This must be an important message for somebody, because this is the 4th time I had to start over due to computer and internet glitches. That’s okay. I can do this all day if necessary.
What happens, when we get saved?
You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. It is not a mere matter of securing our reservation for a spot in heaven instead of hell, when we die.
God doesn’t just want us to be saved from hell. When we are born, we are a soul, residing in a body, with a spirit that is dead due to the sin nature we inherited. God is Spirit, and our spirit is the “component” of ourselves that is able to interact with Him. Spiritually dead ones cannot enter the Kingdom.
The spiritually dead man, is a permanent attachment to the fleshly body we walk around in. The only way we escape it, is when our physical body dies, and that flesh sloughs off, taking the dead spiritual man with it. Both are then dead and useless, the body buried in the ground, or, if we go in the rapture, the body instantly changed to a glorified one like the one Jesus now has.
If salvation is eternal life, if a new spirit is born. Can that new spirit get un-born? And if it could get unborn, would it be eternal? Was it Nicodemus who asked, “can a man enter again into his mother’s womb?”
What we are after salvation, and what we were before salvation, are two entirely different entities, spirit-wise.
I have been contemplating about spiritual warfare.
You hear the term a lot in Christian circles. From the time Frank Peretti published “This Present Darkness” Christendom seems to have developed a fetish-like fascination with the concept of spiritual warfare.
The result, in my opinion, has been a certain contest of who is the bravest Christian knight in shining armor. And in this feminist era, that absolutely includes female knights, in greater numbers than males, actually.
Laying on hands, proclaiming edicts, putting oil on everything and everybody. As if there is magic in words, and power in oil.
But when the Apostle Paul saud fight the good fight, and finish the race, was he referring to grudge matches in the boxing ring with demons? Don’t get me wrong. I am not denying the demonic activity all around us, which Peretti did such a good job of drawing us a word picture of. I am not denying the activity and power of evil principalities and powers.
Why did Jesus say, in one instance, “this kind cometh not out but by fasting and prayer?”
I went through a particularly rough period of “spiritual warfare” once. I have a deep true desire to pray the “effectual fervent prayer that availeth much.” I had been in a 2 year bountiful growth season, digging into the Word, the Holy Spirit opening it up for me to learn so much about the Lord, and then the He guided me to study prayer and intercession.
When the Bible warned of deception in these last days, I think it goes a lot further than we typically think. Sure, false doctrines are rampant in the churches these days. But even those of us who study for ourselves, and test the spirits, are not immune.
When a call was put out, for someone willing to head up an intercessory team. I dove in, eager to apply what I had been learning in scripture about prayer and intercession. When that period of intense intercession was over, (a year and a half later), I was left drained, and physically ill, and thinking, “wow, I must not have been doing it right!”
Well, I was and I wasn’t. I started out with the right intentions, but was in over my head pretty fast, and I learned a very important lesson about what “spiritual warfare” is not!
It is not rushing in where “angels fear to tread”. It is not a matter of just “taking authority.” Not in the sense many try to do it.
Lets start with salvation. Before you address the enemy in any way, you better make sure you are saved. If you aren’t, you may find yourself enslaved to him, and tormented, and you won’t even know that is what is happening, because he will convince you that you are special and have enlightenment that others don’t have. He will come to you as an “angel of light” and you will believe you are safe when you are in danger for your very soul.
What is salvation?
This is what I learned during several years of searching the scriptures and that season, that made all the difference in my understanding of the Christian life.
What is the “process” that happens to us when we get saved? I am not talking about the fact that the atonement by Christ’s blood is applied to our sins and all record of them is blotted out. Yes, we know that. What I am asking you to consider, is this: what “difference” does becoming saved make in our actual inner self?
When we are born, we have a body, soul, and spirit. The body is alive, physically, the soul also is alive, but the spirit we are born with, is dead because of sin. It spiritually dead because it is cut off from the source of all life by our sinful state.
When we get saved, God doesn’t “fix” the old spirit. He doesn’t resurrect it. He actually gives us a new one. That is called “the new man”.
Spiritually dead means dead to all things spiritual. Spiritual knowledge, spiritual discernment, understanding. Anything having to do with the mind of God, or His will for us, is completely inaccessible to us.
When we are born again, we tend to think of that as “a second chance” or “turning over a new leaf, deciding to be a better person, to live right. But that’s not what getting saved is at all.
The old man is not “improved” remodeled, or fixed.
A whole separate new spiritual man is birthed inside us. But the old spiritually dead man is still tied to that physical body, until resurrection or death. And thus the battle begins!
When Paul tells us to “fight the good fight”, he is not telling us that we are supposed to go out there and slay demonic spirits, order them around, draw lines and “forbid” them from crossing them.
Spiritual warfare takes place within. That’s right! It is inside us.
Yes, there are wicked spirits, principalities and powers. They are definitely at work all around us. But do we imagine ourselves knights in shining armor?
Is that God’s reason for telling us to put the armor on? We tend to glide right past the verse in that passage that says “having done all, stand”. We stand in opposition to the evil that seeks to cause us to fall. We stand like the blue wall at a police funeral. It is a statement in itself, that stand.
I know some professing Christians that are always talking to the devil, and never talking to the Lord.
I think we overlook a very important fact. The battle, the “good fight” Paul tells us to fight? That is between the new man, and the old dead spirit in us.
