The final two chapters will reveal the true climax of…

The final two chapters will reveal the true climax of…

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The final two chapters will reveal the true climax of God’s Story, and what the true, biblical spiritual battle is all about. Chapter 14-16 will reveal how Believers are to fight this battle!
Creation was perfect! Satan entered and deceived mankind into going his separate way. Satan and the demonic forces want to separate creation from its Creator; and in order to succeed they will separate man’s thinking, man’s relationships, and man’s heart.
This is not a spiritual battle for wealth, or power, or territory or even dominion; these things have already been gained by Christ. The spiritual battle is for the restoration of the relationship between Creator and creation. God is restoring all things and the enemy wants to destroy that relationship. That is the true spiritual battle.

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life…he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that… you may participate in the divine nature…. make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love… if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…. whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore… make every effort to confirm your calling and election…if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2Pe 1:3-11 NIV)

The Apostles understood that in order to restore a relationship with God man has to be holy. In order to be holy man has to be able to obey God’s will. In order to obey God’s will man’s moral character has to be renewed. In order to renew man’s moral character the new “reborn spirit” within him has to grow towards maturity. In order to grow and mature Christians have to obey God. In order keep this from happening Satan and his demons must get Believers to reject God’s will and choose their own plan. As we can see, this is a spiritual battle for the control of man’s heart.


The Climax of God’s Story
The whole Bible focuses on the fact that God is in the process of restoring all creation back to perfection. That is His “vision,” His goal for creation and the reason for allowing spiritual warfare to go on. The presence of Satan and demons and the spiritual battle, only make sense when we see it from this view. It isn’t because God needs to fight the Devil to get back what was taken from Him or from man. He already has satisfied His justice and everything belongs to Him and is under His authority. Now He is focused on preparing the true Believers for their inheritance waiting for them in heaven. The spiritual battle, in God’s story, trains or disciplines them to be restored as God’s representative on Earth.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews will help us to understand how the restoration works.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Contrary to some teachers and preachers, the “great cloud of witnesses” are not the saints sitting and watching us from heaven. Instead, they are “witnesses” whose lives testify about God’s faithfulness to the people of faith. The writer is saying that since we have so many great witnesses to God’s trustworthiness, we should follow their example and live the life of faith. “Throwing off” everything that hinders us, even the sin that traps us so easily. We should make up our minds to trust God and “live through” the life He has called us to with all its difficulties, sufferings, and victories. Following the example set by Jesus Christ who trusted the Father even through death. He is the One who pioneered (first to live a holy life) and completed (perfected) the life of faithful obedience.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning/despised its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Think about how He perfected the life of faith? He didn’t seek out dominion, wealth, power or authority. He focused on His future glorification, storing up treasure that will last in heaven by growing and maturing spiritually. He learned faithful obedience by taking a stand against all opposition, including enduring the cross. He faced every attack the enemy sent and persistently resisted, not breaking down or giving in. Think about that so that you don’t grow weary and lose heart when you face the tribulations of the Christian life.
5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?
The writer wants us to recognize that the tribulations we go through (the trials, temptations, the triumphs and defeats, the successes and failures etc.) are the way God disciplines Believers. It is not the kind of discipline that is meant to punish, it is the kind of discipline that a father uses to train his children. It is the kind of discipline that shows that God accepts us as His children. Every parent encourages, rebukes and corrects their children in order to prepare them for life in this world. In the same way God shows that we are His children by disciplining us for a spiritual life in His Presence.
8 If you are not disciplined– and everyone undergoes discipline– then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.
The writer reminds us that every Christian must learn how to live a holy life. So if they’re not being disciplined than they are not genuine children of God because without holiness no one can please God. Think about it, if you are not seeing character changes taking place in your life, you are not a child of God. But if you see yourself changing then you can be sure that you are a child of God. It is a sign that the Holy Spirit is working in you. Knowing this helps us to understand that the reason God allows Christians to face trials, tribulations and temptation, and the reason He allows demons to attack them, is to teach them about righteousness, i.e. holiness. They are being trained to distinguish “good from evil.” (See Heb. 5:14)
11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Heb 12:1-11 NIV)
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Heb 12:14 NIV)
God’s purpose for spiritual warfare is to restore His chosen people back to the state and position they once had as His representatives on Earth. In this battle they will struggle at times, fail at times and succeed at other times. But in the end they will learn to live disciplined lives and their training will produce “righteousness” within them until they measure up to Christ.
This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. (Eph 4:13 NLT)
That is the reason for spiritual warfare and notice that it falls within the framework of God’s story, i.e. His vision of restoring “all creation.” We have seen that the battle is truly a spiritual battle because the enemy wants to stop the spiritual growth of Believers and ruin God’s plan to restore man back to his original spiritual state and position as the “image of God.”
So Satan attacks and lies in order to deceive Christians into submitting to his will. Satan has to attack them to gain access to the Believer’s heart because if he can influence the heart, he can control the Believer’s thinking and hold back the transformation of his character. But God gave Christians the freedom to choose and Satan cannot succeed if the Believer doesn’t allow demons access to his heart. Satan can only succeed if a Believer chooses to disobey God.
Now we have seen that Satan’s attack is on three different fronts and to focus on one front more than the other two will weaken a Believer’s defense. It weakens his defense against the enemy not his offense because that is what Christians must do, i.e. they defend themselves by resisting the enemy and not letting him have even a foothold into their hearts. The good news is that in God’s plan of salvation He worked it out so that Believers would be spiritually fit to face any attack of the enemy.
That’s why God has given us “spiritual” protection. Paul describes it as the “full armor of God.” When we examine this armor we will see that, in reality, it is made of the spiritual character of Jesus i.e. it is the righteousness of God. This spiritual character is a gift from God. But like all spiritual gifts, it must grow and develop within Believers. So every time a Believer obeys God and does things His way, the Believer grows stronger and matures. He learns to faithfully obey, and every time he chooses to obey his true spiritual condition becomes his new reality.
This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life. (Rom 1:17 NLT)

