[CF Devotionals] 2009-05-03 - Why Job and Paul are Not Examples of Spiritual Warfare

The Spiritual Warfare Series, Part 3

Another example of misused scripture is the account of Job. One approach of the deliverance approach to spiritual warfare is the problem of not taking total victory, which we are entitled to, over demons - and by inference, to Satan. Job is often used as an example. The problem here, of course, is that God was totally in control of the situation and actually allowed Satan limited access to Job - which is conveniently overlooked. God was concerned about Job’s spiritual wellbeing, and allowed him to grow and to learn a lesson from Satan’s activities.

Keep in mind that Satan is seen as being the cause of sin and therefore moral evil in the lives of believers. Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” is often presented as support for the involvement of Satan acting destructively in the life of believers. Powlison has something interesting to note about this misuse of scripture.

“Many argue that Paul’s “thorn in [the] flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment” him, provides a case for ongoing demon-induced suffering (2 Corinthians 12:7). This thorn was possibly a physical affliction—perhaps the problem Paul alluded to in Galatians 4:13-15. … Satan’s messengers are particularly associated with physical sufferings. Notice how the affliction bears no relation to moral evil, but is actually used by God to protect Paul from moral evil. In speaking of Satan’s messenger, the passage sounds the notes of suffering, weakness, mistreatment, distress, and difficulty—not sin.” 2

  1. Powlison, David, Power Encounters–Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, p. 108.

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