Friday, December 12, 2014

Kleinig, 2008. Chapter 4, “The Hidden Battle”

Chapter 4, “The Hidden Battle”  pp. 218-270

In chapter 4 Kleinig turns his attention to spiritual warfare. Since prayer is a spiritual work we can expect spiritual opposition when we pray. This battle requires a level head. “Satan promotes a reckless kind of spiritual intoxication with the offer of heady experience, mind-blowing ecstasy, and disembodied spiritual highflying. We therefore need to remain ‘sober’ so as not to confuse spiritual darkness with light and lose our sense of spiritual reality (1 Thess. 5:8; 2 tim. 4:5; 1 Pet. 1:13; 4:7; 5:8)” (p. 220). It is our tendency to look for vivid and dynamic, public battles. Kleinig discusses the idea that true spiritual warfare in light of Romans 5:10 must “begin with Paul’s teaching that we were all, without exception, God’s enemies” (p. 222). The battle lines are confusing and the war is one we cannot actually fight. The battle “is won by retaining and using what we have received from God, faith in Christ and the good conscience that comes through faith in Christ” (p. 226). Satan’s attack, says Kleinig (p. 230) is against the Church and against individual consciences. Jesus fights back with his forgiving blood shed for us (p. 231) and his word (p. 232). At the same time, attacks against our consciences and trust toward God try to distract us from the truth. Kleinig continues with examples of how Jesus guards his people who are under attack in the Gospel records. He is the mighty one who is known by Satan as the victor.

On p. 244 Kleinig begins to discuss resisting spiritual attacks. He compares our lives to a compost heap which attracts rats. If there were nothing attractive the enemy would not care. Jesus fights off our enemy by cleaning the garbage from our lives. He does this by his own work, as we faithfully believe he can bring us forgiveness and life. We resist the devil by trusting Jesus’ resistance.

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