When it comes to theology, the study of God, it is necessary to divide it into separate doctrines in order to gain a clear and full understanding. But as you may have become aware of, these separate doctrines often times overlap one another. So, when you study spiritual disciplines it will overlap into the study of sanctification, or when you study the doctrine of spiritual warfare it will overlap into the doctrines of Christian living and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit etc.
One of the places in Scripture where we can clearly see this overlapping take place is in the letter to the Ephesians. One day I was studying chapter six for a class I was teaching on spiritual warfare when a word in Ephesians 6:10 jumped out at me. It was the word “Finally.” When a person writes the word “finally” it usually means that he is coming to the end of his thoughts on that subject or issue. But what was more significant to me was the realization that Paul had been focused on a particular issue throughout the letter and had finally come to his last thought that would complete what he wanted to say about it. Immediately I went back to the beginning of the letter and tried to follow his train of thought in order to discover his reason for writing. I didn’t know then, but I know now, that what I was looking for was what is known as “the author’s intent.” What was it that Paul wanted to tell his readers in this letter?
As I read through the letter, paying close attention to the details, I discovered that Paul was describing to the church in Ephesus what the “church” is, how it came to be, how it should behave and what its purpose is within God’s plan of restoration. But he wasn’t just talking about the local church; he was talking about the universal, spiritual church all over the world. The contents of the letter reveals that God has more than the Jewish people in mind in salvation, i.e. Jesus ministry was to reconcile all creation.
My careful reading of the context revealed the church’s part in this plan. It was chosen before the creation of the world to be reconciled to God; and that being reconciled to God meant that Jews and Gentiles were reconciled and united to one another creating one whole “new people of God,
” This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 3:6 NIV).
The unity and peace they would share and live out amongst themselves would reveal God’s true intent for the church. Which was to be God’s instrument to reveal His many righteous and good deeds to all the authorities in the heavenly realms,
“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 3:10 NIV)
In chapter 4 through chapter 6 Paul exhorts the Ephesians to live up to this calling from God by doing everything they can to “maintain” the unity of the church.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph 4:3 NIV)
You see Paul knows from experience that the devil wants to stop the restoration from taking place; which means he must break up the unity of the Spirit by getting the Believers to disobey God’s will. In the letter Paul covers three areas of Christian life where the battle will take place.
First, it will take place in the mind, i.e. Satan would separate Believers from the way God intended them to live and think about life. So Paul encourages them to hold on (persevere) to the new mindset and moral beliefs they were being taught.
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. (Eph 4:17 NIV)
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:22-24 NIV)
Second, it will take place within their relationships, i.e. they will separate from one another in order to fulfill their own self-centered desires. So Paul tells them to submit to God; and learn to mutually submit and respect one another.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Eph 5:21 NIV)
Then, “finally,” it will take place within their hearts, i.e. they will seek their own separate way to live without God. So Paul urges them to resist by living righteous lives and obeying the Holy Spirit.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Eph 6:13 NIV)
As we can see, the battle isn’t just a part of life, like something a Believer does occasionally to keep off the evil spirits. No it overlaps into all areas of the life he lives out every day. It consists of the choices he must make every time he comes to a crossroads where he must choose between doing things God’s way or another way. Every time he submits to God’s will he acts in humility; and when he is humble God steps in to fight the battle. This is the inward battle between the flesh and the spirit. Whichever is the strongest influence will control the character of the man, i.e. the heart of man.
That’s what makes it a spiritual battle rather than a battle over power, authority, dominion or prosperity. It is what Jesus was referring to when He said,
“But the time is coming — indeed it’s here now — when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.” (Joh 4:23 NLT).
This battle overlaps into a whole lifestyle that is lived out against the devil, the world and the sinful nature. It is why Paul the Apostle urges Believers to sacrifice their bodies on a daily basis,
And so, dear brothers and sisters,1 I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice — the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.2 (Rom 12:1 NLT).

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