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"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" Ephesians 6:12.
Jesus came into the world to destroy Satan's power (1 John 3:8). Satan is called "the prince of this world" (John 14:30; 16:11), "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2) and "the enemy" (1 Peter 5:8). Satan rules through a network of demon spirits called "principalities and powers." God has now called us to be actively involved in the battle with Satan.
"...on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it" Matthew 16:18.
The Victory of the Cross
"And having disarmed the [principalities and powers], he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" Colossians 2:15.
Before we can play our part in the battle for people's lives, we must understand what Jesus has already accomplished. If we do not first have a revelation of the finished work of the Cross, we will end up struggling to do what has already been done. Spiritual warfare is not trying to complete the work of the Cross. Spiritual warfare is enforcing a victory already won. We are not fighting for victory; we are fighting for victory.
Just before Jesus went to the Cross, He made this declaration:
"Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out" John 12:31.
The Cross was God's answer to breaking Satan's power. When Jesus died, God counted His death as the death of the whole of mankind (2 Corinthians.5:14). The basis of our victory over Satan is the Cross of Christ! Ever since Adam, the "old self" - everything that stood opposed to God (Colossians.1:21-22; Ephesians 4:17-19; Romans. 1:18-32) - has given Satan the right to rule on two levels:
- Over the individual (Ephesians 2:1-2; 1 John 3:8)
- Over the community (1 John 5:19; note Luke 4:5-6)
At the Cross, God dealt decisively with Satan's claim for rulership on both these levels. Not only did my old self die with Christ on the Cross (Romans.6:6; Galatians.2:20). The whole world - the corporate "body of sin" - was also crucified in Christ.
"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" Galatians 6:14.
We do not need to try to break the power of principalities over communities. That power has already been broken at the Cross. The "strong man" has been bound and we are now plundering his goods (Matthew 12:29). We are now called to enforce the victory already won on the Cross - through prayer (Ephesians 6:12-18; 1 Timothy 2:1-2), the preaching of the Gospel (Acts 26:18) and the display of God's power over the enemy (Luke 10:19; 1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:5).
"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know...his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion..." Ephesians 1:17-21.
The Bible declares that Christ is now seated in a position "far above" principalities and powers. Not only that, we have also been seated with Christ in the same position (Ephesians 2:6). It is from this position that we wage warfare against the power of the enemy that holds people's lives in bondage.
"And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church" Ephesians 1:22.
Tearing Down Strongholds
"The weapons we fight with...have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God..." 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.
Even though he has been defeated at the Cross, Satan seeks to hold out against God's authority by building spiritual strongholds. These strongholds are the lies which blind people's minds and oppose the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 4:4). They are the strongholds of dead religion, philosophies and self-centredness - everything that is the opposite of the Gospel.
The Bible tells us that God "will soon crush Satan under your feet" (Romans.16:20), but the previous verse says, "I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil." We do not need to discover every secret of Satan's kingdom in order to tear down spiritual strongholds (Revelation.2:24). Even in battle, our focus must remain fixed on the Lord (Hebrews.12:2).
Binding and Loosing
"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" Matthew 16:19.
When we bind (restrict the power and activity of Satan) and loose (set free that which has been bound by Satan), we are exercising authority that comes from God's throne. In the original language of the Bible, Matthew 16:19 means: "Whatever you bind on earth will have already been bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will have already been loosed in heaven." The directives flow from God's throne to us, not the other way around. We enforce God's will "on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).
When Jesus returns, the structure of Satan's kingdom will be totally dismantled (Isaiah.24:21-22; Revelation.20:2-3). Until then, God's purpose is that "now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 3:10). In your community, God plans to "crush Satan under your feet" (Romans 16:20).
"May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands...to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the Lord" Psalm 149:6,8-9.
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