I have a growing burden to educate people about the darkness that stole the race of Adam from God. I’m convinced that until we better understand the dark army that wages war against us, we won’t, as the Church at large, walk in all that’s ours in Christ.
As long as we misunderstand sin, its source, and how it works, we won’t seek to overthrow it, nor be able to.
TERMS FOR THE ENEMY
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12)
Often we think that there are multiple sources of sin/slavery. For instance, we may think that our flesh is an enemy, the world is another, and the devil is a third distinct enemy. Yes, the Bible speaks of each of these. But as we see even in the above passage, the Scriptures speak of the dark regime from various perspectives.
When the Scriptures speak of our “flesh”, for example, we can understand the human flesh to be the soil (what it is from Heaven’s perspective, not earth’s) the enemy rules over, cultivates, and bears false-fruit from.
When the Scriptures speak of the “world”, we can understand the sphere of the earth and all which is within it as the general location where darkness presently resides and has dominion.
When they speak of the devil or demons, we can understand them as literal, though unseen spiritual creatures who are part of the army of darkness.
When they speak of “darkness”, we can understand this to be a general term for this dark army itself, a term for the lies they tell (which are their ammunition against us), or a term for physical darkness (absence of light) on the earth.
All this said, there is one source of sin. Yes, of course we consent to sin. But when we consent, every single time it’s because we’re deceived, tricked, that is, manipulated by the regime of darkness, into it (James 1:14-16).
This is why Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
A REAL LIFE EXAMPLE
I have experienced this principle in the natural.
Exactly four years ago, one summer morning, my baby was taking a nap in his crib. While he was napping, I took my older two boys (3 and 5 years of age) outside to play in the front yard. I left the front door open so I could hear him if he woke up. After we’d been playing a little while, I decided to take a step inside the front door to make sure he wasn’t crying. I had no plans to go further than one step, thank God.
I had no sooner stepped inside than a turquoise SUV pulled up to our house, rolled down the window, and the driver began talking to my children.
At first I thought it was a good friend of ours. I stepped back outside and went to say hi to him. But I quickly realized it was not him, but an old, cranky stranger talking to my kids.
I walked straight to his rolled down window and asked what he wanted. He said he was offering my children a bike. I opened his rear door, and a girl’s bike he must have drug from some dumpster was laying there (Note: I have all boys) .
I slammed the door shut, said we weren’t interested, and he peeled away so fast I knew he knew I knew what he was doing.
I raced my children back to the house, locked all the doors and immediately called the police, trembling.
My point in sharing this horrendous story is that had my children gotten in that car, they would have “consented” under a false promise, they wouldn’t have thought of the plan, and they wouldn’t have been guilty of being stolen. Moreover, had he been trying to steal them to sell them into slavery, they wouldn’t have been at fault for whatever they would have been made to do.
That man, and those who would enslave them, would be the ones entirely at fault.
And friends, this translates to all of humanity. The army of darkness is entirely responsible for our exile and slavery. We aren’t.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood… (Eph. 6:12)
APPLYING THIS TO LIFE
Does it seem like I’m pounding this point in throughout this series?
If so, it’s because we can read about or know something in theory, and be deceived right out of it in practice!
We need to remember, and not forget, that every time someone sins, they’ve been deceived into it. We must also remember that we dwell in the same exact enemy-run flesh as everyone else. Let these truths make us humble, gentle, non-judgmental, and even compassionate with others when they seem nothing but evil and/or ignorant. (2 Tim. 2:24-26, James 1:13-16).
And let us not be overcome with shame when the evil has come from us. The feeling of shame causes us to retreat from Jesus into hiding. But this is the last thing we want to do when we recognize the sin in us. When we recognize it, we want it removed from us. And Jesus is the sole Person who can do so. We want to turn, run to our eternally loving Savior and the Victor over our sin.
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. (Rom. 8:37)
Friends, we must remove from our theology that we are the source of our sin! We must never believe the lies “It’s my fault” or “It’s their fault.”(Eph. 6:12) Instead, at the sight of sin, we must turn our attention immediately to the enemy who deceived.
This series is called “Little White Lies” because its through these the enemy enslaves us.
When we recognize his little white lies, we recognize the real enemy. When we recognize the real enemy, we look to overthrow him.
And when we turn to Christ to overthrow him…
…we begin to walk in all that’s ours in Christ.
We begin to walk the real Christian life.
The one that’s lived from the inside out.
Not the other way around.
…for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light. (Eph. 5:8)