Five Spiritual Enemies

 

 

Five Spiritual Enemies and Five Victories of God!

Richard Hollerman

As followers of Christ Jesus, we face spiritual enemies at all times. How can we overcome these dreadful foes?

How to have victory over all through Jesus and His saving death and resurrection!

We are Conquerors through Christ

As followers of the Lord Jesus, we face manifold trials, temptations, and hardships every day of our life. Along with this, we encounter spiritual enemies that threaten to overcome us. How can we meet these adversaries through Christ?

Have you consciously dealt with the world and its evil ways? Have you battled with your own flesh and Satan, our arch-enemy? Have you overcome the enemy of sin? And are you prepared to face the inevitability of death? All of these spiritual enemies have their solution in Jesus our Lord!

We only have space to deal with these five enemies in a cursory manner but we’ll discover that God has given us the capacity to meet and overcome all that comes against us. We will not be defeated losers. We are victors through Christ!

 

 

Five Spiritual Enemies and Five Victories of God!

If you were going to take a trip to a foreign country and learned that many dangers were lurking everywhere you went, what would you think? What would you do? But suppose that you learned that though these enemies did exist, there was a much greater force that would come to your rescue in the event that you encountered a powerful foe. What relief this would be!

As we dwell on earth, we must remember that we are in enemy territory! We are on foreign soil and subject to manifold spiritual perils! We could not survive were it not for God’s provisions of victory. Let’s briefly discuss these spiritual enemies of our soul and how God can overcome them by His grace and power.

            1.    The enemy of the world

The world is all around us and we can’t escape its destructive influence on us.  The world consists of “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16). We can see that this touches all of us in many ways, every day of our life! The world is our enemy!

Paul the apostle warns, “Do not be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2). The world seeks to conform us to its evil ways that are opposed to the righteous ways of God. James also asks this question: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). John the apostle adds, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Again and again, God tells us that the world is an enemy and we must escape its grasp.

But there is victory! God doesn’t allow us to succumb to the world’s temptations but makes a way of escape. We must obey God in all things: “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17). Instead of falling for the world, we must submit to the Lord in all things. Scripture says we are “to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27).

If you are a child of God and know the Lord personally, you can overcome the ways of the world! “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). We can overcome through Christ! “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4). A submissive faith in God is the answer! “Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (v. 5). Through the indwelling Christ, we can have the victory over the world!

            2.    The enemy of the flesh

While the term “flesh” is sometimes used to refer to the human body in Scripture, at other times, it has a spiritual connotation.  The flesh is viewed as an enemy of the soul! The flesh works through the body and the soul to pull us down and defeat us inwardly and spiritually. “The flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Galatians 5:17). Living according to the flesh will be manifested in sinful “deeds of the flesh” and these will keep us from the kingdom of God (vv. 19-21).

The flesh is our mortal enemy! Paul explains, “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8). Are you dominated by this enemy—the enemy of the flesh?

There is hope for you, if you belong to God! We must be indwelt by the Spirit of God and submit to His ways. “If you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). Notice that the Holy Spirit is the key to victory over the inner flesh that pulls us down. This is why we can read: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

If we allow the Spirit of God to work powerfully in our heart and life, we will produce godly virtues called “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). We must come to Christ and submit to Him to find His victory: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (v. 24). Have you put your flesh to the cross? Have you allowed your fleshly passions and desires to be crucified? Christ is the answer!

            3.    The enemy of the devil

By the “devil” we mean Satan, the arch-enemy of God and His righteous ways. All of those who don’t belong to Christ are under Satan’s direct ownership and influence. With shocking words, John says, “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). We all become part of the world when we are dominated by sin and this means that we are under Satan’s (the evil one’s) power! Satan touches us in many ways, including false doctrines. Paul writes of “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). John speaks of “the spirit of error” that is connected to false teachings (1 John 4:6). Beware of false doctrines that come to us as pleasing and desirable teachings from many smooth-talking preachers, priests, pastors, and teachers!

When we are in sin, we walk “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit [Satan] that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were, by nature children of wrath even as the rest” (Ephesians 2:2-3). Do you notice that Satan, the flesh, and the world all conspire to pull us down and destroy us. What spiritual foes we have!

However, there is hope and deliverance! God through Christ and His cross has won the victory over Satan and his evil forces (the spiritual, demonic forces) (Colossians 2:15). If we conform to sound teaching of Scripture, we will escape the unsound doctrines of Satan and his followers. Through Christ, we have the means to overcome the devil and his diabolical ways.

Paul tells us that we can overcome the ways of Satan: “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-13). When Satan attacks you, you can call on God for His supernatural help and He will give it! He will provide a way of escape (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13).

            4.    The enemy of sin

We know that sin is involved in all that we have seen thus far. Sin works in the world, sin works in the flesh, and sin works through the influence of the devil. Sin is a monumental enemy that we cannot fight in our own strength. Scripture says, “I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin” (Romans 7:14). We also read, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

Scripture says, “You were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21). We all remember that Paul asserted, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). Sin brings death, spiritual slavery, alienation from God, and eventual consignment to the lake of fire or hell (Revelation 21:8). Sin is our evil enemy!

But through Christ Jesus and His death for sin on the cross, God has given us the ability to deal with the power of sin! When our old self is “crucified” with Christ, “our body of sin” is done away with or destroyed (Romans 6:6). When we die to sin, we become “alive to God in Christ Jesus” (v. 11). Once we “were slaves of sin,” but through Christ we are “freed from sin” and have become “slaves of righteousness” (vv. 17-18).  When we are “freed from sin and enslaved to God,” we may be holy (sanctified) and “the outcome, eternal life” (v. 22). Since Jesus Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3), we may now have victory over sin and live a holy life in Him!

            5.    The enemy of death

Ever since Adam, the first man, sinned in the Garden, we have faced the frightful enemy of death. Paul explained, “Just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). When you must say good-bye to your loved one in death, remember that this has been the experience of humankind ever since the beginning. We may shed tears and endure the grief of loss in our hearts, but we must remember that the enemy of death is the ultimate reason for our sorrow.

After death we all must face God in judgment: “As it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Death is a harsh enemy that we all must face! Death usually issues in the dreadful “second death” or eternal separation from God in hell (cf. Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8).

However, thanks to God, we can have the victory! The other side of death is the resurrection for the faithful follower of Christ. “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). We can’t escape death but through Christ, we may find new life through the resurrection! “The last enemy that will be abolished is death” (v. 26). Since Jesus our Lord was raised from the dead by God, so we may receive the same kind of resurrection: “Now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep” (v. 20).

Our victory over death and every evil enemy is in Christ Jesus: “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 57). We have victory over the last enemy of death by coming to Jesus our Lord and living for Him. As Christ Himself promised, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25-26a).

Our Victory Comes through Christ Jesus

Our life and future is dreadful indeed if we must face these five overwhelming enemies with our own strength. How could we deal with the world, the flesh, the devil, sin, and death with our own power and capacities. Impossible! In ourselves, we are “helpless” and hopeless (Romans 5:6; Ephesians 2:12), but with God, we can face our enemies with confidence and overcome them in Christ Jesus. “We overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

You must not face these dreadful foes in your own strength. Only the power of God will do! And this power comes only through Christ Jesus.  Won’t you repent of your sins and come to Him in absolute faith today, a faith that is expressed in baptism (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 26:20; Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:11-13). Victory will be yours in Jesus!  This will be a victory not only for today but for all eternity!

 

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