Updated version (8/7/17) : We Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood (Version 2)
Who is the enemy? Who is it that Kindling Truth and those with a similar mind fight against?
I want to make this abundantly clear:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. – Ephesians 6:12
Wrestle: wrestling, a wrestling bout; hence: a struggle, fight, conflict, contest.
Flesh and blood: flesh, body, human nature, materiality; kindred. blood (especially as shed).
Principalities: (a) rule (kingly or magisterial), (b) plur: in a quasi-personal sense, almost: rulers, magistrates, (c) beginning.
Powers: (a) power, authority, weight, especially: moral authority, influence, (b) in a quasi-personal sense, derived from later Judaism, of a spiritual power, and hence of an earthly power.
Rulers: ruler of this world, that is, of the world as asserting its independence of God; used of the angelic or demonic powers controlling the sublunary world.
Of the darkness:darkness, either physical or moral.
World: an age, a cycle (of time), especially of the present age as contrasted with the future age, and of one of a series of ages stretching to infinity.
High: heavenly, celestial, in the heavenly sphere, the sphere of spiritual activities; met: divine, spiritual
So, who do we fight against?
Our fight is not against our fellow man, but against rulers, specifically dark moral authorities from the ruler of this world in this present age, against spiritual wickedness/iniquity in the spirit.
In other words, our fight is not against man-kind, but against Satan and other spiritual forces of darkness.
When writing or talking about the corruption that is entrenched in western Christianity, I want to make it very clear that my fight is not a personal thing against anyone.
Yes, I believe that the spiritual authorities, for the most part, are sinking in darkness. The same was true for Jesus’s day, and He said it would be true in the last days. Don’t think God would allow churches to fall away? Just read Revelation chapters 2-3. Maybe you’ve been told that these only pertain to historic events, or have some application in spirit but not in the physical, or whatever. In reality, most prophetic scriptures have multiple meanings, applying to each generation, both in the physical and spiritual. Just one example of misunderstandings that cause a lot of unnecessary chaos, confusion, and fighting.
I have no interest in fighting over:
- Secondary scriptural issues that have caused needless division in what should be a singular body of Christ.
- Petty arguments over “he said she said” issues.
- Politics and other ideologies of this world.
- Man-made ideas of what’s good or evil.
- Trying to defend my place in the Lord.
- Who is a “real” Christian.
Because of the nature of the vast corruption among those that claim Jesus as Lord, it’s natural that there will be statements and articles written about the mislead “churches” or other spiritual authorities of this world. It’s natural that I will write about strong delusions held by the spiritually afflicted. It’s natural that I would do everything I can to state the truth of Jesus as loudly as possible, so whoever has an ear can hear. It’s not my job or my place to convince anyone – and especially not my job or my place to condemn any individual or judge their personal relationship with Jesus.
Let me say that again:
I can in no way judge any person’s individual salvation or relationship with Jesus.
If something I write stirs up your conscience, then great. If it offends you, then maybe you should pray to the Lord Jesus and ask Him why it makes you feel a certain way. Maybe it’s because it’s the truth, and He’s trying to wake you up!
There are a lot of people out there who I care a lot about. Almost everyone I know is a Christian. Do I agree with their traditions? No. Do I think they are missing a lot of the big picture, key aspects and promises of Jesus that could free them from the dark rulers of this world? Yes. Is it my place to tell them they aren’t really saved? No. Do I want them to consider that maybe they are on a path to destruction? Yes.
It’s each person’s personal responsibility to work out their own salvation. It’s my job to love them and try to lead them to a better understanding.
You probably think something like, “who do you think YOU are!?”
Well, I’m absolutely nothing or no-one. My life is as meaningless as a grain of sand. Without the Lord, I have no goodness in me, no ability to love as I should, no strength, no anything of value whatsoever. All I can say is I’m following my own conscience and trying to learn who I am in the Lord. I believe that when we call Jesus our Lord, we should make Him ruler of ALL our life. We should surrender it all, not just bits and pieces as it’s convenient for us. I’m still learning what that means, and I have a very, very long way to go.
I don’t even claim to be “saved” myself, but I do believe that I will be, and Jesus has saved me from a lot of the strongholds of sin in my own life. If you want to say you’re saved because you made a one-time declaration. Fine. That’s between you and God, and if you’re on that journey and it makes you feel better to say you’re saved, then I think there’s nothing really wrong with that. But, I always urge against complacency and encourage seeking the Truth.
