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Topic: Power (05/10/04)
TITLE: The Function & Objectives of Spiritual Power
By Doug Laird
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In the spiritual realm, power is manifested by one or two sources. One source of power is from God and ultimately glorifies Him. The other source of power is from Satan and is in opposition to God.
Satan was created as a cherub angel and was mighty in position & power. As a result of a prehistoric rebellion, Satan lost his position in Heaven, but God permitted him to retain a restricted amount of power until he is finally thrown into what the Bible calls the “…lake of burning sulfur” (Rev. 20:10 NIV) or “. the eternal fire” (Matthew 25:41 NIV).
Until the event of Rev. 20:10 occurs, Hell is neither the location of Satan nor his kingdom. Satan & his kingdom are alive and well and is the operating force in which the majority of this world functions. The power of this kingdom has influence over believers (who reject or refuse to learn and apply Bible Doctrine) and unbelievers alike. Some passively reject God and the things of God while others actively persecute the family of God.
Why God allows the Devil to retain and to use his power throughout the history of Man is one of the issues that have troubled believers since the beginning of time. The answer to this question is what defines the very purpose for the creation of the human race.
The human race was created for the primary purpose of glorifying God in spiritual warfare. This spiritual conflict started before the human race was created and will not end until its purpose is accomplished at the end of time.
In order for God to be genuinely glorified, His creatures had to be given the free will or volition to choose. With that free will, comes the responsibility to accept the blessings and/or consequences of exercising that volition. If God did not allow his creatures to make decisions and incur the resulting blessings or consequences, then free will or volition would not truly exist.
This sheds light on the very purpose (the glorification of God) for the creation of the human race. The struggle between the forces of God and the forces of Satan for the control of the individual human mind is the very essence of the spiritual life and conflict in which we were created to participate in.
Although Satan has already been defeated in principle and his eternal destiny has been made clear, he presently is doing all that he can to fight against the inevitability of his destiny & take as many souls with him as he can into the “lake of fire”. (Rev. 20:15 NIV).
The forces and power of both God and Satan have as their focal point the control of the mind. This is the battleground of spiritual warfare. What we accept (or reject) with our minds determines the spiritual destiny of the soul.
God will not and Satan cannot force either the divine plan or the satanic attack of that plan on anyone, as this would violate the free choice that God has given.
Satan exploits the fact that the fallen nature within us is “hostile” (Rom.8: 7 NIV) towards God and the things of God and is incapable of being otherwise!
There is nothing that Man, within his own means, can use to save or sanctify himself.
Even the ability to comprehend the Gospel message is a gift of the pre-salvation ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
To understand how the power of each kingdom operates takes an understanding of the plan of God with its two spiritual objectives & Satan’s strategy to attack that plan.
Objective #1: Salvation. Salvation is secured for all of eternity whenever a person believes in the Person (who He is) and the Works (what He did on the cross) of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Objective #2: Sanctification. Sanctification is a process in which the born again believer is conformed to the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ during this lifetime through the intake and application of Bible Doctrine under the filling (control) of God the Holy Spirit.
The power that the born-again believer needs to walk with God is found in the filling (control) of God the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Without this power, Man can do nothing in the spiritual realm. (John 15:5). Man without the filling of the Holy Spirit, at best, can only produce “wood, hay, or straw” which does have value in this life, but will be rejected at the judgment of the believer. (1Cor.3: 12-15).
Objective #1: Prevent salvation. Influencing someone to reject the Person & Works of the Lord Jesus Christ attacks the plan of Salvation. It matters not to Satan, if this is accomplished with overt blessings or adversity, as long as God’s one & only plan is rejected. When this is accomplished, Satan has won a total victory in the spiritual life of such an individual.
Objective #2: Impede Sanctification. Sanctification is the process in which the born again believer, under the filling of the Holy Spirit, is conformed to the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ through the daily intake and application of Bible Doctrine. Satan, through deception, offers a counterfeit system of thought and action based on false doctrines in order to impede or destroy what has been gained in the spiritual life of the believer. (1Pet.5: 8 NIV).
Salvation cannot be lost, but eternal rewards secured by spiritual growth under the filling of the Holy Spirit can. (1Cor.3: 15). To whatever degree Satan is able to deceive the born again believer, he has the power to secure a partial victory in the post-salvation life of the believer and deny God the glory.
The power to hold our ground and to advance in the post-salvation spiritual life is indwelling in every born again believer. “…the one who is in you in greater than the one who is in the world. (1John 4:4 NIV).
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R) Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights reserved.