For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
(Ephesians 6:12 ESV)
Every truly born-again child of God is engaged in spiritual warfare. Notice that God never commands us to join a fight. The fact that we are already in the fight is simply stated as a matter-of-fact. Therefore it is important to know who we are fighting against.
Our enemy is not other people who oppose God (flesh and blood). These people are human beings just like us. In fact, as we’ve read, we used to be exactly where they are now. We used to be dead in our sins, following the leadership of Satan [Ephesians 2:1-6; Colossians 1:13].
Rather, it is Satan who is our enemy. He has an army of rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, and spiritual forces of evil who are over this present darkness. We are living in a dark, sinful world over which Satan has authority [1 John 5:19].
Anyone who is not one of God’s children through faith in Jesus [John 1:12-13] is not acting of their own accord. They don’t realize it, but they are falling prey to Satan’s lies and deception [2 Corinthians 4:4]. Therefore God’s children should look at such people with tremendous compassion as we understand the eternity they are headed for if they do not see the truth, repent of their sins, and accept God’s offer of total forgiveness through His son Jesus [2 Timothy 2:26].
Christians often respond incorrectly when those who don’t know God condone and promote sin in our society. We have to remember that these people don’t understand what they are doing. They are acting out of ignorance. Looking back at when I was an atheist as a teenager and young adult I see now that I didn’t act on the truth. I acted on what I thought was the truth but which was actually a lie. So too are non-believers acting today.
The proper response to sin in our culture is not to attack the sinner but to promote the truth of Jesus as Paul did [Ephesians 3:8]. Just as importantly, we need to make sure people understand our motivation for doing so. We don’t speak up against sin for our own sake or because we hate. We speak up against sin out of love for those who don’t understand and who are being misled by Satan. At least that should be our motivation. If it isn’t then we need to do a self-evaluation and realign ourselves with God who hates no one but who cares about all people and their eternity [1 Timothy 2:3-4].
Our enemy is not the government. Or atheists. Or the gay community. These people are our fellow human beings. They, like all people, are eternal creatures who desperately need God’s love and forgiveness. We should care more about them than we do about ourselves. They think living apart from God brings freedom. But that only brings bondage. They need to know the truth.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.