Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Our Spiritual Warfare in the Heavenlies

[That you may know] what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church. (Ephesians 1:19-22)

God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-6)

To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 3:10)
The Lord Jesus Christ has been seated in the heavenlies at the right hand of the Father, far above all principality, power, might and dominion, and all things have been put under His feet. God has also raised us up together with Him and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Him. Notice the tense — God has already done this. It is a present reality, not a future expectation. Since Jesus is now seated far above all principality, power, might and dominion, and since we are seated in the heavenlies in Him, then it follows that we also are seated far above all principality, power might and dominion. Since all things have been put under the feet of Christ, and since we are the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:28), then all things have been placed under us as well, for the feet of Christ are part of the body of Christ.

Now, we, as the body of Christ, are in a spiritual warfare, as Paul tells us.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
We have been equipped with weapons of warfare that are mighty in God, that we may pull down and demolish strongholds and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. That would include every principality, power, might and dominion that rebels against the knowledge of God. Though it is largely a matter of mindsets, arguments and imaginations that are contrary to the Word of God, it is nonetheless a warfare that takes place in the heavenlies, in the realm of the spirit. These mindsets are all to be brought into captivity and made obedient to Christ. God has equipped us for this work in order to reveal the many facets of His wisdom.
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 3:8-10)
God's plan is to make His wisdom known by the Church to the principalities and powers in the heavenlies. How is this to be done? By the preaching of the gospel, making known, as Paul did, the deep riches of Christ, that the world may share in the fellowship of this mystery.

Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) and through Him we have been made more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). As His disciples, we have been authorized and empowered to do what Jesus Himself did: preach the gospel, heal sicknesses and cast out demons (Mark 3:14-15; Luke 10:9,17). When He sent out the Seventy to perform these works, they returned rejoicing that even the demons were subject to His name. He said to them,
I saw satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:18-19)
Jesus has given us authority to trample underfoot satan and all his demons, principalities and powers. These are all under the feet of Jesus and therefore under the feet of His body, the Church. The works of satan are destroyed, rendered powerless. Just as satan fell when the disciples did the works of Jesus — preaching the Word, healing the sick, freeing the demonized — satanic principalities likewise fall as we do those same works. For the dark principalities are just as powerless and devoid of authority as satan himself.

As the body of Christ, we have been authorized, empowered and equipped to make spiritual warfare in the heavenlies, that the multi-faceted wisdom of God might be made known to every principality, power, might and dominion. As we preach the Word of God, bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ and demonstrating His power to heal the sick and free those who are oppressed by the devil, these principalities will fall.