The Powers That Be

You’ve probably heard of the expression, “the powers that be,” referring primarily to governmental, human, authorities. Well, in the context of this article, I would like to borrow the expression to refer to those very real powers that are unseen; namely: fallen angels, demons, and evil principalities, that “control” or “have control” over any given geographical area, at any given time. The topic is vast, but fascinating, and extremely important to understand if we are to be able to be real “world-changers” — to borrow an expression used by Melody Green, former wife of deceased Christian singer/song-writer Keith Green.

First, how do they get there? Or, to rephrase it a little, how do these evil principalities get the ability, or the right, or the privilege, to “exercise control” over any given geographical area, at any given point in time in history? Well, if you have been a Christian for any length of time, I think you will have already guessed that the answer is sin. Yes, that three letter word that “gives permission” to the devil, and his angels, to afflict, and torment, and occupy terrorities, including, but not limited to, territories (literally, “regions”) of the human heart.

This is no laughing matter. Jesus said that demons seek for a place to inhabit. (Matthew 12:43) In order to do this, permission must be granted to Satan (and/or his fallen angels) by God (Luke 22:31). God will, and, in a sense, “must” grant this permission, because God is a just God. Sin must be punished. God does not tolerate sin. The soul that sins will die. And God will not give his glory to another (Ezekiel 18:20, Galatians 6:7, Isaiah 42:8). These are all truthes found in Scripture, that God, being a just and holy God, will never betray.

Thus, God, being a just and holy God, permits fallen angels to occupy geographical regions on the basis of sin. It would not make sense otherwise, and God would not be honored if God did not allow the devil to occupy these places. Here’s why. If sin were performed but there was no consequence for that sin — and if the devil were not permitted to afflict on the basis of sin — then it would be like God saying, “You can get away with sin. You can do anything you want.” But sin is not like that! It is a viper. It bites. It devours. And it will destroy you and me both, if we let it. Thank God that his holiness is exalted in that he does not permit us to “get away” with sin without suffering a penalty for it.

To Cain, God said, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” (Genesis 4:7) In this, God was clearly saying, “Look, Cain, on account of your sin, the devil wants — and can, if you allow him — to completely devour you! Notice however, that God did not even mention the “devil” by name in this passage. That is because all of the devil’s power comes from that three letter word called “sin”. Thus sin was Cain’s problem, and not the devil.

Friends, it’s about time that you and I both realized that we’re really not here to fight the devil (in our own strength). But, like God said in his word, “Submit to God therefore. Resist the devil, and he will flee.” (James 4:7) How do we “submit to God”? We submit to him by becoming obedient to him. We become obedient to him by not sinning, and by doing what he says, and by spending time in his presence, worshipping him. It’s really that simple. If you and I both would only take care of our “sin” problem, we would really have NO other problems to worry about! Think about it!

Speaking of the devil, and of the devil’s power to torment and afflict him, Jesus said, “[he] hath nothing in me.” (John 14:30) How could Jesus say this? Because Jesus never sinned! It was that simple. You and I both can do the same, if we but “try” hard enough (I say this euphamistically — we are not to “try” harder, but to learn to “rest” in the Lord, where we will find our strength and deliverance). How much of a hold does the devil have in you, and in me? Think about it. Ask God to cleanse you today. “Neither give place to the devil”, as the Scripture commands us, in Ephesians 4:27.