In the first article, I tackled the question of whether a Christian can be demonically possessed, and the answer was a resounding no.
But what about oppression?
On a personal note, I have sometimes been confronted with unusually strong attacks on my belief; from extreme circumstances to devastating setbacks, it seems as though every now and then my problems take on an other worldly persona. I quickly jump to Romans 7, rationalizing that these things are merely manifestations of the remaining sinfulness of my flesh. But is that really all that’s going on?
Everyday it it seems we hear of a brother or sister enduring spiritual battles, or struggling against temptation. Are such things related to demonic activity?
There is a War
I’m sure we can all agree that there are struggles Christians go through.
Scripturally, we know that we struggle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. (Ephesians 6:12)
Now, the term “principalities and powers” only occurs in the King James Version, along with it’s derivatives (NKJV, MKJV). The English Standard Version translates this to “rulers and authorities”. So, we know the struggle is against rulers and authorities that aren’t made of flesh and blood.
Looking back to Ephesians 6:11, we see the context Paul is placing these terms in:
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
What is the Holy Spirit trying to say here?
Well, let’s look at this entire thing in context.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12)
From this passage, we get a clear picture of the struggle, and what we’re struggling against.
The Enemy is Satan
Satan is the enemy of God; therefore, he is also the enemy of those of us who are in Christ. How does the enemy attack us?
Look again at Ephesians 6:11, focusing on the phrase “schemes of the devil”. The Greek word that is translated into “schemes” is methodia. That should look familiar to you, because it’s where we get the English word method. Methodia refers to cunning, deception, and stealth.
Now, deception can manifest itself in several ways, but one example can be found in 1 John 2:16. Notice that John seems to be pointing out a general focus on worldly things. Afterwards, John goes on to talk about antichrists, so we can assume this falls into the realm of Satan’s deception.
But is Satan personally assaulting believers?
The Battle is Against Demons
As we can see in our example found in 1 John 2:16, one of the most damaging ways in which Satan manipulates believers is by elevating the flesh while downplaying the spiritual war. We cannot fall into this trap, because to do so can cause us to lose zeal and lead to indifference in the Christian life. After all, why should we be warriors if there is no war?
As a recap, look again at Ephesian 6:11-12. We see three key points in the text:
- There is a war.
- The war is against Satan.
- We fight against demons.
Paul spends much of verse 12 showing us that Satan isn’t the only one fighting on behalf of evil.
In the words “rulers… authorities… cosmic powers of darkness… spiritual forces of evil”, Paul seems to be laying out a hierarchy for the supernatural powers of darkness. We see this evidenced by his use of the word “against” prior to each escalating reference.
I am not suggesting that the Holy Spirit’s intention is to give us a primer in demonic ranking systems. However, we should come away from this passage with a firm understanding that we face an unfathomably evil, organized enemy.
We see that Satan and his demons are to blame for much of the adversity we encounter.
But, that’s no reason for alarm. After describing the enemy, Paul launches into Ephesians 6:13-18, where he gives us specific and applicable strategies in our battles against Satan and his army. Through these instructions, all of us who are in Christ can be well prepared to face off against the demonic powers as we see the Day of the Lord drawing near.
Victory in Christ
There is such a thing as demonic oppression in the Christian life.
However, oppression is what occurs when we do not stand firm. War is what occurs when we bear up arms in offense against the powers of darkness.
In closing, I want to leave you with this picture of the returning Christ whom we love and and trust in:
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 19:11-6)
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://truthandfreedomradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/photo9.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Chris Beard is a lay minister, writer, and worship leader residing in Southwest Virginia. His passion is the study of God’s Word, and the preaching of the Gospel to all nations. He serves as a co-host and article contributor at Truth and Freedom Radio.[/author_info] [/author]