Spiritual warfare is something that either Christians spend too much time thinking about, or not enough time thinking about. There tends to be extremes when it comes to this topic: Satan has way too much power, or we simply don’t believe he has any. Both extremes must be avoided in order to think soberly about evil. To do this, we must also understand Satan vis-a-vis Christ, our Savior.
Spiritual warfare must be put in its proper context. Lest we give too much authority to Satan and his minions, we have to keep in mind Matthew 12:22-32. Here our Lord confronts the Kingdom of darkness by clarifying what it means for Jesus to cast out demons. Simply put, Jesus cannot be on Satan’s team, and if He was, Satan’s tactics would be self-defeating. You don’t win wars by shooting your own platoon. Jesus, in giving the reductio ad absurdum a form of argument that attempts to demonstrate to disprove a statement showing how it leads to an absurd conclusion
For Jesus, the opposite is true. He’s not here to help Satan, he’s here to destroy him. And how do we know Jesus is here to do battle with the ancient serpent? The gospel of the Kingdom of God! Jesus makes it plain that if it is by the Spirit of God that He casts out demons, then you know the Kingdom of God has come! If this Kingdom is going to come, that means the Satan’s little kingdom must be destroyed. Jesus came to tie Satan up and take His stuff, not the least, of course, is people.
Instead of repenting and trusting Christ, they blaspheme the Holy Spirit by attributing Jesus’ Spirit-empowered-works to the deceiver. This sin cannot be forgiven, not because God is unwilling, but because the sinner is unwilling. His heart is polluted with toxic darkness. He cannot come to God because he will not come to God.
The Kingdom of God
All this is to say, the in-breaking Kingdom of God in the gospel message lays waste to the kingdom of darkness. Jesus is the conquering warrior King who rides in history destroying His enemies and establishing His Kingdom. We ought to think soberly about spiritual warfare. It matters that we take seriously the evils of our society: abortion, rape, murder, crime, theft, government over-reach, false doctrine, idolatry, and so on. We have to work hard to get a grasp on not only the depths of man’s depravity, but the pure wickedness of Satan himself.
We mustn’t go too far, either, pretending that Satan is God’s equal opposite, and that God somehow is handicapped in history, struggling to keep Satan in check. Remember the words of Jesus: “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Earlier Jesus proclaimed, “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out” (12:31). The gospel of the Kingdom of God has effect, and it just so happens that Satan is on the losing side of this battle. Jesus brought the Kingdom to its head when He died in our place, for our sins, and walked out of the grave with true authority. Satan is on a leash and is a puppet in the hands of our Sovereign Lord.
So take heart, friend, when trials come your way. Turn your eyes to the Son who rides to conquer and to conquer some more. Place your faith in the One who does battle on your behalf. Fall to your knees and ask the King for favor—and it just so happens, that He will grant it. You need not worry much, the King has arrived, and His grace is not in short supply.