Augustine on spiritual warfare

More thoughts from The City of God:

“It is by true piety that men of God cast out the hostile power of the air which opposes godliness; it is by exorcizing it, not by propitiating it; and they overcome all the temptations of the adversary by praying, not to him, but to their own God against him. For the devil cannot conquer or subdue any but those who are in league with sin; and therefore he is conquered in the name of Him who assumed humanity, and that without sin, that Himself being both Priest and Sacrifice, He might bring about the remission of sins…” (Book 10, section 22)

The idea of overcoming the devil in the name of Jesus is not new. Though in the modern charismatic movement, it may look a little different, the fighting of spiritual warfare in the name of Jesus goes back all the way to Christ Himself. Augustine, writing around 400 AD, says basically the same thing as many charismatics.

“Rebuke the devil in the name of Jesus.” -Charismatic lingo

“They overcome all the temptations of the adversary by praying, not to him, but to their own God against him.” – Augustine

The only real difference is Augustine saying to pray to God in the name of Jesus, versus directly confronting the devil in the name of Jesus. Interesting.

A similar idea to a “spiritual stronghold” (as we often say nowadays) is basically captured in the phrase “For the devil cannot conquer or subdue any but those who are in league with sin; and therefore he is conquered in the name of Him who assumed humanity…” As we sin, we open ourselves to spiritual attack and the devil gains a foothold. As we conquer sin, he has less and less power in our lives. Ultimately, the victory has already been won decisively by Jesus on the cross, so we are totally cleansed from sin. And now, as me march forth in His name, we continue to remove the last vestiges of sin from our lives through the power of the Spirit, that every last window should be shut to the devil.

By | 2014-02-18T20:18:40+00:00 April 19th, 2010|Quotes|Comments Off on Augustine on spiritual warfare