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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Called Unto Holiness # 23

Wrestlers for Christ

Our Foe

The stage of the battle is set. We wrestle. It is an intense struggle; it is a hand-to-hand combat. We "wrestle against" - five times the word "against" is used. We have an out-and-out adversary; there is a fierce, aggressive, active, satanic opposition. Who here has not felt it? Who of us has not met it in his own personal life, in his home, in his work? But we are so apt to think that this conflict is with flesh and blood, that it is with some person in our home with whom we find it almost impossible to live, although it may be a blood relative. You dread to go back again to that person tomorrow; it is a comfort to be away from that person even for a short time. It may be some missionary is here who is glad to be on furlough because he is not living any longer with that person he has had to live with! The furlough means partly getting away from that person for a time. Let us be honest. We have considered that our wrestling was with flesh and blood, and we have been fighting against the human element, that is why we are defeated, and we have not won. But "we wrestle not against flesh and blood," not against a human, visible foe, not against a foe that is our equal or one on the same place with us. No, it is against a superhuman, invisible foe that we wrestle.

satan: A person

In this chapter there is revealed a distinct alignment between God and His hosts, and satan and his hosts. Supernatural persons are pitted against each other. It is perfectly foolish for us to underestimate satan's power. He is an actual, active, aggressive enemy. And this chapter reveals to us that he is the head of a host which is organized, mobilized, and energized by himself. Our adversary is a supernatural person. What are some of his names? He is the deceiver, the devourer, the temper,the accuser, a liar, a murderer. These names indicate his nature; they make us shiver with fear and recoil with loathing. All these names indicate what he is like. He seduces, he deceives. His work is destructive and diabolical, and this is our adversary.

satan: His Position

As a supernatural person he occupies a superior position. Christ Himself three times spoke of him as "the prince of this world," with governmental authority over men. He is "the prince of the power of the air," with governmental authority over evil spirits. He is "the god of this world," with spiritual authority over men.

satan: his Power

He is a person with supernatural power. The Bible does not deny it; it calls that supernatural power "the power of darkness." He is strong, powerful, and mighty. He is powerful in his methods, which are those of the gangsters of the underworld. He works by wiles, strategies, devices, and subtleties. The Bible says he is powerful in organization. He works through principalities and and hosts of wickedness. He is powerful in equipment; he has a stronghold, armor, spoils and goods. Our adversary is a supernatural person, occupying a superior position and exercising supernatural power.

satan: a Defeated foe

It is foolish to underestimate the power of satan, but it is fatal to overestimate it. There are people who talk too much about the devil and too much about his power. His power is mighty, but it is NOT almighty; he is powerful, but he is NOT all-powerful. He is an absolutely defeated foe.  Christ is the stronger man, and He has bound the strong man, and has despoiled him of his goods. As the representative man in the wilderness, He met the devil and He won a decisive victory over him; and He won it in the only way in which you and I can win that same victory. He was led into the wilderness filled with the Holy Spirit, and the only weapon He had was the Word of God. Three times as He faced that tempter He said, "It is written!" And there is no man or woman here who may not go back and gain the victory in that same way, filled with the Holy Spirit and with the precious Word in the mind and in the heart, ready to be used in any moment of temptation. The devil can be a defeated foe for you and for me.

The death of Jesus Christ wrested from satan every vestige of his claim upon mankind. Through the resurrection and the ascension He returned to His Father as Victor over satan and all the forces of hell and of sin. He openly triumphed over all principalities and powers. Through His exaltation He was crowned Lord of lords, and King of kings; Lord of the universe, and "Head over all things to the Church" by the Father. Through His finished work, Jesus Christ entered satan's territory and won it back inch by inch for His Father.  satan was judged and sentenced and doomed when Jesus Christ died upon the Cross, but the sentence has not been fully executed and will not be until Christ returns. So, in the meantime, he contests the Lord's victory and fights to retain sinners in his captivity and to regain saints under his control.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 24)

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