“Confronting the Powers”
Submitted by Tom Correll
Key text: Ephesians 6:13
The apostle Paul described our struggle as Jesus followers using the language of war. Arrayed in strongholds against us are the “rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world – spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”. He instructs us to arm ourselves with protective and offensive equipment, each symbolic of disciplines that will “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.
The sword is a weapon of war, designed to inflict pain and death on opponents. In the spiritual war the Lord provides a sword as well. (Eph 6:17) This weapon is “of the Spirit” – meaning “belonging to the Spirit”. It is the sword Jesus used when battling Satan in the wilderness.
Paul clearly states that this sword is the Word of God. There are three Greek words used to describe the Word of God: Jesus is called the logos of God, the Scriptures are called the biblios of God, and the sword is called the hrema of God. So we have Jesus the living Word of God, the Bible the written Word of God, and the sword of the Spirit – the spoken Word.
When Jesus spoke the Scriptures to Satan, He used the Sword of the Spirit. It is of utmost importance that we speak the Scriptures to our adversary Satan and to the principalities and powers.
In the record of John’s vision we read that the brethren overcame the devil by three things: (1) the blood of the Lamb – that is the legal ground and authority for resisting the enemy, (2) the (spoken) word of their testimony – that is our identification with Christ’s triumph on the Cross, and (3) because they loved not their lives unto the death – the term for lives here is soul or self life, indicating their self-denial.
In the conflict, God’s promise is that we will have the power in Christ to be overcomers. His instruction to us is to ”stand our ground”, and faithfully “to stand”, and to “stand firm” – unscathed by the worst the spiritual powers may bring.