I wonder how you find it when the Gospels speak about Jesus engaging with the kingdom of Satan like when he casts out demons? What immediately comes to mind! For those of us who love fantasy it sounds like fairy tales. You might even say, well if you are speaking about Jesus then its a fairy tale.
The striking thing though is that whether you dismiss Jesus or not, none of us would dismiss the presence of evil in this world. But Jesus goes a step further than we think, he tells us not just that evil exists in this world but that our world is evil and our generation is an evil generation and this has been the case since our first parents rebelled against God, Genesis 3:6.
A bit harsh you would think! Most of us tend to think that generally we have good and evil people or good people who occasionally or due to bad upbringing, do bad stuff. But Jesus unashamedly calls this world what it really is, a world of evil where the good God has stepped into;
John 3: 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
What’s worse is we tend to separate the material world from the spiritual world but God would have us know that this material world is part of the spiritual world. Actually the spiritual is the real world. This explains why Jesus confronts the kingdom of darkness in the Gospels and why the apostle Paul speaks of this world with a deeply spiritual perspective in Ephesians.
1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. Ephesians 2.
…10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 10.
Why is knowing this important?
I think for two reasons. One it explains to us why our friends won’t believe even when we clearly explain the amazing life saving Gospel with all skill and effort. If there’s any hope for them then it will take God to free them from the shackles of the evil slave master, Satan. It will take serious spiritual work to give them life from the dead. And this brings us humbly to God’s Word and prayer.
Secondly, it explains this world that we live in as Christians, it’s enemy territory and the enemy of our souls prowls seeking someone to devour and separate us from the good reign of our righteous King Jesus as the apostle Peter warns us; 1 Peter 5:8. It tells me that those bad habits that I so easily fall into, forgetting meditation of God’s word and prayer are not mere habits but schemes of the enemy to lead me astray; to feed on his lies and so forget who I am and where I’m headed. Hence as Christians we must look at this world the way God sees it in its truest spiritual form. It will do us good to remember the spiritual is the real world.