The Reality of Spiritual Warfare by Jimmy Toney

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Spiritual warfare is the unseen battle that rages around and within us each day. Because of this conflict, it is necessary for Christians to have a thorough knowledge of our enemy and his cunning before we can engage in a winning fight. In Ephesians 6 Paul identified our adversary and the only means of defense against his attacks. Teaching from this chapter, Alistair Begg calls listeners to prepare for the daily struggle that we face against evil in all areas of our lives.

The Whole Armor of God
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Ephesians 6:10-12
These tyrants operate in “this darkness,” an allusion to their antagonism and opposition to God. They are spiritual ones of wickedness — an insinuation of their choice to pursue rebellion and evil (cf. 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; Mt. 25:41).

This battle is as real as the devil himself. To deny the existence of the devil is a flat rejection of the Bible’s divine inspiration. The Lord said that eternal fire was prepared for “the devil and his angels” (Mt. 25:41). He is Satan, the adversary; he is the devil, our accuser — the enemy of God and man. He is our enemy, the serpent, the dragon, the always-tempting one, the deceiver, the father of lies, a murderer from the beginning, ruler of this world, and prince of the power of the air (1 Pet. 5:8; Mt. 13:25; Rev. 12:10; Rom. 16:20; Rev. 20:2; Mt. 4:3; 1 Thes. 3:5; Jn. 8:44; 12:31; Eph. 2:2). And he is not alone in his evil schemes (Mt. 25:41). These created beings are subject to the sovereignty of God, exercise only limited authority, are fallen and condemned, and will ultimately be defeated by the Lord (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; Heb. 2:16; 1 Cor. 15:24-25). They will suffer eternal punishment (Mt. 25:41).

The warfare is clearly understood through the devil’s actions throughout history. In the garden of Eden, he brought upon mankind the curse of death. In Bethlehem, he hoped to kill man’s Savior — the infant Christ. In the wilderness, he tempted the Lord to abandon his mission, and in the garden of Gethsemane, he hoped betrayal would demoralize and deliver him. On Calvary, he hoped to isolate him, but on the resurrection morning, the devil’s head was stomped, and his days are numbered. Put on the armor of God, and Satan cannot defeat you (Eph. 5:13; 1 Jn. 5:18), for our great God and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ has been victorious, having conquered him who had power over death, that is the devil (Heb. 2:14). Christ Jesus has the keys of death and hades (Rev. 1:18).
For some of us, the hardest battles are fought within ourselves. We can understand the circumstances and situations that the enemy uses to destroy us. We can accept the truth of how the world lures and tempts us. We can understand to some degree that the battle in the spiritual realm is ongoing and real, even though we cannot see it. But, to get a grasp on what is going on within our own hearts and minds can be the hardest, most exhausting, battle of them all.