Spiritual Service or Warfare
Having seen that the basis of all fellowship and cooperation with God is spiritual, in and through the born-again spirit, we must realize that this at once defines the real nature of our service. The background of all cosmic conditions is spiritual. Behind the things seen are the things unseen. The things which do appear are not the ultimate things.
"The whole world lieth in the evil one." There is a spiritual hierarchy which, before this world was, revolted against the equality of the Son with the Father in the Throne, and in spite of the hurling out of heaven and the eternal doom which followed, has been in active revolt and antagonism to the "eternal purpose" right through the ages. A certain judicial hold upon this earth and the race in Adam was gained by satan through the consent of that first Adam through whom the purpose of God should have been realized on this earth.
Thus we have Paul telling the members of the Body of Christ - the last Adam - their their warfare "is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).
What a lot is gathered up into that inclusive phrase "this darkness!" How much is said about it in the Scriptures! The need for having eyes opened is ever basic to emancipation (see Acts 26:18). The cause of all "this darkness" is said to be "spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies." Literally translated the words are "the spiritualities" or "the spirituals," meaning spiritual beings. "Wickedness" here does not just mean merely inherent wickedness or evil, but malignancies; destructive, harmful.
"In the heavenlies" simply means inhabiting a realm beyond the earthly; not limited to earthly geographical localities; moving in the realm surrounding the earth and human habitation.
"World rulers" means that these malignant spiritual hosts are directing and governing the world wherever the government of Christ has not been super-imposed through His Body - the spiritual Church.
"Principalities and powers? (authorities) represent order, rank, method, system. satan is not omnipresent, hence he must work through an organized dividing of the world under these principalities and authorities, and he himself goes "to and fro in the earth," and has his seat "here and there" (Job 2:2; Revelation 2:13; etc.).
The Apostle declares that the explanation of situations is to be looked for in the unseen, behind the actual appearance.
What looks like the natural has its rise too often in the supernatural. Man is always trying to give a natural explanation and therefore to put thing right by natural means. But when he comes up against a situation in which interests of the Christ of God are involved, he is floored and beaten. Such situations have become the commonplaces - nay, more - the over-whelming order of the day among "Christian workers" in these days, both abroad and at home. We have no intention of dealing with the subject at length here, but state the fact, and remind the Lord' people especially, that in more realms than that of Divine activity, "What is seen hath not been made out of things which appear" (Hebrews 11:3); but that multitudes of the things in daily life which are inimical to spiritual interests must have their explanation from behind. Let us emphasize that this spiritual union with God in the super-cosmic significance of the Cross of Christ means that our supreme effectiveness is in the spiritual realm. We who are the Divine "spirituals" are to be energized by the Holy Spirit to take ascendancy in Christ over the satanic "spirituals", and thus know something more than mere earthly dominion. Seated together with Him "in the heavenlies" as to our spirit we are to learn to reign in that greater "kingdom of the heavens" of which the earthly millennial kingdom is only an earthly counterpart.
Again, let us affirm that all the energies of God in our spirit are toward a corporate spiritual union with Christ, whereby the impact of His victory and sovereignty shall be registered among and upon the "principalities and powers," etc., and their domination paralyzed, and ultimately destroyed.
(continued with # 30 - "The Spirit Himself")