There is no question whether we are at war. We are. There is limited thinking among evangelicals about spiritual war. They mostly picture it as fighting with demons, devils, and evil spirits, either in possessed people or in the heavenlies. These things are a concern, but they are not what the war is really about. This war is over the souls of men. That is what the Bible, the gospel, the Incarnation, and the cross are all about. Evangelism is a war against the enemy to set free those who are held captive by him. Ignorance of the enemy is one of the reasons why evangelism is not effective.
The Bible gives some very clear information about the Enemy. Jesus said, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (Jn. 8:44). He is a murderer from the beginning. There is no truth in him. He is a liar; in fact, lying is his native language. He is the father of lies.
“Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! … He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” (Jn. 8:45, 47). Satan has children who are like him. Satan’s children cannot hear or believe the truth.
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:13–14). He masquerades as an angel of light.
“It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Cor. 11:15). His servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.
“And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:24–26). Unbelievers are in the trap of the devil; he has taken them captive to do his will.
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4). The devil is the god of this age. He blinds the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel.
“No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:7–8). He does not understand God’s secret wisdom.
“If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:10–11).
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:11).
We are to put on the full armor of God so we can stand against the devil’s schemes. Because we are aware of those schemes, he is not able to outwit us.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). We are to be alert because the devil is looking for someone to devour.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath” (Eph. 2:1–3). He is the ruler of the ways of the world. We were under his control before we were saved by grace.
“He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil” (1 Tim. 3:6). The devil is proud.
(To be continued…)
*Excerpted from Weapons & Tactics. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.