For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12
In the midst of horrific conflict in the Middle East, our reading of Ephesians 6:12, reminds Christians that violent confrontations are not limited to the physical human realm. They extend beyond.
Unseen, potent dark forces are at work to steal, kill and destroy. Although unseen, they are a cosmic evil reality. These forces of evil are not just directed against individuals but pervade the larger canvas of humanity.
Worldviews, social and political systems, media, and all imaginable spheres are mercilessly attacked by the kingdom of darkness. Satan’s goal is to oppose God and God’s image bearers.
These powers do not operate on their own, but are empowered by and empower a sinful humanity.
Believers in Christ are called to recognise the reality of their struggle against these adversaries and stand firm in the divine armor and strength that God provides to His children.
When horror and conflict dominate news headlines, it is vital to be aware of the deathly motives of the Prince of the Air, Satan himself. The timeless wisdom of our verse for today forewarns the believer to rethink a humanistic response.
Rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, and spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places are words used by Paul to describe sophisticated, organized hierarchies of spiritual beings opposed to God’s redemptive plans for His creation. Demons are not harmless gremlins of mischief. Their schemes are not senseless and random, but are intentional and strategic.
1 John 5:19 indicates that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
Human strength and wit is outflanked in this battle beyond the realms of ‘flesh and blood’. What hope, therefore, do we have in this war?
Paul, references the most powerful Victor who is above all forever.
what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come – Ephesians 1:19-21
Our confidence and faith is in the triumph of Jesus, the name above every other name. He is our Prince of Peace. In Him, all creation is reconciled to Himself and to God. He unites people from all nations to Himself and to one another in His church; God in Jesus has offered us “peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20).
This is the power and hope of the Gospel. Christians must live as new people. A biblical theology of the cross and suffering is needed to renew the church’s thinking and life.
Along with leading believers into personal holiness, the church is charged to have a prophetic presence.
We are called to ‘Stand firm’, (Ephesians 6:13a). This implies being ambassadors in the work of authentic and holy reconciliation. We cannot promote social transformation by omitting the uniqueness of reconciliation in Christ. Nor can we misrepresent and misuse the Gospel to align with ungodly systems. We must learn to model confession, forgiveness and costly peacemaking as our Savior taught, thus offering a vision of eternal hope to a broken world.
Christ’s way of triumph is paradoxically linked to His crucifixion. Paul elucidates in Colossians 2:15: “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” What appeared to be God’s ultimate defeat proved to be His victory.
Sin was conquered and the great lie told within the Garden to humanity, has begun to unravel. Jesus is now restoring His church, His chosen people, to be one new people. He has conquered the very one who tempted us into rebellion.
Christ has prepared the way for reconciliation by abolishing the dividing wall of hostility between Jew and Gentile, making of the two one new humanity, establishing peace (Ephesians 2:11-18).
God our Heavenly Father, we pray for Your Kingdom to come. Your will be done in the US, in the Middle East on all the earth as it is in heaven. May Your children be vigilant and prayerful, standing firm against all forces of evil through the power and strength of Your Spirit.
Lord Jesus, You alone are the ultimate Prince of Peace. Accept our prayers in Your name, that is forever above every other name. Amen.
Chitra L Kovoor
Ministry Fellow, CU Lux (Yale University)
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