himself, personally, individually, is
more powerful and greater than this two-edged sword, or Holy Spirit.
Seventh, more evidence within the scriptures that the believer
will encounter spiritual conflict and warfare is the fact that the believer is encouraged to have endurance. One of the key aspects
of sports competition, or battle, is the element of endurance. James wrote, Behold, we count them happy which endure... (James 5:11)
as well as, Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord
hath promised to them that love him (James 1:12). Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers to endureth all things (1 Cor 13:7), and
to Timothy he wrote, watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry (2
Tim 4:5). Addressing the occurrence of suffering and wrong, the apostle Peter instructs us, For this is thankworthy, if a man for
conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully (1 Peter 2:19). Scriptures tell us that believers in Christ shall suffer
chastening even from the lord: If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth
not? (Heb 12:7). The Lord personally warned His twelve disciples about the persecution they would suffer at the hands of men, and
how important it was that they endure: beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their
synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when
they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to
death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall
be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth [abide, take patiently, humbly remain] to the end shall be saved (Mat
Eighth, the scriptures testify to our battles when they mention the fact that we have enemies. For example, in the
parable of the tares (Matt 13:24-43), the word enemy is mentioned three times, and the enemy spoken of is identified as the devil.
The apostle Paul teaches that righteousness has an enemy. Speaking specifically to the sorcerer Elymas, Paul said, But Elymas the
sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, (who also
is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of
the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of
the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness;
and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand (Acts 13:8-11).
Ninth, the scriptures also teach us that believers in
Christ strive. Christ taught those around Him, Strive [struggle contend with an adversary, fight, labor fervently] to enter in at
the strait [to stand close to or by, to know the] gate [entrance]: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not
be able (Luke 13:24). Paul wrote the church in Rome, Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love
of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me (Rom 15:30). Paul admitted here that he strove in prayer
for himself, and also was asking the Roman saints to strive in prayer for him and his life and ministry.
Tenth, and last, believers
in Christ are soldiers for Christ. Paul exhorted Timothy how to endure as a soldier for Christ: ...endure hardness, as a good soldier of
Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to
be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully (2 Tim 2:3-5).
the believer in Christ has been provided complete, eternal victory over evil principalities and powers through the death and resurrection
of Jesus Christ, however, we must recognize and acknowledge that while we are on this earth, believers will be subjected to stuggles,
battles, and suffering that inevitably occur with any warrior.
One area of our lives in which the devil certainly attempts to
manifest his evil influence can be found in all of our worldly lusts, including envy; but James instructs us to resist this worldly
lust by humbling ourselves before Christ. James wrote, Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world
is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in
vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth
grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will
draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let
your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble [abase, bring low, depress, humiliated, lowly] yourselves in
the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift [elevate, exalt] you up (James 4:4-10). The apostle Peter teaches us that the believer in
Christ should not only pursue righteousness, but also be willing to suffer for the sake of righteousness, resulting in a good conscience.
Peter writes, For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord
is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for
righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify [make holy, venerate, consecrate] the
Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with
meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely
accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil
doing (1 Peter 3:12-17).
Peter later adds that the humble dependence upon the guidance and strength of Christ is essential in
resisting evil. Peter exhorts us to Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting
all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh
about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren
that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered
a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you (1 Peter 5:6-10). The apostle Paul instructs us in another method of resisting
evil, and that is to overcome evil by doing good to our fellow man, including those who persecute us or anger us. Paul wrote the church
in Rome, Let love be without dissimulation [sincerely, without hypocrisy]. Abhor [detest and separate from] that which is evil; cleave to
that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business;fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the
necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice,
and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be
not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible,
as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for
it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him
drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:9-21).
The psalmist encourages us in our struggles with these words: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under
the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall
deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings
shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that
flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall
fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee (Psa 91:1-7).
Within our battles, we must
remember who is on the side of the believer. Paul reminds us of the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according
to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand
in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in
this world, but also in that which is to come (Eph 1:20-21). We shall also, according to the riches of his glory, be strengthened
with might by his Spirit in the inner man (Eph 3:16). Paul instructed the believers in Ephesus to be strong in the Lord, and in the
power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph 6:10-11). In
our battles with evil, we are to war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience... (1 Tim 1:18-19), and to Fight the good
fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses(1 Tim 6:12). We are to be strive to constantly be aware of Satan's devices, lest Satan should get an advantage of us (2 Cor 2:11).
Christ specifically instructs us to pray that God the Father will not lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Mat 6:13).
our resistance of evil, the believer in Christ is to Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh
about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren
that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered
a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you (1 Peter 5:8-10). Those who have come to a saving faith in Christ are
also to resist evil through a change in our behavior. We should put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and
true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry,
and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather
let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication
proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve
not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour,
and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even
as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Eph 4:24-32). We should turn from darkness [hidden things] to light [revealed, visible,
open, apparent things] and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them
which are sanctified by faith that is in me (Act 26:18).
