This will be a post that will off-put some of my readers, but so be it. Some have complained to me via comments, and email, that they aren’t a fan of my “politics,” and recent political posts; they simply prefer my stuff on theology. Apparently, folks have failed to understand that theology and politics go hand-in-hand; they do all throughout the Bible, and therefore, any theologian worth their salt will read these things together as well. Remember, Jesus is King of kings, and Lord of lords; that sounds pretty political to me! What is going on in the world currently is abnormal, and yet evangelical leaders, and other Christian leaders seemingly are attempting to operate as if we are in a turbulent, but yet, status quo moment where we ought to operate with the usual optics that evangelical leaders offer in times of national and global crises. That’s not my read of things, not at all! Clearly, we don’t know when Christ is coming again; but He said to live in a mode of WATCHFULNESS (cf. Mk 13)! With the events currently unfolding in the world, if the Christian’s watchfulness antennas aren’t up, then maybe the Christian ought to check their spiritual pulse. This might sound harsh, but I am sincerely baffled at the state of the evangelical churches right now.
The rest of this post, maybe abruptly, relative to my introduction here, will be about the spiritual attack the satan launched against Jesus Christ as He became human to bring ultimate reconciliation between God and humanity in His consubstantial person as both God and human pro nobis. I will highlight, through reference to Thomas Torrance’s thinking, how the role of prayer ought to function in the midst of the onslaught of satan, as satan attempts to thwart the plans of God; first in the incarnation, and then in echo of that, in our lives and world as we find our lives in participatio Christi (participation with Christ). Whether people recognize it or not we are in a spiritual battle, and the hater of our souls is in an all-out blitzkrieg to destroy all that is sacred and pure.
13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. –Revelation 16:13-14
As I reflect on what is occurring in the world, the above passage keeps popping into my mind for some reason. It feels like we’re in a moment like this; as if ‘unclean spirits’ have been released from the abyss and are attempting to destroy this world as an affront to the God who holds it together by the Word of His Power. These spirits have seemingly cast a great delusion on the masses, even seemingly, taking hold of many Christians. The only way to be an ‘overcomer’ in this sort of battle is to be in a dialogical or prayer-bond with the living God. The Son of Man knew this; as His co-heirs we ought to know this. Prayer keeps our focus on the only One who can intervene and bring life rather than death. Here is how Torrance explicates this with reference to the incarnation, and how the Son of Man bore up under the wicked onslaught that unleashed as a counter-assault to the coming of God to the world in Christ:
(ii) The attack by the powers of evil on the bond of prayer between Jesus and the Father
But now let us look at the prayer life of Jesus from a slightly different point of view, from the point of view of the attack upon it by all the powers of evil. Jesus Christ the perfect communion between God and man was actualised, not only through the incarnation of the Word of God in this man, but through the obedient reliance of this man upon God the Father. In that double movement of God’s faithful seeking and assuming of man back again into fellowship, and of man’s faithful return in Christ to God and complete dependence upon Him, the holy and loving will of God for humanity was realised in the midst of its isolation and estrangement. The bond between God and man is recreated and actualised in the midst of our humanity in the very life lived by Jesus and signalised so fully by his life of prayer. Therefore all the powers of evil launched their attack upon Jesus; fearful temptations and assaults fell upon him, all in order to isolate him from God, to break the bond of fellowship between them, to snap the life of prayer and obedient clinging to the heavenly Father; to destroy the life of obedience to God’s will and word, and so to make impossible any meeting between God and man in Jesus ; to destroy the ground of reconciliation, to disrupt the foundation for atonement being laid in the obedient and prayerful life of the Son of Man.
Against all that fearful temptation in which all the hosts of darkness were mustered against him, Jesus resorted to prayer and unswervingly held fast to God the Father throughout it all. That holding fast to God in prayer, that battle against the powers of darkness doing their utmost to isolate him from God, and so to isolate man from God for ever, the fearful struggles of prayer with strong crying and tears, ‘not my will but thine be done’, all that belongs to the innermost heart of the reconciling and atoning life of Jesus reaching from the very beginning to the very end, and increasing in its unbelievable intensity right up to the cross. ‘Father into thy hands I commit my spirit.’
The evil forces present at Christ’s coming, are present now. I remain baffled, to be honest, at the lack of appreciation of this, which I have seen particularly in the so-called thought leaders of the Christian church. I hear a lot about social justice, critical race theory, Liberation theology, so on and so forth; but I hear almost nothing, except crickets, when it comes to the idea that in fact ‘we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers’ of this ‘present evil age.’ Because we ostensibly are unable to discern this as Christians, we are allowing the deceiver to thrust us into an artificial division between us and our black brothers and sisters. This division, in the blood of Christ, in the resurrected and new humanity of Jesus Christ, in His Triumphal Victory for all humanity, in His vicarious humanity (what TFT just referred us to) has re-conciled all of humanity to God; of all colors, tribes, tongues, and nations. This is the premise of the incarnation that the devil fought so hard to destroy as he came against the Son of Man; and it is the same premise the devil still desires to destroy, in and through an artificial division that the cross of Jesus Christ, the wisdom of the living and triune God, has utterly vanquished into the abyss of hell. Jesus was not ignorant of the enemy’s devices; remember when He said this:
25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. –Matthew 12:25-30
If Jesus knew this, then why wouldn’t we as His co-heirs? Just because the world, the media tells us blacks and whites are divided does not mean we are; the devil brings division, the Son of Man brings unity in His Gosepeled Life for us. As Christians we are to bear witness to this reality, not give into an artificial lie that we need to somehow bring reconciliation to systemic injustices that no longer exist in the very power of God. If this is not our starting point, if the logic of God’s grace in the incarnation, actualized in the resurrection of Christ is not our major premise, then there can be no lasting reconciliation between any of us. But we are reconciled one with the other in Christ. If we cannot identify with the broken life of Christ, if we cannot see Him as primary, and understand that if His humanity doesn’t matter: then nobody’s humanity will matter; because there will be none!
And if we aren’t in a constant dialogue of prayer with God, participating in the priestly and intercessory ministry of Jesus Christ (cf. Heb. 7:25), then we will be deceived by the satan and give into his divisive lies that will indeed conquer, at least in the immediate, the efforts that the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ has already wrought. But we only ontically stand in this reality insofar as we are in constant con-versation with the living and triune God; as we participate with and are partakers of the divine nature in and through the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ. Take our eye off this all-important reality of praying without ceasing, and we will be divided and destroyed. Jesus knew this, and as His brothers and sisters, through our adoption in His filial relationship with the Father by the Holy Spirit, we ought to know this and stand in this reality as well. Yes, as we move into this, the onslaught continues, but we are bonded into the very life of the everlasting and immortal God. Maranatha
 Thomas F. Torrance, Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ, edited by Robert T. Walker (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2008), 118-19.