Who Are You? - George H. Warnock
CHAPTER 3 - THE BATTLE IS THE LORD'S
In this great conflict that rages between the forces of good and evil we must understand the simple pattern of warfare that God has sent forth in His Word for the ultimate triumph of the people of God. And we must be assured that "the battle is the LORD's," and not ours. Failing to see and understand some of these simple principles can only lead to prolonged frustration and perplexity, as we seek to stop the flood of iniquity that has broken forth upon the people of God.
Too long has the Church of Jesus Christ been on the defensive. In fact, victory for God's people has generally been looked upon from a negative standpoint, even by the positive thinkers in the Church. Just know how to ward off the attack of the Enemy... just hold your own... find how to get healed from some physical ailment, or recover from some spiritual setback. Well and good. But the hour is at hand when God would mobilize His army for a final and decisive onslaught against the gates of Hell, so that His Church may come forth from the battle in total victory and triumph. We should say... that the forthcoming battle is the conclusive one, for the decisive battle has already been fought and won. When Jesus died on the Cross, He there and then "spoiled principalities and powers, and made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:15) It was there on the Cross that Christ "through death" destroyed him "that had the power of death, that is, the Devil" (Heb. 2:14) But the battle we speak of is the conclusive battle... the day and hour in which God will EXECUTE THE SENTENCE that was passed at the Cross, and crush the hosts of evil under our feet:
"And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly" (Rom. 16:20).
There are Two Panoplies
The scriptures speak of two complete sets of armor: that of God's people, and that of the Enemy. The Greek word is "panoplia," from which we get our seldom used English word "panoply." The word is used only twice in the New Testament: its first occurrence referring to Satan's panoply, and its second occurrence referring to ours.
"When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor (panoplia) wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils" (Lk. 11:22).
"Put on the whole armor (panoplia) of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil... Wherefore take unto you the whole armor (panoplia) of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Eph. 6:11, 13).
Notice that there are two strong men, and the stronger man does three things:
(1) Overcomes the strong man.
(2) Takes away the panoply of the strong man.
(3) Divides the spoils of the strong man.
(1) Overcoming the Strong Man
This kind of victory goes far, far beyond the ordinary concept of victory--somehow just surviving, just holding our own, making a successful excursion against the Enemy and then scurrying back to the fox-hole for safety. Our Lord is not coming for a defeated Church, but for one that is glorious and triumphant. Now I know that Christ triumphed at the Cross, but His Church still grovels in defeat--much as she may enjoy her victory marches, and sing about her victories.
Now Christ fully triumphed at the Cross. There Satan was robbed not only of his power (dunamis),--his ability to perform his works of evil; but also of his authority (exousia),--his right to dominate the Adamic race, and the kingdoms of this world. And so Jesus said to His disciples, "Behold, I give unto you power (exousia) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power (dunamis) of the enemy" (Lk. 10:19) And before He went away He promised that they would be "endued with power (dunamis) from on high" (Lk. 24:49) Satan's panoply has been taken from him; for Christ "spoiled" principalities and powers, when He died on the Cross (Col. 2:15) The word "spoiled" means He "unclothed" them--He took away their battle dress... He denuded them.
How then can he continue to harass and torment the world, and the people of God? He has done so by magnifying the darkness that is in him, and in this way devastating the world and the people of God with all those attributes of darkness: fear, torment, unbelief, strife, contention, malice, hate, division... and we could go on and on in this; and it is all a kind of DECEPTION of one form or another. Of course this has been very effective from his standpoint; and the whole world lies in the grip of "the god of this world" (his religious title), and "the prince of the power of the air" (his political title). His real panoply of POWER and AUTHORITY has been taken away; so now he continues to strengthen, even since the Cross, his panoply of DARKNESS; but it is all a lie, and it is only in the area of darkness and deception that he can do this. He succeeds, because "men love darkness rather than light." He succeeds, because even we as believers find ourselves entertaining ideas which the enemy plants their in our carnal minds. Our warfare, therefore, consists of putting on "the whole armor of God." and thereby denying the Enemy any foothold within us. And with this divine panoply from God, this total battle dress, this complete armor... God has assured His people of total victory. The whole world lies in the lap of "wickedness," or more emphatically, "the evil one" (1 Jn. 5:19); and "the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not" (2 Cor. 4:4). Only the ministration of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit can remove this blindness from the hearts of men, enabling them to believe. And may God help us to understand (and we will be enlarging upon it later)... that the ministration of the gospel goes far, far beyond declaring a message, or writing and talking about it. It involves a people penetrating the world of darkness by coming into association with the powers of the heavenly realm, and becoming acquainted and known of God in the citadel of Zion. Only then are we able to loosen the shackles from the hearts and minds of men. You cannot talk men out of their blindness... and certainly you are not going to do it by entertaining them with frivolity. There has to come about a healing... scales have to be removed from their eyes.
