Spiritual Warfare

Tom Bast

READ : Romans 8:37-39

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood . . . but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12)

P. G. Wodehouse’s inimitable character Bertie Wooster was most proud of the fact that he had once written a magazine article titled “What the Well Dressed Gentleman Is Wearing.” What is the well-dressed Christian wearing? This is determined by the context in which we live: spiritual warfare.

The word Paul uses to describe where this warfare takes place is interesting. It’s the adjective “heavenly” but used without a noun, so that it might be translated “the heavenlies.” According to Paul’s usage of the term (four times in Ephesians), it’s the realm where Jesus reigns supreme (1:20), where believers have been raised even now with him (2:6), and where they enjoy every spiritual blessing (1:3). And it’s also the place where we do battle against the spiritual forces of evil (6:12).

This may seem like a contradiction. But it’s because we enjoy every spiritual blessing that we are able to engage the forces of evil at all; without this we would be no match for them. Even so, evil seems overwhelming. Between the violence of our world and the depravity of our culture—to say nothing of our personal demons—it’s only by the grace of God that we have the will and the resources to fight back at all. But Paul was a battle-hardened veteran of this spiritual warfare. He did not despair, nor should we.

PRAYER

Thank you, Lord, for Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, interceding for us in the heavenly realms.