EXPECT AND RESIST EVIL
Clearly, the scriptures instruct us to put
on the whole armor of God, resist evil, and put on the new man of righteousness and true holiness. We should ask, though, since the
believer will sooner or later be confronted with evil, what should the believer's attitude towards evil be.
First of all, we
should expect to enter into battles with evil. Peter tells us, Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to
try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when
his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy (1 Peter 4:12-13). Peter later instructs us to Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith,
knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world (1 Peter 5:8-9).
Second, within our
struggles against evil, the believer will also find it necessary to take a stand and stay in the fight. As Paul tells us, those who
trust in Christ should Beareth [suffer with patience] all things [including evil], believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth
all things (1 Cor 13:7), knowing that ...he that shall endure [abide, continue, stand, stay, tarry] unto the end, the same shall be
saved (Mar 13:13). We should not only expect the battle, but expect to endure within the battle.
Third, Paul also exhorts us
to Abhor [detest and depart from] that which is evil; cleave to that which is good (Rom 12:9).
Fourth, the believer in Christ
should not only expose evil, but abandon it as well. Scriptures instruct us to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
but rather reprove [admonish, convict, rebuke] them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light (Eph 5:11-13).
in our battles against Satan and evil, we should change our behavior and overcome evil with good. Paul wrote the believers in Rome
these instructions: Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much
as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written,
Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so
doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:17-21).
the believer must humble himself before God and resist evil: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee
from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight
of the Lord, and he shall lift you up (James 4:7-10).
Seventh, the believer in Christ should never forget that the battle is
not wholly ours, but prayerfully seek the Lord and His deliverance. Christ, Himself, instructed the multitudes, as well as His own
disciples, to pray that God would lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil... (Mat 6:13).
Eighth, and last, we are
to also give thanks for the presence of evil and struggles within our lives, not only because tribulations in our natural lives bear
spiritual fruit, but giving thanks in all things is God's will for us. Our battles bring us hope. The apostle Paul wrote the church
in Rome to glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Rom 5:3-5).
Paul wrote the church at Ephesus, give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph
5:20), and likewise instructed the church in Thessalonica to in every thing [including evil] give thanks: for this is the will of
God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thess 5:18).
HAVING SPOILED PRINCIPALITIES AND POWER
Warfare in spiritual life of
the believer is unavoidable, but we must remember that the eventual and total victory has been provided, not by us, but by Jesus Christ.
Only Christ has the authority and power to completely and eternally defeat evil. Look what Paul wrote to the Colossian believers.
The apostle Paul explained the source and dynamics of our eventual victory when he wrote, For in him [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness
of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised
with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with
him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And
you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to
his cross; And having spoiled [separated, caused to depart, caused to cease, reversed, to strip, take off from, to divest wholly]principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it (Col 2:9-15).
Our triumph over evil powers
and principalities is available only through faith in Christ, for God the Father specifically anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the
Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him (Acts
10:38). Paul also refers to God's power to overcome all evil when he wrote, And what is the exceeding greatness of his [God the Father's]power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the
dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and
every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come (Eph 1:19-21). In His own words, Christ said,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the
acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18-19). The scriptures also instruct us that, Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of
flesh and blood, he [Christ] also himself likewise took part of the same [and became flesh and blood]; that through death he might
destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject
to bondage (Heb 2:14-15).
Again, Christ has overcome all of our enemies, including the enemy of death. Paul wrote the believers
in Corinth, For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits;
afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the
Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his
feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death (1 Cor 15:22-26). The apostle John likewise teaches, He that committeth sin
is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the
works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Regarding the church of believers, Christ told His own disciples, the gates of hell shall not prevail
against it (Mat 16:18).
The apostle John also wrote, Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should
be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it
doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law:
for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he [Christ] was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive
you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth
from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:1-8). The
psalmist instructs us, that in spite of our weaknesses, God shall receive us: Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is
like the beasts that perish. This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Like sheep they are laid in
the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume
in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me (Psalms 49:12-15).
the one who knows God and Christ, the [gospel] word of God abideth in you, and ye [through our faith and the presence of the gospel
message within us] have overcome the wicked one (1 John 2:14). The believer's full and eternal victory over evil is also assured because
of the ongoing intercession of Christ for us: It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand
of God, who also maketh intercession for us (Rom 8:34). In the final analysis, the believer in Christ overcame him [the accuser, Satan,
and evil] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (Rev 12:11).
God also hath highly exalted him [Christ], and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should
bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ
is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Php 2:9-11). Writing to the Corinthian church, Paul reminds us where our true victory over
evil and death comes from: thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren,
be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the
Lord (1 Cor 15:57-58).
The holy scriptures make it perfectly clear that we wrestle. Therefore, Paul's words to the believers
at Ephesus should be enlightening and encouraging to us as well. Paul wrote them, and us, be strong in the Lord, and in the power
of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Take unto us the whole
armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having our loins
girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith we shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet
of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and
watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints, so that we, as Paul, may open our mouths boldly, to make
known the mystery of the gospel, For which we are ambassadors. AMEN.