Spiritual Warfare

I. Creation of the Angelic Realm

At some point during the period of the creation of the heavens and the earth, (Gen 1:1), God created a heavenly host of beings, the angelic race (Col. 1:16). This race of beings dwelt in the presence of God, in service to Him.

At an undetermined period of time following their creation, and prior to the events of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3), Lucifer, the chief angel, fell into the sin of pride, desiring to be like God, his creator (Isa. 14:12-15; Ez. 28:11-19). As a result of his disobedience, he was cast from the presence of God. This act, on Lucifer's part and of those angels which followed is evidence of their free will. From that point Lucifer determined to do everything in his power to undermine God's plan. With the assistance of the fallen angels, Lucifer's plan is to prevent humanity from taking part in the kingdom and the worship of God. He attempts to accomplish this by deceiving people into worshipping him.

Although separated from fellowship and service to God, Satan is allowed a limited presence before God (Job 1:6; 2:1). Until the time Satan and the angelic host that chose to follow his leading are cast permanently from heaven (Rev. 12: 7-9), continued efforts are made to thwart the kingdom plan of God (Daniel 10: 12- 13).

There remains a multitude of heavenly angels that did not follow Lucifer's leading, and are still in the presence of our God in heaven. These angels are in service to their Creator and often act as His messengers to mankind. These holy angels are engaged in the spiritual battle that rages against the demonic forces of Satan.

II. God's Allowance

This act of defiance, on Lucifer's part, in no way diminishes the character, ability, or sovereignty of God (Deut. 32:4; Psalm 115:3; Dan. 4:35; Eph. 1:11). God remains omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. God has permitted this and uses it for His own glory (Job 1:6; 2:1; Prov. 16:4). The ability that Satan exhibits is only allowed by the sovereign hand of God (Job 1:12). Satan has been given dominion over this world (John 14:30; 16:11) by God for a measured period of time. Following this measured period of time, Satan will be cast out of the world (John 12:31) and ultimately into the Lake of fire (Rev. 20:10) to be eternally tormented for his acts of defiance.

III. Satan's War

Until the time of Satan's being bound and cast into the Abyss (Rev. 20:1-3), he rules this world with his demonic forces. Satan is neither omnipotent, omniscient, nor omnipresent but does exhibit control over the fallen angels whom he will lead to their ultimate destruction. Satan uses his demonic forces in a multi-faceted assault against God's kingdom. One aspect of this assault is the battle that rages in the heavenlies against God's chosen angels (Dan. 10:12, 13). A second front in this spiritual battle occurs in and throughout the world. As a result of sin, the world itself has become subject to the ravages of Satan. It can be stated that earthquakes, volcanoes, and similar natural catastrophes that occur are due directly to a fallen condition resulting from the events in the Garden of Eden.

Satan wages war within the hearts of men through various trials and temptations. This facet of the spiritual battle is conducted against both those who are and those who are not followers of God. Satan works against mankind to deceive them (John 8:44) into believing there is no God, no absolute truth, and no punishment for their disobedience. Due to the inherited sin nature, mankind has been separated from the fellowship of a holy God. As the great deceiver, Satan's work is to continue blinding the spiritual hearts and minds of man leading them to their demise.

Satan also works against the lives of believers, attempting to lead them away from service to God and service to His kingdom. He attempts to undermine their service by introducing temptations and situations into their lives which would detract them from their kingdom purpose.

IV. Demonic Activity

Satan uses his demonic forces for the distraction, deception and discouragement of the saints. These demonic forces, as fallen angels, exist in their spiritual realm and interact into the physical realm in which man currently exists. These demons interact with and influence people, securing footholds in people's lives when able. God's word shows that demons have the ability to speak. Demons do not reside in inanimate objects (1 Cor. 10: 19, 20).

Under certain conditions, a demon or demons may attack a particular individual. This is commonly known as demonization. It is conceivable that followers and believers in Christ may fall subject to demonization if certain conditions exist. If there is a pattern of life, a habit that is unconfessed and unrepentant, this may provide a doorway and foothold for demonic activity to become more active and apparent. All believers and non believers alike are susceptible if these conditions exist.

The concept of demon possession, however, is not to be considered a possibility in relation to believers for the following reason: a demon may not possess or occupy the same space as the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4). God's word does show, however, that both non believers and animals may be demon possessed (Matt. 8:28, 29: Luke 11: 19-26).

Even though demons have the ability to personally attack an individual, they are not able to prevent anyone from gaining salvation if they are being drawn by the power of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5, 6). Neither can a believer be forced to lose their salvation by the activity of a demon (Rom. 8:35-39). When a believer is attacked, this does not diminish their position in God's kingdom. Their position is secured through the finished work of Christ upon the cross (John 19:30). Satan however, attempts to deceive followers of Christ in believing the contrary.

V. Proactive Engagement

The greatest deceptive tool that Satan employs is misdirection, that there is no spiritual battle. As long as Satan successfully blinds the eyes of man, his work against God's kingdom becomes much easier. Followers of Christ have a responsibility to proactively be involved in this spiritual battle. This participation involves concerted prayer. This prayer may be to enact the spiritual help of God's holy angels (Heb. 1:14) or to support and strengthen the brethren (Eph. 6:17, 18). Prayer, in conjunction with God's Word is an effective tool to be utilized against the demonic forces.

We must acknowledge that with each passing day, as the coming of the Lord draws near, the spiritual battle will increase. As Satan is aware of the Lord's return, though he does not know the day or the hour, he determines to increase his efforts to undermine God's plan. Satan knows that he is defeated but never-the-less strives to hinder the progress of believers into the kingdom of God. We must be diligent to understand the complexity of the spiritual attacks. Satan orchestrates a very well coordinated attack against people intended to bring about discouragement and promoting defeat. The demonic forces utilize a multi-faceted arsenal of distractions and deceptions to lead people away from the truth. This may be in part due to a misinterpretation of Scripture as well as a misapplication of God's Word. It becomes incumbent upon us to teach the whole Word of God, with clarity and through the leading of the Holy Spirit.

As new ministries or projects begin, it is beneficial to instruct all those involved of the potential for spiritual warfare. As God's work is done, we will make enemies, we will encounter obstacles, we will come under attack. If there is anything good that glorifies God, Satan will seek to destroy it. The prayers of the saints is a powerful weapon at our disposal that should be used against Satan in every ministry (James 5: 13-16). A well managed system of prayer will benefit the fellowship and protect those involved in ministry.

Education is a must. It is extremely important that the fellowship understand the potential for each to be attacked and how not to allow demonic activity to interfere in their lives and ministry. Demonic footholds in one's life may be the result of improper relationships, behaviors or sin. We need to be aware of and look at situations and inform people that they may be being influenced. These areas may be dealt with through counseling sessions when needed. There may be situations when demonic activity will have a secure foothold over someone's life. This may manifest itself in a physical ailment such as a sickness or depression. It may also affect ones ability to fellowship and be used of God in ministry (1 Cor. 11:30; James 5:13).

The casting out of demons is not recognized in Scripture as a spiritual gift. As a result, this process must be undertaken, when necessary, with a great deal of preparation, commitment and spiritual discernment and should not be attempted by members of the church. When dealing with demonization, proper methods of correction and counseling need to be employed. Following the casting out of demons, an individual needs to be brought to the saving knowledge of grace through salvation. In either case, both men and women should be present when a woman is involved.

The College of Elders,

Calvary Bible Church