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World Congress on Evangelism, 1966
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THE CONFLICT OF THE SPIRITS
by V. Raymond Edman





The Bible makes plain that ever since that age in the distant past known as “the beginning” there has been continual struggle between light and darkness, between the Almighty and the Adversary who rebelled against Him. Since early in the beginning there has been this clash of two great personalities: the Spirit of Light and the Spirit of Darkness.

From the inchoate chaos of the creation in the beginning of time, through the spiritual warfare of the centuries in the heavenlies and here on earth, until the ultimate triumph of the King of Kings, there continues the constant strife between the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Wickedness.

There continues the contest between the God of the universe Who is light, for in Him is no darkness, and the god of this world who blinds the unbelieving, for there in him or in them is no light. There continues the clash between the Savior and Satan, between the Anointed One and the Adversary. Always there is the hostility of the Evil One, a murderer from the beginning, against the Messiah, with an implacable and insatiable hatred. Always there is the contention between the Word of God which brings salvation by grace through faith in the Savior and the works of the Wicked One with his substitute gospel of self-improvement and self-sufficiency. In the encounter between the divine Evangel and the diabolical enemy, God provides the opportunity for men to receive the Savior, despite the opposition of the Cruel One.

In this spiritual warfare those who choose Christ are called to be soldiers with that clear word of command: “Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” It is an individual warfare, as well as worldwide, marked by frequent skirmishes, bitter and brutal battles and long campaigns with dangers of imminent destruction. But the final victory is secure.

There is an Enemy. The Savior knew him and told us much about him. The Lord Jesus knew the stern realities of spiritual warfare. It was after His anointing by the Holy Spirit at the baptism of John that He was driven into the wilderness alone to face the foe. He knew deep testings of the soul and likewise triumph by the Word of Gods The Scriptures indicate what is told by secular historians of the day, that there was great increase of demonic activity in the Near East at the time of our Lord’s appearance there. It would seem that in these days there is also increased activity on the part of Satan and his hordes as though something of cosmic significance is about to take place. Missionaries, and not only they, can tell us that the dark places of the earth, unenlightened by the Word of God, are indeed full of the habitations of cruel and cunning demonic beings.

For this conflict between the Spirit of God which indwells us, and the principalities and powers of darkness, we have been provided with adequate equipment. We are instructed to take “the whole armour of God” so that we may be able to withstand the Evil One and to stand triumphantly at the close of the evil day.

Bunyan=s description of Christian’s encounter with Apollyon is not some idle fancy or fiction. To every believer in every age the Evil One has raged, saying, “I am an enemy to this Prince; I hate his person, his laws and people: an come out on purpose to withstand thee.” It was only after grievous combat and triumph by the Word of God that Christian learned that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

To go uninformed and unarmed with the gospel into all the world is to invite the onslaught of the Wicked One, and to be defeated. Many are the casualties among those who respond to the Great Commission. They may know the love of God and the lost condition of the heathen, but they have not been taught the rudiments and stern realities of spiritual warfare.

On our part we are to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ. We are to be aware of our enemy and not ignorant of his devices. We are to be unafraid, in nothing terrified by our adversaries, remembering that as we resist him he flees from us. We are to be fully armed and completely prepared in heart and head, Disciplined by the Captain of our salvation we are to follow Him, to trust and to obey Him who leads His people in triumph. We are to know the dynamic of the indwelling Holy Spirit and with Him enter into the conflict against the powers of darkness to deliver treasures from the domain of the strong one.

The Acts of the Apostles gives us much instruction and encouragement in this warfare of the Spirit for the souls of men. We have the sane message as bad the apostles and the sane power of the Holy Spirit. We face the sane human needs and opportunities and likewise the same opposition that they encountered.

In the constraint of the Holy Spirit in the life of each believer, individually and corporately in the Church of the living God, there is always the conflict of the Spirit of truth and light against the spirit of error and darkness. It is by the indwelling Spirit of God that we can and should be more than conquerors in the Name of the Savior. For effectiveness and victory in the warfare of the Spirit every believer is to be Spirit-filled, Spirit-armed and empowered, Spirit-taught and made bold. It is by Spirit authority and authorization that we win the lost to the Savior. Then in the hour of triumph in His presence we shall join in that song, “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, end hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9, 10).


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Last Revised: 10/25/06
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Wheaton College 2006