More Than Conquerors - Dave Smith

Prisoners Of War - Part II

March 2018

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me…to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” —Isaiah 61:14

Most people do not think they are at war with Satan, but Satan is at war with everyone, especially Christians.

In Genesis 3:15, God says there will be enmity (war or hatred) between Satan and the woman, and between Satan’s followers and Christ, which includes believers, since they are in Christ. Satan also comes trying to steal, kill, and destroy from everyone (Jn. 10:10). As a result, most people are defeated and are his prisoners of war since they do not know how to have victory over sin and Satan.

The following are examples of the numbers per year in the United States of those who are defeated and are Satan’s prisoners of war in the following categories:
• 38 million who are in bondage to alcohol
• 22 million drug addicts.
• 1.3 million who attempt suicide, and 40,000 who take their own lives
• 28,000 viewers of Internet porn every second
• Those who sexually abuse one out of three girls and one out of five boys before they reach the age of 18
• Those who sexually, physically, or verbally abuse or neglect 1 million children annually
• Those who cause 4.7 million women to be victims of domestic violence annually • 3 million addicted to gambling
• 33.8 million adults who smoke or chew tobacco and 440,000 who die annually as a result.
• 17 percent of children and 37 percent of adults who are obese

These are some pretty obvious examples, and some of them are Christians who are struggling to overcome sin. But there are many who are struggling and losing to less obvious sins such as fear, anger, depression, unforgiveness, and selfishness. When the Assyrians would capture prisoners of war, they would put a ring or hook through the lower lips of the defeated soldiers so they could lead them around. The Babylonians put a ring or hook through the noses of prisoners of war. After prisoners of war were shown off in the triumph of a victorious Roman general (see last month’s article), half of them were killed and the other half became slaves. All of this is similar to how Satan uses and abuses his prisoners of war.

The reason Christians have become prisoners of the war with Satan is because they are fighting the wrong war, and they are trying to fight Satan and sin the wrong way. Christians are not to fight against sin because the power of sin is greater than their greatest strength. God told Paul that the power of Christ could only help him when he realized how weak he himself was, and that he had to totally depend on Christ so God’s power could work in and through him (II Cor. 12:9).

In realizing their helplessness and understanding that they do not have to turn to hopelessness, Christians can say yes to the hope that is only available in Christ. Besides that, the power of sin was already broken on the Cross, so believers do not have to keep fighting that battle.

Therefore, their weapons are not carnal (II Cor. 10:4), or something they can produce themselves and use to accomplish their victory. Their battle is not against acts of sin, but the fight is to keep their faith in who Christ is and what He did on the Cross, so they stay in His death, burial, and resurrection and are, therefore, victorious. That is the only way they are triumphant in Christ (II Cor. 2:14). And that is the only way He can work in them both to will (change their desires), and to do (give them the power of the Holy Spirit) (Phil. 2:13), so they can overcome sin. This is the only way believers can yield themselves as God’s servants (slaves) of obedience instead of being slaves to sin unto death (Rom. 6:16).

A believer can know he is a prisoner of war if he is repeatedly committing sins, such as works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21), or he is missing some of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

Next month, we will look at the greatest prisoner of war of all time.

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