I’ve been reading Ephesians a lot lately (I’m assuming a lot of Christians have been, especially the last chapter). In chapter 6 (the grand finale) it tells the Believer to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength o His might. Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers and against the powers, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness, in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10-12).
Sitting at church last night, we were flipping pages back and forth between Ephesians and Colossians. Sometimes you miss stuff in the Bible until you read it out loud with others, especially those who read out of a different translation than you. So, there I am, snuggled into a padded pew, with one finger in Ephesians and one in Colossians, and we began reading about “principalities and powers” (you know the forces we are told in Ephesians 6 that we are fighting against). Well, in Colossians 2, it says two things about these principalities and powers that I have simply missed up until this point, partly because I never read it in the NKJV, which calls them “principalities and powers” rather than “rulers and authorities” (which sounds like it could be talking about the physical realm). Partly because we were made to function within a Body of believers and sometimes we just won’t see things unless another Christians sees them first. It’s God’s glorious design for Church unity. And partly because the Bible is so deep and wide that a person could read it for 800 years and still see new things. So, here’s what I saw…
The same principalities and powers that we are at war with, are the same that “He made a public display of” when “He triumphed over them” at the cross. In fact, it says “He had disarmed the rulers and authorities” (“principalities and powers”). So, basically, according to Colossians 2:15, the same demonic forces we battle with now, Jesus has already disarmed and beaten.
And the other thing we scavenged out of Colossians 2, last night, was in verse 10. which says “He (Jesus) is the head over all rule and authority (or principalities and powers).” Jesus has entire authority over those we are at war against (and let me just tell you, they HATE it!).
Folks, we are fighting the wrong war when we think we are fighting a virus, or differing opinions (even those we think affect our lives), or economic collapse, or the socialist-media giants who censor everything that doesn’t fit their rhetoric, or the corrupt politicians selling us into slavery. There are a whole lot of pawns on the battlefield. But the truest truth is that this is a spiritual war, between the impeccably good and glorious King of kings vs. the wicked, vindictive, and cruel principalities and powers.
But here’s the glorious part. God already won! He has ALL authority. When Jesus was being lifted back to heaven, to His throne, He told His disciples “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18). Then He told them to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the triune names of God (Father, Son and Spirit). His final, parting words were “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.
Now guys, this world isn’t promised to get any prettier. This war might look like the nastiest, filthiest, ugliest battlefield, and a lot of human lives might be lost. I will not even pretend to think it won’t. I won’t even tell you what my predictions are, because I don’t want you to lose sight of what is even more true than the darkness and suffering we will likely experience. And that is that King Jesus, the One true God, who reigns forever, has ALL AUTHORITY under His feet! There is not a wicked force in this colossal universe that can undermine or undo what He intends. He might permit evil for a season, but for a well-seasoned believer, we can always look back on our lives and proclaim like Joseph did to his brothers “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20). TO PRESERVE MANY PEOPLE ALIVE. And for some reason, I think this time around, He is using the suffering to save people from a spiritual famine that ends in hell, rather than a physical famine as was the case in Joseph’s day.
So, let’s get to work with being bold about the greatness of God! If Jesus’ parting words were that He had complete authority, and would never leave us, and that He wanted us to be about making disciples, then the ugliness in the world around us ought not terrify us, but rather remind us that we’re running out of time down here. People need to know that Jesus is the triumphant one (not all those other idols that people call “gods”). They need to know that He is lovely and worthy and righteous and true, and that He is the one and only hope for this generation, as well as every other generation that’s ever been… and I’d say ever will be, but I’m not very confident that we aren’t the last.
Remember, those demons you are wrestling against (because that’s really what this is), they are fighting against God. If Jesus is your God, and I sure do hope He is (or else you’re on the wrong side of this battlefield), then your Papa who loves you all the way to the cross and back, is more than capable of a rescue. He’s also capable of keeping you alive in the fire, like He did for those three Jewish boys in Nebuchanezzar’s day. And if He doesn’t keep you alive, you are headed somewhere incomprehensibly better, so why fret over saying “good-bye” to this broken world?
And one more treasure from Ephesians and Colossians… Colossians 2:9 says that in Jesus “the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form”, immediately followed by “in Him you have been made complete (or full)”! And in Ephesians 3:19, it speaks of us being rooted, grounded, comprehending and knowing the love of God “that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Did you follow that? Jesus, who is the fullness of God, makes us full of Him by filling us to overflowing with His love for us.
It is so easy when we are in a battle to get weary and worn. It is easy to feel like our function of evangelists is coming from a place of stale obedience or fear of hell, when it ought to be an overflow of affection. We love others and care about their souls, because we’re been lavishly loved by God Himself. We have strength for the battle because we know the God who loves us strengthens us and gives us endurance. And we know that the God who we fight for and with has all authority, and loves us enough that He has been preparing a palace for us for these past couple thousand years. None of the sufferings we may have to endure can carry water, when our souls are cupping glory and everlasting hope!
So, a toast, to King Jesus! “To Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or thing, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”