We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded by your direct support for ReKnew and our vision. Please consider supporting this project.

unsplash_526360a842e20_1

The Warfare We Have Inherited

Image by Chris Sardegna

Jesus’ miracles over nature, as well as his healings, exorcisms and especially his resurrection, were definite acts of war that accomplished and demonstrated his victory over Satan. These acts routed demonic forces and thereby established the kingdom of God in people’s lives and in nature. But their primary significance was eschatological. People are still obviously being demonized; all people still get sick and die; storms still rage and destroy lives; famines are yet prevalent and starve thousands daily. But Jesus’ ministry, and especially his death and resurrection, in principle tied up “the strong man” and established the kingdom of God and the restoration of a new humanity in the midst of this war zone. In doing this, Jesus set in motion forces that will eventually overthrow the whole of this already fatally damaged Satanic assault upon God’s earth and upon humanity.

Gustaf Wingren expresses this “already/not yet” dynamic well when he argues that with Christ’s resurrection

The war of the Lord is finished and the great blow is struck. Never again can Satan tempt Christ, as in the desert. Jesus is now Lord, Conqueror. But a war is not finished, a conflict does not cease with the striking of the decisive blow. The enemy remains with the scattered remnants of his army, and in pockets here and there a strong resistance may continue. That is the position of the church. (The Living Word: A Theological Study of Preaching and the Church)

Jesus’ miraculous ministry, therefore, was not simply symbolic of the eschaton–in principle it achieved the eschaton. He in principle won the war, struck the decisive deathblow, vanquished Satan, restored humanity, established the kingdom; yet some battles must still be fought before this ultimate victory is fully manifested. Hence Jesus did not just carry out his warfare ministry; he commissioned, equipped and empowered his disciples, and the whole of the later church, to do the same. He set in motion the creation of a new humanity, one that again exercises dominion over the earth, by giving us his power and authority to proclaim and demonstrate the kingdom just as he did (e.g., 2 Cor 5:17-21; Mt 16:15-19; Lk 19:17-20; cf. Jn 14:12; 20:21).

Jesus thus gives to all who will in faith receive it his authority to break down the gates of hell and take back for the Father what the enemy has stolen, just as he himself has done (Mt 16:18). Now that the strong man has been bound, it is a task we can and must successfully carry out. In doing all this, we the church are further expanding the kingdom of God against the kingdom of Satan and laying the basis for the Lord’s return, when the full manifestation of Christ’s victory, and of Satan’s defeat, will occur.

God at War, pp. 213-214

Related Reading

How To Fix The Church: The Kingdom of God (Part 4)

God has leveraged everything on the Church loving like Jesus loved, as outlined in our previous posts in this series. “By this the world will know you are my disciples,” Jesus said, “by your love” (Jn 13:35). By God’s own design, Christ-like love is supposed to be the proof that Jesus is real. In John…

Jesus Refuted Old Testament Laws

Although it’s clear that Jesus regarded the Old Testament as the inspired word of God, he also directly challenged aspects of the Old Testament law. To illustrate, Jesus was repudiating Sabbath law when he defended his disciples’ harvesting of food on the Sabbath (Mt 12:1-14; cf. Ex. 34:21). Some scholars argue that the disciples were…

Not the God You Were Expecting

Thomas Hawk via Compfight Micah J. Murray posted a reflection today titled The God Who Bleeds. In contrast to Mark Driscoll’s “Pride Fighter,” this God allowed himself to get beat up and killed while all his closest friends ran and hid and denied they even knew him. What kind of a God does this? The kind…

Why Doesn’t God Heal When We Ask?

If we are called to manifest what Jesus manifested and revolt against what Jesus revolted against, and Jesus carried out the kingdom through healing, then why doesn’t God heal those we pray for? One of my personal kingdom heroes is a Vietnamese lady named Dr. Huyen Tranberg. She is a medical doctor who works with…

Quotes to Chew On: Prayer and Finitude

“We pray as we live: in a sea of ambiguity. This is not because we are fallen but because we are finite. And we are inclined to forget we are finite. We ignore the ambiguity that accompanies our finitude, and thus we claim to know what we can’t know. We reduce the unfathomable complexity of…

Is Suffering Part of God’s Secret Plan?

In the Christian tradition since Augustine, the most common explanation for the apparent arbitrariness of life and God’s interaction with humanity has been God’s mysterious will—his “secret plan,” as Calvin says. Whether or not a child is born healthy or a wife is killed by an intruder is ultimately decided by God. If we ask…