(2) Taking Away the Strong Man's Panoply
This is what Jesus did at the Cross. But in his defeat, Satan continues to cloak himself with the armor of darkness and deception; and these have become very formidable weapons in his hands. Not understanding that these are Satan's only weapons, the people of God have gone all-out in their efforts to acquire great and formidable (?) weapons to oppose him, and his kingdom remains as strong as ever. With all our efforts, coupled with all the resources of our modern technology (over which the Enemy continues to hold dominion), we have failed to make any real impact upon the forces of evil that rule the world. The reason is quite evident: we have not realized that his only weapons are those which operate in areas of deception and darkness: fear, hate, torment, contention, strife, and so forth. And yet we go our way preaching the "gospel," with these attributes of darkness still in our hearts. And thinking He has great power, we go about seeking to match weapon with weapon, numbers with numbers, resources with resources, tactics with tactics, strategy with strategy. He calls the shots, and God's people get excited and begin to snipe back. If he comes against us with what appears to be a powerful weapon, we will try to outmatch him. If he comes against us with some new technique, we are right there to meet his challenge, hopefully with something comparable or better. If he rises up against us with a great host, we will do what we can to rally a greater host to come against him. If he marches... we will organize a greater march, hoping to out-maneuver him. In other words, we try to come against him with his own kind of weapons, and he is not at all impressed. What does he care about your little shows, and entertainment, and your cute dramatic presentations of the gospel? He is only slightly amused, and sits in the congregation applauding with the rest of them.
We have yet to discover the way of the Cross. We have yet to know that one man can chase a thousand, and that two can put ten thousand to flight, if we are walking in the ways of the Lord. We have yet to learn that a people of God, clothed upon with the "armor of light" is God's only antidote for evil.
(3) Dividing the Spoils of the Strong Man
This is the third aspect of the victory of the Cross. We are to take the "spoils" out of the hands of the Enemy. The spoils are nothing less than the bodies and souls and spirits of men. Satan's goods "are in peace" as long as God's people are in turmoil... as long as he is able to hold dominion over the hearts of men. He knows his kingdom is sure as long as the people of God mix religion with entertainment and gimmicks and politics and keep very much involved with the ways of the world.
But our Lord has triumphed, and patiently does He rule and reign upon the throne of His glory "in the midst of His enemies"--even as God has decreed. He waits expectantly for the day when "all His enemies are subdued under His feet" ...the day when His people shall be "willing"--the day of His power.
The people of God are not only to enter their Canaan heritage, and then stand on the border of it and boast about what they have got. They must drive out the Enemy, and POSSESS that territory, and PARTAKE of the fruit of their spiritual heritage. Caleb exhorted the people in so many words..."don't be afraid of the Enemy... if God delight in us He will bring us in... they shall be our bread and butter." How little have we known of the fruits of victory in Christ Jesus!
How quickly would God bring us into our inheritance if we would but humble ourselves in His presence, and walk in obedience: in love, in truth, in meekness, and in the unity of the Spirit. Of course, we all acknowledge that these virtues would be nice to have. We will keep these things in mend and hopefully some day get more of them. But in the meantime we are in a war against the Devil, and we are not going to get too involved about those things right now--we are too busy fighting the Devil. And all the while we have this attitude we are failing to realize that these attributes of light, and love, and truth, and obedience--these are the only weapons that are going to defeat the Devil. He fears nothing when we seek to tear down his kingdom with our own human zeal, our eloquent sermons, our Church activities and programs--entertainments, nice musical presentations, dramatic renditions--all these carnally devised schemes and gimmicks that are formulated today for the propagation of the gospel.
But he fears greatly when he sees a people learning to walk in the way of the Cross!
Keeping the Unity of the Spirit
There is a divine order in the scriptures for coming into the full stature of Christ; and the apostle admonishes us to "keep the unity of the Spirit" as God progressively leads us on to the fullness of the truth. (See Eph. 4:1-15) In all of our seeking for more and more of the fullness of Christ in His people, we are assured of God's help and direction if we will walk in the Spirit, and learn how to foster and maintain "the unity of the Spirit" in our midst. First and foremost it means that we must acknowledge the Lordship of the Spirit in our lives and do nothing that will grieve Him.
But let us remember: it is not just "unity" that God is after. Babylon wants that too. God wants "the unity of the Spirit." He requires that we walk in union with the Spirit of Christ. This means we are to be speaking what He is speaking, doing what He is doing, protesting against the evil in His people when He is protesting against the evil in His people; it means we are to weep over the erring ones, when He is weeping over the erring ones. God wants us to be ONE in the Spirit; and like the dove which represents Him, he wants us to fly away from it all when His people refuse to walk with Him. When the Spirit of God has been crowded out of His temple, we have no choice but to follow... yet as true priests of the Lord we long for the day when once again we will behold the beauty of the Lord in His house.
Chapter 4 - The Secret of Our Victory
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