Why is our warfare against the devil?

1 Tim 4: 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,

Some will, in the end time, depart from the faith! Some will fall away from their faith in Christ, which means they will lose their salvation. How did that happen? Because they devoted themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons. Now not many pulpits today will attribute the false teachings to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.

The Role of Satan

Here it is revealed that at the root of the Ephesian heresy lie Satan and his demons, leading people astray and teaching his own doctrines. The role of Satan has already been hinted at in 1 Tim 3:6-7, and it will appear again in 2 Tim 2:26 (cf. 1 Tim 1:20 for a discussion of Satan’s role).[1]

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Tim 2:26)

Paul talked about the opponents of the gospel, praying that they may trun, that they come to their senses, bible says, and escape from the snare of the devil. The words used are explicit, not compromising. So whats saying is that people who oppose the gospel are snared by the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. This is a strong saying, saying those who opposed the gospel are snared by the devil, meaning trapped by the devil and captured by him to do his will! This sounds almost like a Hollywood movie. How do modern men get captured by Satan to do his will? Actually if you look at pornography , isn’t it true that men that are captured by it became slaves to it? That’s it with Satan, he can manifest in porn, but in this article we talk about false gospel teachings. Paul didn’t say those who oppose the gospel, are just confused, careless or the like, but they are ensnared and captured by the devil to do his will! Not ensared by materialism, or cultural forces, but the devil himself! It’s like they have no choice but to advance the false gospel. WBC writes that the root of the heresy lie in Satan and his demons. Now, that’s even bigger. That nailed it. We are no more trying to elude it, Bible speaks it and calls it.

It is also revealed that the opponents are hypocrites whose minds have been branded by Satan. Ultimately they know that what they were doing and teaching is wrong, and yet they persist. They are not honestly mistaken, but in fact carry Satan’s brand of ownership on their consciences.[2]

“For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). This is another verse that talks about the direct intervention and works of powers of darkness.

διδασκαλίαις δαιμονίων, “teachings of demons,” has two interpretations: teachings taught by demons (subjective genitive) or teachings that are demonic in nature (attributive genitive). Both interpretations understand that Satan and his demons lie at the root of the heresy, although the former makes the connection more direct and almost personal.[3]

WBS talks about the teachings that are demonic in nature or taught by demons. Because Satan is seen as having an active role in Ephesus, the stronger statement is preferred: the active teachings of demons. Morbid and heresy. The devil himself disguised himself as an angel of light. In other words, it could be a church leader or pastor or theologian writing books, but the input comes from the disguised angel of light, the devil, himself.

The liberal gospel teaching

That’s actually precisely how many liberal preachers, teachers, writers preach and teach, and will never label them from deceitful spirits and teachings of demons! If we do that, it will be jaw dropping and horrifying! But are you going against the Bible teaching as in 1 Tim 4 by Paul then? That’s why in some ways we lost some zeal; some fire in our church, because we don’t want to over spiritualize things. Is there such a tendency? Shall I say it’s the reverse? The under-spiritualizing?? Indeed so. Paul pulls no punches. He labeled them as they are. We need to learn from Paul, his audacity, his boldness, and courage in his unflinching principled mindset and speaks his mind. Apparently God likes that or else it wouldn’t have been in the Bible, or the canon. We have diluted the authenticity and preciousness of the scriptures, bowing to pressures of the worldly forces, or indeed deceitful spirits, and demons teaching. Call them out. Offending people is better than offending God.

If that’s the case, what does that mean to our teachings? What shall be our attitude towards those liberal teachings that changed the word of God? They re-labeled the word. They denied the supernatural deeds of Christ in the gospel insisting to bow to the rationalistic worldview of reasoning simply because they can’t believe Jesus walked on water, Jesus opened the eyes of the blind etc. They cherry picked what they want especially the kindness of Jesus, the love of Jesus, the forgiveness of Jesus. They attempted a washed down Jesus. Not a God man but it’s a good religious man. Reducing Jesus to one of the gurus depleting of his divinity. God have mercy! They genderize even God, bring in and justify homosexuality when its absolutely clear it is an abomination. Will they call it out? Some may say Paul is not showing enough grace in 1 Tim 4 by calling the put that way. No, just like Jesus overturned the trading tables in the temple at the feast of Passover, which seemed to be not very graceful, that is precisely what a righteous holy God should do at moments like that. God has two sides, anger, loving, and vengeance, compassionate are all his attributes. No one can label God with one trait as loving and forgiving, that’s what the liberals want you to believe.

What we shall do is to take our stands. Now some may argue that then we may lose a lot of congregation, but we must balance it out with the compassion love shown by Jesus as well. I know it’s a skill, but to combine both of these, we need a lot of prayers, Spirit anointing. Imagine I preach that way from the pulpit in liberal New York city, people may be offended. But on the other hands, people may be encouraged by such boldness and calling it out so clearly and follow the Bible strictly. No monkeying around it.

What that means is that this will revolutionize prayers. People won’t preach meekly and tenderly at all times. We need to be angry, and raise our voice and call them out in a spiritual battle to challenge these deceitful spirits and demons. As said before, many will never call it that way, but we will call it, a worldview challenge to the worldly culture. We call it culture. Paul called it spirits and demons.

Secondly, its through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared. Where do they come from? Those deceiving teachings doesn’t come from spirits and demons and manifest it, but they were manifested though human vessels, and Paul, once again, in his boldness, call them as liars. Insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared. That’s a strong word. What kind of people are they? Their conscience are seared means? They are numbed. They can’t feel guilt any more even when they lie, deceive. Because their conscience can’t feel anymore. Its been seared. That’s why its so hard to debate, argue with those liberals theologian, because they seek to be die hard liberalized, twisting, and diluting the word of God,l. That’s actually the most dangerous deeds, because they come from inside the church, and not only that, they are having some theological background to be able to write and produce books that influence a whole generation or more.

Can we avoid them? No. They are here, and here to stay, as Paul said in verse 1. What we can do, is call them out, pray against them, and teach our folks and inoculate them and preempt their strikes. And preach, teach, and produce books to debunk their myths, deception.

What shall we do

To conclude here, my basic thesis is that based on 1 Tim 4 :1 , Christians fall away from their faith due to spirits of deception and demons. Vast difference from reformed preaching in general, especially in urban cities. That’s a big claim and we are taking about people losing their faith and going to hell. Yes I agree that it’s not just spiritual darkness but human interactions, culture, in this post modern world. What I am arguing is that spirit deception and demons is the root, the human dimension is the recipient. The driver is spirit of deception or darkness, and demons. What I am proposing is first to change our view towards oppositions and calling it as spiritual warfare and not just going to the human psychology and brokenness. We need both, but spiritual is our real target through acknowledging in corporate prayers, preaching, exhortation ….effectively combining Pentecostal with reformed.

[1] Word Biblical Commentary  WBC 62 Vol 1 Tim 4

[2] Word Biblical Commentary  WBC 62 Vol 1 Tim 4

[3] Word Biblical Commentary  WBC 62 Vol 1 Tim 4

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