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WRESTLING AGAINST PRINCIPALITIES

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places," EPH 6:12.

Let’s look at the word "principalities". What are they, and what does it mean to wrestle with principalities?

We can compare this wrestling match with the challenge our Goliath or the old man of sin, poses to every soldier of the cross in the armies of Christ. That old man of sin, which was typified by Goliath who was slain by David, comes out to challenge every soldier of the cross. We notice in the history of David, that Goliath came forward and said, "Fight with me. Not with the whole army." It becomes a personal war for every soldier of the cross to wrestle with these principalities. They are the old man of sin and old Satan himself. I want to deal with this principality and what it is.

We aren't wrestling with individual people who seemingly come against us. We are wrestling with principalities. To give a little introduction, I would like to direct our attention to Chapter 6 of Ephesians. Throughout the chapter leading up to this text, it is speaking of positions of authority.

The word "principality" means "sovereignty, supreme power, superiority, predominance". These are the words that truly convey the meaning of principality.

I want to direct your attention back to the beginning of our chapter. "Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." He is directing the attention first to our children. There is an authority which the Lord has placed over our children. They are to observe that authority.

What the Lord is teaching us is that we, as children of God, must submit our selves to the authority of God, because it is the first commandment with promise. This has a spiritual meaning which goes farther than our natural children. It has a spiritual significance. When we, as dear children of God, submit ourselves to the authority of the Word of God, we must see it as the first commandment with promise.

The apostle goes on to point out not to abuse this authority. He says, "Ye fathers, provoke you children not to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, [Then he describes this obedience.] with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." Submission or obedience was the first commandment with promise. He is telling how it is to be servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.

The apostle admonishes the masters not to abuse their authority. "And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him." What is this authority? What is it to submit to the proper authority? The apostle comes back in verse 10 and says, "Finally, my brethren." He leaves an example of what the brethren must understand in the way of proper authority. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might."

It is in the power of the Lord and in the power of His might that we are to be strong: i.e., in the authority of God's Word. The apostle emphasizes that our strength is in the authority of God's Word and then he starts to address the issue of our text. He says, "Put on whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities." The wrestling with principalities is a power play with the devil!

This is a continuous thing in your heart and mine. It is something Satan wants to kindle in every heart. It is a power play in every heart. Who are you serving? You cannot serve God and mammon. You cannot serve God and the world. It becomes a continual spiritual warfare in the hearts of the children of God. I believe this is what the apostle is directing our attention to when he says, "Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." Doing the will of God from the heart is the first commandment with promise. What would Satan rather do than to disrupt our doing the will of God from the heart?

The word "principalities" is used to demonstrate the authority Satan has over this present wicked world. We have to understand that Satan is in fact in a position of authority. We read in EPH 2:2, "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." There is the prince of the power of the air. There is an authority in which he rules those who are members of this present wicked world. He, in fact, is the ruler of the powers of darkness. He does rule. This principality, this sovereignty, this authority of Satan is what we must wrestle with.

Even the very elect are under Satan's kingdom until Christ comes to apprehend them and make them His lawful prisoners. Even the elect of God, in their original state by nature, are under this principality of Satan. Look what we read in EPH 2:3, "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." Even God's very elect come under that authority of Satan as long as they are in that unquickened state. Until we have that quickening of grace, we are all dead in trespasses and sin. The Lord has to come with the work of grace and with His Spirit to quicken us. Until then, we are all bond servants of Satan. Amen.


These on-line devotions are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a  daily devotion. See also our sermon notes. We pray this devotion has been a blessing to those who read it. Thank you.

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