When Paul references wrestling, his original audience knew what he was referring to. The Roman empire worshipped the physical form of a man. In every town they conquered, the Romans would build a structure in the center in the city that was mainly a gymnasium. Inside, three sports were practiced. The first was wrestling: hand to hand combat where someone either quit or died. The second was boxing: no rounds, no rules, and gloves were made of leather and metal spikes—again, the loser stopped or died. And the third sport was pancreatin: this was the very top athletes, the best of the best, and combined boxing and wrestling. There were no rules, no rounds, and no one left the ring unless they were dead. Paul’s illustration highlights the seriousness of our situation. We are in a life and death wrestling match. Winner takes all. In spiritual warfare, we have to know that Jesus defeated Satan. Still, the victory has to be enforced by the children of God, or people will die.
We can win this fight. God’s will is for us to have the victory. When we have done all we can do, we keep standing in the power of His Spirit, clothed in His armor. Please remember that we don’t fight for victory, we fight from a place of success, won by Jesus. We are to take His word, in the power of His Spirit, wearing the armor of God, and overcome the devil’s illegal activities. We are to enforce the victory won on Calvary.
Let’s look at Ephesians 6:10-13 again, except in The Passion Translation:
Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you.
Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser! Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage. Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer, for you are destined for all things and will rise victorious.
Our destiny is to be victorious in Jesus. Our spiritual DNA comes from Christ. God wants us to live a life of complete, overcoming victory. When we rise to fight and enforce the victory, there is synergy with the Holy Spirit, and His power flows into our lives. The only way we don’t win in the Spirit is when we don’t fight. We have to engage the enemy and make sure he knows he is operating illegally—and that it’s not going to stand anymore.
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Col. 2:13-15)
Our sins are forgiven. The devil has no hold on our lives unless we let him. We don’t have to beg for forgiveness. When we confess our sins, Jesus forgives us because He already took the sin on Calvary. Because of His obedience on the cross, Jesus was able to triumph over the devil publicly. This is a word picture of what the Romans did when they took over regional power. They would lead the conquered foes and their spoils through the city streets in a parade. The captured soldiers and generals and kings were stripped naked, mocked, and spit on as they passed through the citizens. Jesus removed the devil of his power, walked him through eternity so every spirit and angel could see him for what he had become: a defeated, naked foe. The Passion Translation puts it this way:
This “realm of death” describes our former state, for we were held in sin’s grasp. But now, we’ve been resurrected out of that “realm of death” never to return, for we are forever alive and forgiven of all our sins!
He canceled out every legal violation we had on our record and the old arrest warrant that stood to indict us. He erased it all—our sins, our stained soul—he deleted it all and they cannot be retrieved! Everything we once were in Adam has been placed onto his cross and nailed permanently there as a public display of cancellation.
Then Jesus made a public spectacle of all the powers and principalities of darkness, stripping away from them every weapon and all their spiritual authority and power to accuse us. And by the power of the cross, Jesus led them around as prisoners in a procession of triumph. He was not their prisoner; they were his! (Col. 2:13-15)
We must walk in the authority He gave us as His disciples did in Luke 10. Let’s look at the story in the New King James and The Passion Translation:
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:17-20; NKJV).
When the seventy missionaries returned to Jesus, they were ecstatic with joy, telling him, “Lord, even the demons obeyed us when we commanded them in your name!”
Jesus replied, “While you were ministering, I watched Satan topple until he fell suddenly from heaven like lightning to the ground. Now you understand that I have imparted to you all my authority to trample over his kingdom. You will trample upon every demon before you and overcome every power Satan possesses. Absolutely nothing will be able to harm you as you walk in this authority. However, your real source of joy isn’t merely that these spirits submit to your authority, but that your names are written in the journals of heaven and that you belong to God’s kingdom. This is the true source of your authority” (Luke 10:17-20; TPT).