Throughout Scripture we are enlightened to the epic cosmic battle that has raged since the fall of man: good and evil, Heaven and Hell, God and His nemesis, the devil. The Bible uses a number of names to allude to the devil. He is called ‘our adversary’ (1 Peter 5:8), ‘Beelzebub’ (Matthew 12:24), the ‘evil one’ (John 17:15), ‘Father of Lies’ (John 8:44), ‘the ruler of darkness’, ‘ruler of demons’ and ‘ruler of this world’. Why is this relevant to our discussion?
A key strategy of any army’s defence is to ‘know the enemy’; to study their tactics and so be as prepared as possible to face the onslaught of attack.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
Can we be in any doubt that we are in flat out war? Why is Jesus so careful to explain the parable of the weeds in Matthew?
“The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil . . . .” (Matthew 13:37–39)
So what does the devil want? We can imagine that his aim is twofold.
Firstly, he wants anyone who isn’t yet a believer in the Lord to stay that way. If that fails and a person gives his or her life to Christ then his second aim comes into play: he wants to make those who believe in the Lord ineffective in their service for Him. He wants to make sure that we play no further part in bringing others to know God. He wants to shut us up and stop us from ever proclaiming the Gospel. To win a battle all the devil need do is bring the Christian to a point where they fail to recognise the war and see no need to fight this spiritual battle. It’s a stealth attack that is largely going unnoticed by the Church, and is therefore deadly.
A well known comic strip features a little boy turning to his father, with a Bible in his hand, and saying to his dad: ‘Daddy, I looked at the back and we win’
This is so true. We do have the advantage. When we look into the Scriptures we can see what is in store for the devil. Revelation tells us of the devil’s pending fate:
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
Ultimately the devil is destined to perish. However, before that happens he is going to fight as hard as he can to bring other people to that same fate. He is going to fight to keep the eyes of the non-Christians blinded to the saving power of the Gospel. Matthew 24:14 gives us an indication of the end of days. It tells us that the Gospel ‘. . . will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.’ At the end of days the devil will be thrown into that lake of fire. What greater motivation does he need, then, to stop us telling people about Jesus!
Where the Lord says that He is ‘. . . not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9), the devil’s plans are polar-opposite. He wants everyone in this world to perish with him and he doesn’t want anyone to repent. It is our responsibility to share the message of redemption with the world. We are God’s spokespeople in this lost and dying world. Are we going to stay silent or are we going to fight?
Keep on keeping on…
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