Who’s at fault? Who’s got it right and who’s got it wrong?
Who caused this mess? Well, ultimately I believe that God did. I believe that He allows everything to happen for a reason – reasons that we cannot understand on the surface because His ways are not naturally our own. But, I do think we have all had a part to play, and we will all face judgment one day.
Who’s wrong? Is it the atheists and agnostics or the churches? Is it the Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Penticostals, the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or any others? The answer: Everyone.
Anytime you look at a dispute, there is usually wrong on both sides.
Atheists deny God. Agnostics deny Jesus. New-Agers misunderstand spirituality. Catholics make a man God. Cessationist branches deny the power and gifts of the Spirit. Charismatics say that once you have the Holy Spirit, you have arrived. On and on and on the list goes.
Who will be held responsible? Will it be the atheist who never found God because she was made to feel harshly judged by a church because she wasn’t dressed well enough or had faith problems? Or the man who was seeking God in church, but instead got bashed for having long hair then instead of hearing the gospel that he could be saved from sin, sunk into a life of drug use and renounced Christianity all together?
No. The churches, the Christians – those who carry the name of Jesus but lead others who would have believed on Him astray with their man-made lying traditions, harsh judgments, self-righteous hypocrisy, gossip and backbiting, and general failure to love the poor and down-trodden (both physically and spiritually) – they are held responsible.
I live in an area where the drug-addicted and impoverished population is astounding – and the number of churches per-capita is probably just about as high as you can get. This area is full of broken and contrite people, those who would be fit for the kingdom of God if only the churches didn’t outcast them, but instead did their job and went out to them, showed them deliverance through Jesus, and welcomed them with love. And then there’s me. What am I doing about this problem? Not nearly enough. But I do believe the Lord is in control of my life and purposes, and I’m painstakingly learning to obey Him in all things.
And I’m by far not the only one saying these things. Jesus is raising up a people who are willing to say the hard things. His first fruits who are doing their part to prepare the way for His Day. Whom of which, are probably those many Christians are bashing. The ex drug addicts and prostitutes, the tattoo-covered hippies, the LGBT people — just saying. Why? Because they are broken. They know they need the physician.
What does one of God’s broken one’s think when they walk into a church full of people dressed to a T preaching Hell fire if you commit certain outward sins? Are they going to feel loved or welcomed? How are YOU carrying the name of Jesus? How many have you turned away because you claim to be a Christian but call people stupid, make fun of how they look, or cast stones at them because or their sin – but not believing that Jesus can actually heal them from it – while you are in hidden bonds yourself? Those are the ones who will receive the greater condemnation – and that’s not my judgment – it’s God’s.
But, even they – on an individual level are not my enemy. It’s the darkness that blinds and binds them. And I know not all churches are doing these things. There are many who really love and care for people. Many just need to get to the Truth so they can be more effective for the kingdom and body of Christ.
Christian’s are afflicted too.
On the other side, you have Christians being persecuted for being “Holier than thous,” “goodie goodies” or whatever. It can be very hard for a Christian today to stand by faith-based values without being called a bigot, backward, or any other number of names. So really, when you combine their persecution in this world with lies they’ve been fed about Christianity, it’s no wonder they struggle. The self-righteous are probably full of self-condemnation. Those overly worried about how they dress are raised in a society that feeds them a ton of garbage about those things, and they probably battle a lot of insecurities themselves. Those that bash certain sins like addiction and sexual sins have probably had those agendas shoved down their throats. Those who demean or otherwise judge harshly have likely been held to a crazy high standard (yet Jesus can’t heal you from sin. I just don’t understand it).
The brokenness is on every side and everyone is wrong in some way. But, if you claim Jesus as your Lord, He will expect more out of you.
Who’s got it right? Jesus. That’s it. The ONLY way we can come to see the small path of light in this deep dark world we live in is to seek Jesus in all things. None of us have all the answers. There are going to be secondary issues that we disagree on. But, there is a Truth out there, and He wants you to seek it in Spirit. Notice that capital “S”? That’s because the only way to have any ability to tell truth from lie and to understand scriptures is through the capital “S” Holy Spirit of God.
This was a long spill, but I hope it makes my position clear. Everyone has done wrong no matter what side you think you are on. My fight is not with you, it’s with spiritual corruption that trashes the name of my Lord and God and leads those who would believe on Him away from his wonderful Truth.