If North Korea were to send a nuclear warhead screaming toward a US target, we would think it a pretty strange response to invade Canada. Yet, when it comes to the lost condition of our society, many a good and sincere Believer finds themselves thinking the answer is in political candidates, judicial appointees and social action. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating ignoring the voting booth, lobbying for those who will make better decisions for our nation or acting in concert with others in attempts to alleviate human suffering and injustice of all kinds. Those are all good and well and we should be about them. I am just arguing that all of those efforts, as good and necessary as they may be, are only treating the symptoms and not the disease.
Now there is an interesting place in Scripture where the disease gets exposed, and the cure revealed as well. And it is not where you might think. We read the base account in Luke 8:26-28 “Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.”
What the text states plainly here, is that the man who Jesus confronts here “had demons.” He was under demonic influence. Demonized. Possessed. And while I am not going to argue that all in our society today are automatically demon possessed, I don’t want to ignore demonic influence altogether – and on a large societal scale. How do I arrive there? Because Ephesians 2 tells us that this is the condition of all outside of Christ – and the state we were ALL in before Christ delivered us: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
This, is the common lot of humanity. But then, as we see in the Lukan passage, there are times when this demonic influence escalates to much higher and more evident degrees. And I would suggest that this is becoming increasingly the case in our society. Which calls for a response that far outstrips our concept of any culture war.
Let’s look as some particulars in the Lukan account.
Note then, the demoniac had:
1.”No clothes”: The stronger the grip of the Enemy on men’s souls, the more lewd we become. Nakedness in the public arena is a sign of having been given over to the powers of darkness, where even common grace is cast off. The loss of all modesty is evidence of demonic influence in our society.
2. “Not lived in a house”: The stronger the influence of the Enemy on a soul, the more anti-social, withdrawn and alone people become. We see this all around us. One article I read recently noted – many young people today are so filled with anxiety at the thought of having to deal personally with someone, they will not even call to order a pizza, but will order online instead. Human interaction, even over the phone is too difficult. This is so prevalent in Japan right now, that an entire industry has been birthed where young men – so afraid to even talk with a woman, go to establishments and pay just to have a female hold their hand or talk to them. Because they are too terrified to do it in the real world. And might I add, they even prefer animated pornography because the thought of even viewing sex involving real people is too unbearable. Further evidence of demonic influence.
3. “Among the tombs”: The third symptom of having been given over to the Enemy (beyond normal lostness) is a preoccupation with death. We see it in abortion and euthanasia for sure. Recently, when my 90 year old Mother-in-law went for a checkup with her Cardiologist, he coolly and casually suggested she simply stop going to the dialysis treatments she receives 3 times a week for kidney failure. In other words, just make the decision to die. But there is more. We see it too in preoccupation with Zombies and Vampires – the “un-dead.” In a pop-church culture where the demonic is thought of in terms of troublesome imps flattening tires on the highway, or keeping you from “living your best life now” – depriving you of material success and possessions or inhibiting you from obtaining your dreams – the real demonic influence goes ignored.
4. “With a loud voice”: The 4th symptom is a certain terror of having to be confronted with God in Jesus Christ and its implications. It can be an actual terror, or a pathological one which simply recoils at anything hinting at human responsibility to The Creator. So it is everything which contradicts us in any way or does not affirm us in our choices – is a “phobia.” People claim to be terrorized by simple statements of fact, and psychologically harmed by anyone who expresses any point of view contrary to their own. And when it comes to the exclusive claims of the Gospel or what the Bible calls sin, these are met with shrieks of terror. It is considered hateful to call anything sin or to call for repentance from those things the Word of God condemns. This is a demonically influenced mindset – rampant today.
5. “Break the bonds”: 5th is an inability to be harnessed or restrained by normal conventions. A wild mind that cannot be calmed resulting in behavior that cannot be controlled. And so every desire must be justified as legitimate. Every impulse baptized as the freedom to be ourselves. Every wickedness applauded. And every attempt to denounce wickedness – is itself denounced as a violent attack on the individual. Self-control, a fruit of the Spirit becomes an unthinkable evil, and only unrestrained expression the true good. This is what demonic influence looks like.
Beloved, the cure to these things cannot be found in social programs, or better political leadership – we need nothing less than the power of Christ to break the bonds of the demonic influence so many in our society have given themselves over to. We need a generation, who by the Word of Christ, wake up tomorrow, clothed, and in their right minds. And nothing but the Gospel has the power to rescue souls from this kind of bondage. Nothing but the power of Christ can bind the demonic powers behind this dreadful state.
It is why we need to know truly how to enter into Biblical Spiritual warfare: With the belt of truth – knowing reality as revealed in God’s Word, not shaped by fallen culture; guarding our hearts by the constant pursuit of righteousness and putting to death the deeds of the flesh; standing upon the Gospel of peace with God through faith in the finished work of Christ alone – ourselves – and prepared to carry that Gospel everywhere we go; shielded by trusting in the revealed character of God in Christ and the surety of His promises in the Word; putting on the helmet of thinking like redeemed people, informed by The Word; cutting though all the darkness with Biblical truth; and seeking the face of God for wisdom, courage and the continual infilling of His Spirit so as to walk with Him in all fidelity in this present age.
He is the One who binds the “strong man” – and plunders his house for the glory of His God.