Sunday, June 8, 2014

A clash of kingdoms

Everyone in the Church, each one who has been baptised into Christ and into the fullness of the Holy Spirit, must inevitably confront the enemy in the wilderness of this world as long as he lives, though, as with Christ, this takes place under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is because man’s very acquisition of the Spirit of truth constitutes a declaration of war on the spirit of falsehood.
“The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17)

The world cannot tolerate God’s chosen, the children of God, who have received the Holy Spirit and are led by Him, “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

When we examine this inevitable conflict with the enemy and study its causes and aims, we find, amazingly, that it is the Holy Spirit who is the instigator of war with the powers of evil and darkness, and that it is He too who is the guarantor of victory and the effective power that can never be overcome. As soon as Christ was anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit, He was led out by the Holy Spirit Himself to be tempted by Satan.

So it is with us: as soon as we receive the Holy Spirit and are baptised and anointed and enlightened and filled with the Spirit of truth, it is as if we have declared war on the devil, and we immediately enter into the struggle with the powers of darkness and the spirit of falsehood, which holds sway over the thinking of this world and forces it into evil and sin.

It is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of wisdom and right guidance, who alone can reveal in power and righteousness the movements and sly tricks of the devil in his thinking, conscience, behavior, and his body itself, no matter how deceptive they may be. The Holy Spirit has a greater, deeper, and wider power than the deception of the devil, and He brings it to bear when we throw ourselves down beneath the Cross and ask for help. The Spirit of truth is immeasurably stronger than the spirit of evil and reveals all the tricks of the devil, firmly overcoming them one by one, and giving illumination, understanding, and irresistable, divine wisdom. As the Apostle Paul says, “We are not ignorant of His designs.” (2 Corinthians 2:11)

Perception, enlightened by the Holy Spirit and committed to divine truth, is the strongest weapon that can be used to defeat the devil when he is at work in the mind of man, trying to corrupt the conscience to allow the follies of sin and evil.

The devil can only enter us through our mind and imagination, for sin begins with a movement of the mind and can only be ended by enlightenment that reveals how false falsehood is. We can only acquire this mental enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, or by the Word of God (Scriptures), for the Word is at one and the same time a work of the Holy Spirit, the power of God bearing divine authority, and the essential mind that forms and build all minds.

This is why the Lord uses Scripture, a terrifying weapon against the deceit of the devil: “It is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’”. (Matthew 4:7) Neither must we ever forget that the Word of Christ is itself spirit and life, or that the whole Bible is inspired by God, written through the Holy Spirit. It is for this reason that the “Word” found in the Gospel is an effective means of directly and constantly drawing near to the Spirit and mind of God for anyone who believes in Christ, for it bestows mental illumination, and even the power and authority of God, that reveals and brings to nothing all the maneuvers of the devil. The result of this is victory over the world and a greater share in the mystery of eternal life.

Christ defeated the devil for us so that we would not be defeated by him, and for this reason our names are written in heaven. Christ was victorious because He is the Son of God, and we because He granted us victory, for we have become sons of God in Him. Victory over the devil is therefore first and foremost a sign that we are chosen and adopted in Christ and through Christ. He did not give us authority to trample on every power of the enemy simply so we would rejoice and boast of our power; it was rather so we would not fear the enemy and be defeated by his deceptions and falsehoods, becaused then he would deprive us of mastery and victory that are ours in Christ, and deprive us of our salvation and everlasting life as His chosen.

To put it more clearly and concisely, we may say that we have been given the power to defeat the kingdom of the devil so that the Kingdom of God might rule supreme, and the power to cast out the devil, so the Holy Spirit may dwell in us and trample on every power of the enemy, so that the power of the Holy Spirit may control our whole life. It is also the power to bring to nothing all the tricks and ideas and plans of the devil, so we can acquire the mind and holiness of Christ. This is the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit against the devil and all the power of the enemy in our lives, and this is how the Kingdom of God is found on striving, sweat, tears and through constant, relentless struggle.

(Matthew the Poor)

“Remember who your teachers were…”
2 Timothy 3:14

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