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Spiritual Warfare in the Culture

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Monday, September 16, 2019 @ 12:23 PM
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Ed Vitagliano Executive Vice-President MORE

It is clear that America is in the midst of a moral, political, and cultural upheaval that rivals that of the 1960s – or perhaps even the Civil War era.

Furthermore, a Christian would have to be totally devoid of discernment to miss the clear signs of a devastating spiritual war engulfing our land and
its people.

Here are seven principles outlining the reality of the spiritual warfare that exists behind the curtain of the culture chaos.

1.  There is a spiritual reality behind earthly conflict.
Of course, the most obvious place to start is in Ephesians 6:10-18, arguably the most familiar spiritual warfare passage in the Bible. Paul teaches that Christians are enveloped in a “struggle.” However, the struggle appears to exist only in the realm of the physical world – i.e., people and circumstances. But our struggle is “not against flesh and blood.” It’s actually a much deeper battle.

When you consider the ongoing culture war in our nation, it’s not about what we might think it is. It seems as if the natural world is all that matters, but it’s not. It’s not simply the politics, the trash coming out of Hollywood, or the hundred other things that are convulsing our country.

There are evil powers assaulting the church and the truth. That’s what this is all about. They are enslaving millions in thick chains of darkness and dragging them away into ruin.

2.  That spiritual conflict requires a heavenly perspective.
Notice that Paul says these demonic powers dwell “in the heavenly places.” Who else is in the heavenly places? Of course, Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God – far above all wicked spiritual rulers (Ephesians 1:20-21).

The church is also seated “with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5-6). What is the church doing up there in the heavenlies? Positionally, we are seated in heavenly places because Christ is there, we are in Christ, and wherever He is, we are.

However, despite the fact that we live natural lives down here, we must view our battles from up there. In other words, we must have a heavenly perspective. We must have God’s perspective – an eternal perspective.

Psalm 2 offers a perfect example of that reality. The nations rage against the Lord and His Christ. They scheme and conspire to break away from His restraints.

We might see that and get very, very angry. Like Jesus’s disciples, we might want to call fire down from heaven and devour sinners. We forget that we, like our spiritual enemies now, were once rebels and blasphemers.

But God sits in heaven and laughs at their strategies – because He knows the final outcome. In fact, God knows that some of those very same rebels will one day repent and join themselves to Him. In the midst of the battle, Christians should also be encouraged that our God is sovereign – and in control of history.

3.  The coming of Jesus Christ brought light into darkness.
In Matthew 4:12-17, we see that those who dwelled in darkness and “the shadow of death” saw a “great Light” – the coming of the Son of God to earth. The core message of Jesus Christ was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

It is hard for us to comprehend the spiritual state of the world when Jesus came. Other than Israel – and a few scattered Jewish communities – everywhere one traveled, from one end of the earth to the other, there were only idolatry, false religion, and spiritual darkness. There was not a single lamp lit by biblical truth. There was no temple other than those occupied by demons. There were no priests or priestesses other than those who counseled people away from the One true God.

The oppressive grip of darkness was broken the moment Jesus was born. He was and is the Light of the world, and His coming, like the invasion of Normandy in 1944, was an invasion of an occupied territory.

4.  Christians carry on the work established by Christ.
We are the follow-up to this invasion – and we push ever forward into the darkness. Matthew 5:13-16 declares that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

For 2,000 years, a faithful portion of the church has taken seriously the words of Christ that we be salt (opposing decay and death) and light (opposing darkness and delusion).

Proof of this is found in a simple fact: The earth is no longer in complete and total darkness, as the light continues to blaze brightly!

5.  The “empire always strikes back.”
Wherever light goes, however, it immediately comes into conflict with darkness. Remember the core message of Jesus as He entered the world system? “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

That is absolutely a challenge to the darkness. Jesus is announcing that the authority of heaven has come, and all people are commanded to cease their wicked ways.

In Acts 17:30, Paul says, “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent.”

However, the powers of darkness do not slink away, whipped, into the shadows. Those “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” that Paul mentioned in Ephesians 6? They are ferocious and totally depraved demonic entities, with seething hatred for all things and all people that point to God.

This means we can always expect a satanic response as we move to shine the light of God’s truth in the darkness.

6.  There are only two sides in this war.
Therefore, as we might expect, there’s no demilitarized zone. People must choose their side. There is no room for wimpy Christians who will not stand for the truth or who worry about offending people. We don’t have to be jerks, but we do have to be warriors.

This is one of the powerful messages of the book of Revelation, where we see but two choices – the Lamb of God and the beast from the sea; two women – the bride of Christ and the harlot of Babylon; and two cities – the New Jerusalem (the holy city) and Babylon (the great city).

As a result, there are only two destinies for the souls who inhabit this battlefield: those who have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life and those who do not. There is no middle ground.

7.  We are an expression of that war – right now in America.
We are to resist the dark lies of this hierarchy of demonic leadership using every spiritual weapon at our disposal. However, “spiritual” doesn’t mean there is no accompanying natural effort.

We can stand for righteousness and God’s truth in a hundred different ways. Obviously we can pray, preach, and teach, but we can also write a letter to the editor, rebuild a flooded home, serve food in a soup kitchen, offer counsel in front of an abortion clinic – or vote!

If Christians can’t see that the culture war is a manifestation of a spiritual war, they’re blind. If Christians can’t see that this is a time to be salt and light, they’re disobedient.

This is a day when every soldier of light must put on the full armor of God and stand in the gap for America – because if she falls, all of Western Civilization falls with her.

(This originally appeared in the AFA Journal Jan/Feb 2019 print edition and online here.)

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