The Spiritual War—Part 2: Victory Through Jesus — A Pastor Chuck Smith Teaching
Originally published in print Issue 93 of Calvary Chapel Magazine
Pastor Chuck was the founder of the Calvary Chapel movement and the longtime pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, CA
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4
We are in a war. It is a battle of good versus evil, light versus darkness, God versus Satan. Paul spoke about the weapons of our warfare, signifying that we are part of this ongoing war. Yet this war started before man was ever created. It began in prehistoric times when Satan rebelled against God. At first, he was a beautiful angel: “You were the seal of perfection … the anointed cherub who covers … perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you” (Ezekiel 28:12b, 14a, 15). Yet, he was cast down because he said, “I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14b).
When God created man, the main battlefield was transferred to Earth. Man became the prize of the battle. The question was: Given the freedom of choice, would man choose to live in obedience to God and thus live in the kingdom of God, or would he join in Satan’s rebellion against God, and live in the kingdom of Satan? Tragically, man fell to Satan’s temptation and lost his place in the kingdom of God, becoming enslaved to the kingdom of darkness.
The purpose of Jesus Christ coming to Earth was to make a way by which man might escape from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God. Jesus fought the battle against Satan and won, and now He shares His victory with all who trust in Him.
Satan Attacks Jesus
Interestingly, the battle centered around the cross. Satan was well aware that Jesus had come to redeem the world back to God by dying on the cross. The strange twist is that Satan was continually trying to keep Jesus from the cross. We can learn a lot about the relentless nature of the enemy’s strategies in the way he attacked Jesus during His time on Earth.
First, he tried to eliminate Jesus as a baby when the infamous Herod—inspired by Satan—ordered the death of the infants in Bethlehem. Then, in the wilderness, he offered Him the kingdoms of the Earth, if Jesus would bow down and worship him—essentially tempting Him to take the easy way and not suffer on the cross.
The enemy tried to destroy Jesus through a mob seeking to throw Him over a cliff (Luke 4:29). On the Sea of Galilee, Satan stirred up a storm and tried to sink Jesus’ boat. Note that Jesus rebuked the wind (Mark 4:39a). When Jesus told the disciples that He would be betrayed, killed, and rise again, Peter protested, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” Jesus recognized that as the voice of hell and responded: “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:22b-23b).
The battle came to a climax in the Garden of Gethsemane. The struggle was so intense that as Jesus prayed, His sweat became as great drops of blood falling to the ground. We hear His words in agony, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Matthew 26:39b). Our hearts sink: Will He walk away from the battle and leave the world under the control of Satan? But then we hear His words, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (verse 39c). I am certain that we cannot comprehend the depths of His suffering in that hour or all of the spiritual conflict that was being waged. We know that afterward, the angels came to comfort Jesus.
One last time, when Peter tried to protect Jesus from being arrested, Jesus told him to put his sword away and declared in John 18:11b, “Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” What was this cup? Jesus earlier told His disciples, “For this [cup] is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). At last, the victory was won. Jesus submitted His will to the Father and determined to go [to] the cross.
The Power of the Cross
Why was Satan so determined to keep Jesus from the cross? He knew it would spell his ultimate defeat. Paul wrote to the Colossians that, on the cross, [Jesus] made [us] alive together with Him … Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it (Colossians 2:13b, 15). He exposed these demonic powers as He triumphed over them through His death. Jesus’ great victory on the cross spelled the end of Satan’s reign over the world and his claim over man. Because of the cross, anyone who desires to change their allegiance from the kingdom of darkness ruled by Satan can come into the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Choose His Kingdom
At Paul’s conversion, Jesus gave him a mission to the Gentiles: “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18). Through faith in Jesus, we can be delivered from the power of Satan to God.
So today, you are either in the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of light. Whichever it is, you are there by choice. Jesus has paid for the forgiveness of all our sins that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16b). Simply believe in Jesus today and follow Him from darkness into light.
Click to read Part 1—The Hope of Salvation of this three-part series on The Spiritual War.
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