Jesus died once as the sole sacrifice sufficient for all sins, forever. He can’t die again for the next sin we commit, or season of sinfulness we get ourselves into. If Messiah’s death is not sufficient for all sins, ever committed, past, present, and future, then it’s certainly not sufficient to save us again after it didn’t “stick” the first time. When we get saved, the New Testament says we receive the Holy Spirit as “earnest”. That is like a down payment or deposit we make to hold a car, or home when we are serious about buying it, and don’t want someone else to snatch it up while we work out the terms of financing.
The Holy Spirit seals us in Christ.
Sealed. What does that mean? God, the most powerful force alive, has sealed you into His kingdom. Jesus said that no man can pluck them out of His hand, whom God has given to Him.
But if the devil can convince us that there is an element of “deserving” that goes along with keeping ourselves saved, or keeping open our direct connection to the Lord, we will not live out a life that is a witness of Christ to others. We will forever be fighting a diversion drumned up by the enemy, some thing outside ourselves.
And we will be promoting a “gospel” which features not One Savior, but “a Savior and His helper”, (our selves).
Look at Romans 10. The moment you believe, place your trust in Him to save you, then you have eternal redemption. What you do after that, as far as sins, those things have already been judged. They are under the blood.
But everything we do after salvation is going to be judged in a different way, when we pass from earthly life and cross that veil to the dimension where the Lord Jesus is.
That judgment will search whether our hearts desire was to please the Lord. It is a lot more about what we don’t do, than what we do. If we let our flesh win every dilemma, then all our “works” will burn in the refiner’s fire when tested. If we had someone do us dirty, and we simply turned our back on them, out of anger, and a sense that we have been wronged, then we are rebelling against what God requires, and that choice will burn as dross.
If getting saved does not change us at all, yes, we absolutely should take a look in the mirror, so to speak. Scripture says to work out your salvation in fear and trembling, examine yourself to see if you are in the faith, and study to show thyself approved. Just because He tells us to check ourselves, to be sure we are saved, doesn’t mean we are in danger of slipping out of His hand.
It means, GET THIS, it means, we are in danger of thinking we are saved, when we are not.
The good fight is not a fight in which God expects us to go out and subdue the evil in the world. We are not spiritual policemen.
He merely asks us to obey, remain in the Spirit, dwell in the Spirit, and stand firm against the propensity for sin that dwells, in our own flesh. As we do that, we resist the devil. When we resist the devil, he flees.
Satan’s only “harm” he can bring to someone whose salvation is eternally secured, is to prevent them from obedience and growth, and thereby from ever winning other souls to Christ.
When the disciples could not get a demon to leave a man, and the evil spirit said, “Jesus I know, and Paul, but who are you?”, they asked Jesus why it had not worked for them. Remember what Jesus said? “This kind cometh out only by fasting and prayer.
Fasting, specific words and phrases spoken in a particularly authoritative tone of voice, are not magical powers that cast a net of captivity over evil spirits going about causing trouble. A yielded flesh, a spirit that crucifies the flesh daily, is Satan’s worst nightmare.
Fasting and praying, are denying the flesh. A yielding of self to the Spirit. We are not powerful due to an internal fearlessness.
There are people who appear “fearless”. They go around ordering Satan around. They often talk more to the devil than to the Lord.
God did not give us the assignment of dealing with the devil. He gave us the assignment to make other disciples. When we make other disciples, we take more people out of the devil’s reach. We are not a fit vessel for the Lord to perform that task through, when we live like the world. It is as simple as that.
Spiritual warfare that leads to spiritual victory, is the warfare that subdues the old man, sinful flesh, and subjects it to the Holy Spirit. If we are in that state, then we are useful vessels. We are in tune, to hear the Spirit when He prompts us, and act upon the leading that He gives us. We are alive to the Word, and the Word is alive and open to us.
God can make things visible or invisible. Like the angels that fought with Gideon’s army. God can open things and close things, like your spiritual eyes, or His Word. Jesus spoke in parables, so that those who had been made “blind in part” could not understand what He was saying.
When we drift, get lax, let the flesh run things for a while, the Word does not beckon to us as it does when we are walking in the Spirit. Instead, it sits there, doing nothing for us, or to us, or in us.
Which kind of “spiritual warfare” are you practicing? Do you go to a church or fellowship group, that are always on a demon hunt? Laying on hands, rebuking and ordering Satan around?
How is that working out? Why is it that they have to do it over, and over, and over.
A cop can come and bodily remove a trespasser, who may be on your property with evil intent. But they can cone back when the police leave.
A judge can grant a restraining order. But how stupid would it be, to obtain a restraining order and then go find that person it is supposed to protect you from? Maybe just to wave it in his face like a bullfighter with his red cape?
I am not saying that the devil is a non-issue. But what is our duty, our responsibility, as it relates to him? Flee temptation. Resist the devil. Pray. Fast. It is more a “tug of war” than hand-to-hand combat. We have no power or strength of our own to go up against the devil with. He laughs. Gives us that chin-tucked, eye-rolling mock-incredulity, then laughs at our ridiculousness. We are no threat to him.
Too many people want to believe they have a hand in God’s accomplishments. We want credit. But we would do well to remember that when Satan tucks tail and runs, it is not little old humans he is fleeing, it is that powerful big Lion of Judah standing behind us.