A very thoughtful meditation on Halloween (and beyond) with which I wholeheartedly agree. We don’t take the powers seriously, and this is to our peril.
All of this might sound like bad news. But it’s really good news that only sounds like bad news. You see, when we face an evil institution, we are facing more than an evil institution (that’s the bad news). But we are facing a problem we know how to overthrow (that’s the good news). We do not overcome spirits through better techniques or wiser social strategy. That way lies the way of the Dragon.
Instead, we overcome the powers of darkness in systemic evil the same way we grow in the mundane work of individual sanctification—through humble reliance on the power of Christ’s Spirit. And we do so with hope, because God has promised that he will not start a work unless he intends to finish it (Phil. 1:6). The cross of Christ proves to us the lengths that God will go in redeeming his creation. And the resurrection of Christ proves to us that no power of darkness, however strong, gets the final say (1 Cor. 15:22–24, 51–55).
There are still spirits of darkness at work in this world. And they do not limit their activity to one evening in late October. But God has armed us with a stronger Spirit, and it is not a spirit of fear (2 Tim. 1:7). So when we consider the enduring problem of racism in our society, or the political fracturing our nation is undergoing, or the prevalence of abuse in our own churches, we need not be naïve to be resolutely hopeful. The dark spirits at work in this world are bigger and stronger than we usually think. The battle we wage against them will take time. There will be losses and casualties along the way.
But we cannot forget that the verdict on the ultimate battle has already been declared. The powers and principalities may continue to wreak havoc, but the apostle Paul reminds us that they are flailing in the death throes of defeat. The powers were put to open shame by our Savior, who triumphed over them on Calvary (Col. 2:15). So we do not fight for victory; rather, with the cross at our back, we fight from victory.